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Federal Security Agency

Fsa gov logo.png

The Federal Security Agency (FSA) was an independent agency of the United States government established in 1939 pursuant to the Reorganization Act of 1939. For a time, the agency oversaw food and drug safety as well as education funding and the administration of public health programs and the Social Security old-age pension plan.



The Reorganization Act of 1939 authorized the President of the United States to devise a plan to reorganize the executive branch of government. Pursuant to the Act, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued "Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1939" on April 25, 1939. The reorganization plan was designed to reduce the number of agencies reporting directly to the president.

The reorganization plan created the Federal Security Agency. Included in the FSA were the Social Security Board, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Food and Drug Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Office of Education (later the United States Department of Education), the National Youth Administration and a number of other agencies.[1] Its first director was Paul V. McNutt. Secretly, the FSA was also a cover agency from 1942 to 1944 for the War Research Service, a secret program to develop chemical and biological weapons.[2]

President Harry S. Truman attempted to make the FSA a department of the federal government, but this legislation was defeated.[3]

In 1949, the United States Congress enacted the "Reorganization Act of 1949" (5 U.S.C. 901). Subsequently, President Dwight D. Eisenhower promulgated "Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953." The Federal Security Agency was abolished and most of its functions were transferred to the newly formed United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW).[4]

List of FSA AdministratorsEdit

Miller often served as Acting Administrator while McNutt served as both FSA Administrator and Chair of the War Manpower Commission from April 18, 1942.


  1. ^ Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1939. Social Security Administration. Accessed Jan. 22, 2007.
  2. ^ Blake, Paul V. McNutt: Portrait of a Hoosier Statesman, 1966; Series 4: "War Research Service. Committees on Biological Warfare, 1941-1948." Archives of the National Academies. National Academy of Sciences. Accessed Jan. 22, 2007.
  3. ^ Culp, "Whose Security? A Voice from the Past," San Francisco Call, February 22, 2005.
  4. ^ "Oral History Interview with Oscar R. Ewing." Oral History Interviews. Truman Presidential Library. May 1, 1969; Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1953. Title 5: Appendix: Reorganization Plans. Transmitted to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, March 12, 1953.


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