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Here is the Military’s Plan to Stop a Zombie Apocalypse

Foreign Policy has obtained an unclassified plan from the depths of the Pentagon that details a military response to a zombie apocalypse. It is entitled CONPLAN 8888—the Counter-Zombie Dominance Plan.

The report notes that the plan wasn’t made as a joke—having students work through a plan to deal with a global threat to human existence using a recognizable pop culture trope was apparently very effective. And using zombies has political advantages. If this plan leaked and the military had used a fictional scenario involving Nigeria, for example, it could cause an international incident.

The Pentagon figured that a plan based on zombies would never be mistaken for a real plan and cause problems, but would help learning:

“Because the plan was so ridiculous, our students not only enjoyed the lesson; they actually were able to explore the basic concepts of plan and order development (fact, assumptions, specified and implied tasks, references, etc.) very effectively.”

Alright, so the Pentagon made a ridiculous plan to help students learn. What’s in it?

The Considerations

First, US forces have to acknowledge the scale of the zombie threat:

“While the US currently enjoys several asymmetric advantages against zombie infections originating in the Eurasian landmass, these advantages can be easily negated… Further, asteroids and nuclear space radiation that can convert people into zombies can affect any landmass or population on Earth.”

No matter how safe you think you are, you always have to worry about asteroid zombies. Next, the cooperating forces have to determine what kind of zombie they are dealing with. The plan features eight gruesome flavors of zombie.

The Enemy

CONPLAN 8888 outlines eight different shambling threats:

1. Pathenogenic zombies: Created by virus, bacteria, or other contagion (think The Walking Dead).

2. Radiation zombies: Created by extreme dosage of radiation (think Fallout’s “ghouls”).

3. “Evil magic” zombies: Created by occult experimentation.

4. Space zombies: Zombies originating from space or some contagion from space.

5. Weaponized zombies: Zombies deliberately created through bioengineering.

6. Symbiant-induced zombies: Where a parasitic life form turns host into zombie (think The Last of Us’“clickers”).

7. Vegetarian zombies: These zombies are no threat to humans, but could cause massive deforestation and crop destruction.

8. Chicken zombies: Chickens that haven’t been quite euthanized enough.

After identifying the enemy, the world’s forces would then go through a five-phase plan to ensure humans prevail.

Phase 0: Shape the Environment

Conduct wide-scale epidemiological surveillance of vectors that could cause “zombieism” (radiation, viruses, evil magic, etc.) and synchronize police and military personal across the globe. Start offensive, defensive, and HAZMAAT training of all personnel.

Phase 1: Deter

Zombies cannot be reasoned with, but “zombie-inducing forces”—such as terrorist groups or evil bio-research companies can be deterred. Show that the anti-zombie forces can survive in this new apocalypse, and prevent anyone from making it worse.

Phase 2: Seize the Initiative

All forces re-group and get ready for deployment. Make it known that these measures are not preparations for war, “to avoid ambiguity with nuclear armed peers such as Russia.”

Generate forces to make a quick global strike against the initial zombie concentrations, and have local and federal forces ready to enforce quarantine zones.

Phase 3: Dominate

Begin preparation for full combat operations against the zombie horde. Emergency disaster plans go into effect, and forces are ready to shelter all mission personnel for at least 40 days (oddly specific).

Phase 4/5: Stabilize

After 40 days of domination operations, reconnaissance missions will begin to “determine the severity of the remaining zombie threat, assess the physical and epidemiological security of the local environment, and survey the status of basic services (water, power, sewage infrastructure, and water, air, land lines of communications).”

All reports will be broadcast on unsecured channels so that any survivors can link up with remaining forces. Domination forces will stay engagement-ready.

Final Phase: Normalization

All collaborating forces will assist industry and civilian personnel in rebuilding, replacing, and recovering infrastructure and services. Any lessons learned will be reported and included in future operations.

As specific as the Pentagon’s plan is, it will only work if the assumptions it makes are accurate. CONPLAN 8888 assumes that there is no cure for zombieism, that every death is a win for the enemy, and that “the only way to effectively cause casualties to the zombie ranks by tactical force is the concentration of all firepower to the head, specifically the brain.”

Furthermore, all zombie casualties must be incinerated, “atheists could be particularly vulnerable to ‘evil magic’ zombie threats,” and everyone should apply anti-bacterial soap regularly, just in case.

Flame-barriers are also recommended.

Having a plan to deal with a Walking Dead-type situation makes the Pentagon seem like it doesn’t have its priorities straight, but think about it: What’s the harm in having a plan that can deal with a global pandemic? It trains students, works as a thought experiment, and obviously gets a lot of press (when leaked). The Pentagon isn’t even the first to do something like this. The CDC recently used the conceit of a zombie apocalypse to teach people about disaster preparedness. Using a concept that people are already interested in makes information stick.

But just know that if you every hear chatter of “CONPLAN 8035”, a global, cooperative assault on space zombies will be shortly underway.

CONPLAN 8888 by JDStuster

HT: Foreign Policy

IMAGES: Courtesy of AMC


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  1. Joe Songer says:

    Atheists could be particularly vulnerable to ‘evil magic’ zombie threats?
    Wouldn’t atheists be less likely to believe in that hogwash and be less vulnerable.

    • Tucker says:

      Joe, your questioning cracks me up… Atheist vs evil magic hogwash. That kind of confuses I me…  so if im understanding you correctly, you’re saying that atheists dont believe in evil magic but do believe in zombies?  Oh but of course only when there’s no magic involved, right?  LMAO

  2. Brian Waas says:

    I believe the reason for 40 days is the return time on a full cycle for replaced cells in the lungs. since many infectious diseases that are demic (pandemic, epidemic etc) tend to be pathogens that are airborne, over a 40 day period it is probably assumed that the lungs, having fully regenerated themselves after the initial outbreak, would result in all those susceptible would have succumbed by then, leaving only zombies and survivors, and nobody on the inbetween phase. this would take into account a small margine of delayed exposure since the lungs replace their cells in about six weeks. given that much time, I would assume anyone susceptible to becoming a zombie, would have been exposed and had done so by then