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Civil-Military Emergency Planning Workshop: Lessons Learned in Transition

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Almost fifteen years have elapsed since the fall of the Berlin Wall an event that accelerated the most rapid and concentrated move to democratic governments and market economies in history. The subsequent cardinal efforts of reform in Europe focused on the transformation of many of the institutions of society and government. Eastern European countries wanted to shift their focus away from major theater war and preservation of the state to a focus on people, communities, and the quality of life enjoyed by citizens. The transforming countries needed institutions that buttressed and furthered the democratic principles of individual responsibility, collective protection, and decentralized action. As this evolution has progressed, these nations have developed a wealth of experience in transitioning institutions, none more important than the transition of large centralized civil defense structures focused on wartime protection and continuance of government to organizations operating to protect populations from a much wider array of threats. These threats could be natural disasters such as floods, fires, or earthquakes, industrial or transportation accidents with large numbers of casualties, diseases spreading quickly in the human population or in agricultural livestock or products, or deliberate acts of terrorism. These threats could cause great destruction or disrupt normal economic and social activity to the detriment of large elements of the population. Nations in the region have been dealing with these problems for decades, but the reduction in the probability of major interstate war and the domestic needs of the countries created the requirements for change. These nations started their transitions with significant civil defense capability. Each country also had a history and tradition of population protection, some dating from early in the 20th century.

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  • Civil Defense

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