The recent global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought with it droves of believers that the zombie apocalypse finally arrived. It hasn’t. This is an ugly virus that’s killing some and leaving the rest of us who aren’t busy on spring break locked inside fighting boredom. All of that aside, COVID-19 did drudge up memories of CONOP 8888. Not familiar? Let us indulge you.
The Pentagon has a detailed zombie response plan called CONOP 8888. There are a lot of acronyms and bureaucratic lingo in this 30-page document. It makes mention of nine different types of zombies and plans to defeat them. It also reports on experimentation in the occult and chicken zombies. CONOP 8888 is an odd government document, but we should applaud Uncle Sam for thinking outside the box!
*Disclaimer: CONOP 8888 is a training tool for USSTRATCOM (U.S. Strategic Command) planners. It give us a glimpse into what an emergency plan for a massive scale disaster might look like. It may even shed some light on how the government looks at the COVID-19 crisis.
CONOP 8888 is incredibly thorough and worded like a lengthy tax document. It includes a list of nine types of zombies, paired with offensive and defensive strategies for each threat. My favorite is the evil magic zombie created through, “experimentation in the occult.”
Also noteworthy are weaponized zombies created by hostile actors, and chicken zombies created through improper euthanasia.
CONOP 8888 outlines a three-pronged plan to achieve its purpose of, “preserving the sanctity of human life.”
Step one is to establish a defensive condition, step two to eradicate the zombie threat, and step three to maintain law and order and return basic services. Establishing a defensive condition in step one involves monitoring zombie activity and predicting potential threats. Step two involves eliminating the threat through force. Meanwhile, step three involves maintaining an image of an in-tact government, and facilitating the transition back to civil authorities from martial law.
Put aside references to pop culture and absurdities like “vegetarian zombies” (zombies that don’t feed on humans), the three-pronged plan for defeating zombie hordes can apply to nearly any disaster. Take, for instance, a pandemic like the one we’re currently battling.
Maintaining a defensive condition would mean monitoring known hotbeds of novel disease for outbreaks, and also dealing with conditions known to be conducive to the creation of new threats. COVID’s current pandemic status is evidence we’ve failed in that regard, thanks in large part to secrecy in certain communist governments that we won’t mention … China.
Secondly, eliminating the threat would mean creating and distributing drugs to treat infection and a vaccine to prevent it. Both of these options take time and it’s still too early to tell how we’ll fare in this regard.
Maintaining order and returning basic services translates directly. It doesn’t look like we’ll need a full switch to martial law. However, the closures of businesses and schools in certain cities amounts to a suspension of basic services in itself. We’re still in the beginning stages. People are panic buying guns and ammo and, even worse, cleaning supplies. Water is still running, so societal stability probably won’t be an issue. The real challenge is figuring out how to help those put out of work by the crisis. We need to work on how to stimulate growth once COVID-19 runs its course.