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Civil Defence and Microwave Facilities

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  • w5hat@xxxx.xxx
    I have noticed a lot about Microwave Facilities and Civil Defence. How do you find out if a Facility is or was a Civil Defence Facility? And are there any CD
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 3, 1999
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      I have noticed a lot about Microwave Facilities and Civil Defence. How do
      you find out if a Facility is or was a Civil Defence Facility? And are
      there any CD facilities left in Operation? Were they for primary
      communications or back-ups? Are there any of the old Civil Defence
      organizations still in existence or were they done away with long ago?
      Thanks in advance for all of your help.

      Matt Robertson
      w5hat@...
      mgrobertson@...
      w5hat@...

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    • Albert LaFrance
      Matt, Sorry for taking such a long time to answer... I m not an expert on Civil Defense facilities, but my impression is that the CD function has evolved and
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 1999
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        Matt,

        Sorry for taking such a long time to answer...

        I'm not an expert on Civil Defense facilities, but my impression is that
        the CD function has evolved and changed a lot since the days when a Soviet
        attack was the main focus of planning. For example, FEMA now publically
        emphasizes its preparedness and response efforts for natural disasters,
        rather than for acts of war. It does, however, continue to operate
        classified programs, and maintains secrecy about many aspects of its
        installation at Mount Weather.

        I think a lot of CD responsibilities have been taken over by state and
        local emergency-management agencies, again reflecting the shift in focus
        from national emergencies to more localized events such as severe storms.
        For example, the Emergency Alert System, successor to the Emergency
        Broadcast System, seems to be more under state control than federal.

        As far as microwave facilities, AT&T was the major provider of
        national-security communications during its monopoly years, and continued
        to play an important role later in the Cold War years. Some of their
        facilities were built exclusively for defense purposes; examples would be
        the Autovon switching centers, and the microwave stations at Mount Weather,
        Cheyenne Mountain, Site R, and other national-security installations.

        Other AT&T facilities handled both civilian and military communications,
        but were designed to resist the effects of a nuclear blast. For example,
        as far as I know, the the "L-carrier" coaxial-cable network served both
        types of traffic. It had underground main stations equipped with blast
        doors, decontamination showers, air filters, and spring mounts for the
        electronic equipment - efforts to ensure that long-distance communications
        would be possible after an attack.

        Some networks were built and operated by the federal government, but I
        believe most defense communications were (and are) provided by private
        carriers.

        FEMA is responsible for the remaining federal civil-defense infrastructure.
        In addition to Mount Weather, they operate a number of regional centers.
        Some of these are underground and hardened, though - like many such
        facilities - they became vulnerable as the Soviets developed more accurate
        missiles. One of these centers is in the Washington DC area, between Olney
        and Laytonsille, MD. It is now called the Federal Support Center, and is
        unique in that it also serves as the Alternate National Warning Center. I
        believe the FEMA centers in Thomasville, GA and Bothell, WA are also
        hardened.

        If you'd like to discuss any of these topics in more detail, please feel
        free to post a message. There's a lot of expertise represented on this
        list, and it's likely someone will have the information you want. Though
        I'm interested in all aspects of Cold War-era communications, my most
        active areas of research are DC-area facilities, and the AT&T microwave
        network.

        ...Albert

        >I have noticed a lot about Microwave Facilities and Civil Defence. How do
        >you find out if a Facility is or was a Civil Defence Facility? And are
        >there any CD facilities left in Operation? Were they for primary
        >communications or back-ups? Are there any of the old Civil Defence
        >organizations still in existence or were they done away with long ago?
        >Thanks in advance for all of your help.
        >
        >Matt Robertson
        >w5hat@...
        >mgrobertson@...
        >w5hat@...
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