He went on: “You can make very good sheltering by taking the doors off your house, digging a trench, stacking the doors about two deep over that, covering it with plastic so that rainwater or something doesn’t screw up the glue in the door, then pile dirt over it.”
Many officials had at least a brief enthusiasm for massive civil defense programs, President John F. Kennedy among them. But when the costs were weighed against the other impacts of a major nuclear exchange, civil defense seemed to have minimal benefits. Nor did the Reagan administration propose a major civil defense program. But its nuclear strategists faced a strong challenge from public opinion which wanted a "nuclear freeze" instead of its proposed massive buildup of offensive nuclear firepower.
Digging, he figured, would take about 10 hours, followed by installation of a ventilation pump and dealing with sanitation and supplies. Apartment dwellers were no problem, he said; they could be moved to rural areas.
So people like Jones and his mentor Richard Perle pointed to Russian civil defense efforts to prove that Moscow wanted to fight and win a nuclear war. I had my own encounter with Perle on this topic when he made the point that some Russian cities even practiced evacuation of the population. "Richard," I responded, "so do we --every Friday afternoon in the summer."