“Government under our system is a resultant of the three forces of Federal, State, and local power. It is the sum total of these forces operating upon the individual that defines his rights and obligations with reference to his community, his state, and his nation. The ways in which these forces have been weighted as against each other have always presented fascinating and significant problems in government both in peace and war. Nowhere is that more true today than in the field of civilian defense, for civilian defense either in terms of protection or in its promotion of the essential civilian war services requires the interaction of all these forces.

“Difficult problems of government, of administration, of intercommunity and interstate cooperation, consequently exist. These in a true sense are the real problems of ‘law’ in civilian defense, for it is their neglect that has made and will make for confusion and inefficiency.”

To assure a lessening of this “confusion and inefficiency” there must be an understanding and appreciation of the legislative history of the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950. For the purposes of this brief introductory article, let us focus our attention on the broader aspects of that history.