Civil Defence today

Civil defence planning today

Civil Defence as we know it is now virtually unrecognisable in the 21st Century. As a result of the end of the Cold War, "war planning" has now stopped and the councils are no longer required to prepare for war.

So does Civil Defence really exist today? The answer is to ask another question, What is Civil Defence?.

According to the Cold war document "Civil Defence - Why do we need it", Civil Defence is "to adapt ourselves to the reality that we at present must live with, and to prepare ourselves so that we could alleviate the suffering which war would cause if it came." Military defence is concerned with stopping a threat that would require Civil Defence, however in nuclear war there is no military defence so Civil Defence is required.

And this form of Civil Defence had a face - much of it secret, but things we now know a lot about, such as nuclear bunkers, food rationing, food depots, emergency communications networks etc.

That was the Cold War and this is 2024. If we take an alternative view of Civil Defence then we could define it as "to plan for the situation after a terrible event and make sure civilian life can continue." This would include the right to food, shelter, warmth, sanitation and importantly a democratic system of Government (as opposed to overthrow by military invasion!).

That view opens up a whole new area which this site is dedicated too. Its why we discuss the National security strategy because this gives us a clear explanation of the main threats, and that primarily is terrorism.

The new threat needing Civil Defence

The main threat we face today is International Terrorism but with roots here in the UK. Its aim is to specifically target our way of life but generally in one specific area - i.e. a particular right (i.e. to live etc). The need therefore to plan for a complete break down in society (which would have followed a war) is therefore defunct. Equally the need for "hard" measures such as bunkers and depots is also no longer applicable.

The face to Civil Defence are therefore "soft strategies" which relate to plans for how the emergency services should respond and deal with catastrophies when they happen. Regional planning plays a crucial part to make sure a co-ordinated response occurs.

Civil Defence therefore no longer has any secrets. The old "spies for peace" won't find much here. However the police and MI5 have radically altered the way they operate but in comparison with the Cold War threat - they could now be considered the Military defence - i.e. offensive response / proactive mechanisms to stop against an attack. Secrets relating to MI5/Police exist for our own good (rather than the survival of the select few) and this site does not seek to expose those.

But ...

There are 2 (very small) war planning Civil Defence "hard" measures still in place. One is the Pindar nuclear bunker under Whitehall and the other is the National attack warning system - a BT system to get an attack warning message out to the public.

The latter however is no longer considered core to the Governments warning systems and further reduces the "war related" measures still active. Pindar is a very active nuclear bunker under the MOD building which is still used for emergencies but is not specifically a civil defence bunker.

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