Emergency Federal Register…Exercise Edition


Lost in the archives, I stumbled on the “EXERCISE EDITION” of the daily Federal Register, previously stamped SECRET and termed EXERCISE EDITION. The doc, declassified in 1994 and dated July 13, 1957, directs the Eisenhower Office of Emergency Resources to oversee protection of natural resources and use of “civilian manpower,” broadcasting, civil defense mobilization, the National Blood Program, and various other “emergency resources” for the Operation Alert exercise (see The Cleveland Story).

Previous to finding this doc, I’d not seen an emergency edition of the Federal Register, or a declassified Federal Register for that matter. It appears the Kennedy Administration Executive Order 11093 formally established the emergency role of the Federal Register (subsequent revocations are at NARA). At present, 50 USC Chapter 34 outlines the role of the Federal Register in communication of emergencies to Congress and the public.

I can’t trace the phrase Emergency Federal Register online as used during the Eisenhower Administration. To get to origins will require a few working days in the stacks. That said, I see from the WorldCat record on Project Opal Emergency Federal Register was similarly employed, so it’s my hunch there are more Emergency Federal Register docs floating about, perhaps not declassified, as well as some sort of policy guidance and mandate for the EXERCISE EDITION buried in an Executive Order or statute.

Note 20 of Richard J. McKinney’s excellent article Research Guide is perhaps a breadcrumb that might hold a clue to EXERCISE EDITION practices pre-1965:

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1) & (2). Between 1965 and 1988 secret federal regulations, known as the the Code of Emergency Federal Regulations, were promulgated to be triggered automatically in the event of a national emergency. These regulations are available by written request to the Office of the Federal Register. They are also available from the William S. Hein Co. (http://www.wshein.com).

I leave the mystery of the EXERCISE EDITION to atomic researchers to sort out.