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Office of Civilian Defense (U.S.)


Last modified: 2022-09-23 by rick wyatt
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The Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) (not to be confused with the Office of Civil Defense, a separate organization that was an agency of the United States Department of Defense from 1961-64. It replaced the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization. The organization was abolished on July 20, 1979, pursuant to Executive Order 12148. It was a predecessor to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). (OCD) was a United States federal emergency war agency set up May 20, 1941, by Executive Order 8757 to co-ordinate state and federal measures for protection of civilians in case of war emergency. Its two branches supervised protective functions such as blackouts and special fire protection and "war service" functions such as child care, health, housing, and transportation. It also created the Civil Air Patrol. The agency was terminated by EO 9562 of June 4, 1945.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978 and implemented by two Executive Orders on April 1, 1979.[1][4] The agency's primary purpose is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities. The governor of the state in which the disaster occurs must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the president that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster. FEMA also provides these services for territories of the United States, such as Puerto Rico. The only exception to the state's gubernatorial declaration requirement occurs when an emergency and/or disaster takes place on federal property or to a federal asset

FEMA traces its origins on the as well on the FCD. "The Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) organized on December 1, 1950, and became an official government agency on January 12, 1951. The agency distributed posters, programs, and information about communism and the threat of communist attacks. In 1979, The President signed Executive Order 12179 merging the successor to the Federal Civil Defense Administration - the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA) - into today's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2003, FEMA was merged into the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

There was also the Federal Civil Defense Authority which "was established in the United States Department of Defense (DOD), by DOD Directive 5105.43, May 5, 1972". The predecessor agencies were:
- Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), Office for Emergency Management (OEM), Executive Office of the President (EOP, 1950-1951)
- FCDA (1951-1958)
- Office of Defense and Civilian Mobilization (ODCM), EOP (1958)
- Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), EOP (1958-1961)
- Office of Civil Defense (OCD), DOD (1961-1964)
- OCD, United States Department of the Army, DOD (1964-1972)

So it is believed the logo usually labeled as the The former United States Civil Defense logo, is from the Office of Civilian Defense (OCD), established in 1941, and as Joe McMillan reported, the regulations for the OCD were published in 1941 and 1942, so the logo dates back from that time. The abolished Civil Defence Symbol survives in the Universal Prepper Patch UPP symbology of today. The logo is seen here:

Since there was no specific regulation for the manufacturing and disposal of the flag, no official flag exists, but rather "local" flags, since the OCD was to act on a Federal (National) scope through local agencies.

One such example is Civil Defense Pennant (, source: Another example is this flag ( and, source: of the Auxiliary Police of in Wickliffe, a city in Lake County, Ohio, where the former United States Civil Defense logo is featured in a horizontal white flag, with golden fimbriations on the flags outline and on top of the logo the words Auxiliary Police in black, and below the logo the words Wickliffe (on the left), and Ohio (on the right) with a space between them.

Over the last twenty years, the term and practice of civil defense have fallen into disuse and have been replaced by emergency management (FEMA) and homeland security (DHS).

For additional information please go to:
Civil Defense Museum (official website)
TACDA (The American Civil Defense Association, official website) History and organizational chart of Civil Defense in the USA (from FEMA and DHS)

Esteban Rivera, 26 January 2013