The Rise of the National Security State: FEMA and the NSC

by Diana Reynolds
 

A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY

Since the advent of changes which took place during the Reagan regime, America has been a presidential directive away from a civil security state of emergency which, if ever enacted, could create a constitutional crisis equal in severity to the American Civil War.

A national state of emergency can be declared by a concurrent resolution of both houses of Congress or by the President in the case of natural disasters, nuclear war, a massive mobilization in anticipation of an enemy attack on U.S. territory, or domestic civil unrest.

A disturbing shift in policy occurred during the Reagan years which could have profound consequences with respect to civil liberties. Whereas civil defense planning in the past had focused on disaster relief, the national security focus of the Reagan administration meant implementing new ways to expand police powers in times of nuclear war, domestic unrest, or civil disorder.

Bending under pressure brought by the Reagan Administration, Congress gave the president and his executive agencies sweeping emergency powers. This article will examine how those powers came to be, and will explore a possible scenario--the U.S. government's war on drugs--in which these powers might be used.

1. A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY

2. CIVIL SECURITY PLANNING 

3. MILITARY RULE

4. THE FALL OF FEMA

5. THE NATIONAL SECURITY STATE AND THE DRUG WAR

6. ODDS & ENDNOTES

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