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Article
November 3, 1956

IMPACT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON MILITARY AND CIVILIAN MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

JAMA. 1956;162(10):959-961. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970270019007
Abstract

• Successful offensive tactics in nuclear warfare depend on the development of small, mobile, self-sufficient tactical elements capable of rapid dispersion and regroupment. Successful defense similarly depends on the development of units that will not offer an easy target for a nuclear weapon; they must be flexible and mobile, yet linked by centralized control. The medical support, in particular, must include casualty-treatment units widely dispersed in each community and capable of operating for short periods with communications destroyed. All individuals therein must be trained in first aid for assistance to both themselves and others; organic medical support attached to tactical units must be as small as possible; all other supporting medical units must be mobile, widely dispersed, and centrally controlled; rapid transportation must be available. Individuals concerned with medical care must be available for transfer to and from distant areas, and they must be under some type of disciplinary control, the nature of which, whether civilian or military, should be decided before the emergency arises. Experience gained from a joint Army and Air Force maneuver in 1955 demonstrated these points, but the pattern can also be adaped by civilian communities to the problem of supplying medical care under disaster conditions.

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