National Security Resources Board

National Security Resources Board

The National Security Resources Board was a United States board created by the National Security Act of 1947. It was a part of Cold War Civil defense, and obviously United States Civil Defense in particular. It was composed of eight members, one of whom served as its Chairman.

The organization had the follow statutory duties:

  • policies concerning industrial and civilian mobilization in order to assure the most effective mobilization and maximum utilization of the Nation's manpower in the event of war.
  • programs for the effective use in time of war of the Nation's natural and industrial resources for military and civilian needs, for the maintenance and stabilization of the civilian economy in time of war, and for the adjustment of such economy to war needs and conditions;
  • policies for unifying, in time of war, the activities of Federal agencies and departments engaged in or concerned with production, procurement, distribution, or transportation of military or civilian supplies, materials, and products;
  • the relationship between potential supplies of, and potential requirements for, manpower, resources, and productive facilities in time of war;
  • policies for establishing adequate reserves of strategic and critical material, and for the conservation of these reserves;
  • the strategic relocation of industries, services, government, and economic activities, the continuous operation of which is essential to the Nation's security.

In addition, at the time of its creation, the chairman of the National Security Resources Board also served ex officio as one of only seven permanent members of the National Security Council. The first Chairman was Arthur Hill.

Ultimately, the goal was to do long-range and continuous planning to prepare the United States for adequate industrial and economic mobilization. The board was originally very ineffective, perhaps because authority was shared by all eight members of the board rather than any single point person. In 1949, this was changed on the recommendation of the Hoover Commission. All power was vested in the chairman alone, and the Board was moved to be part of the Department of Defense. Later, it was shifted to the Executive Office of the President. Its role was later eliminated when its responsibilities were transferred to the Office of Defense Mobilization in June 1953.