CONOP 8888

Buried on the military’s secret computer network is an unclassified document, obtained by Foreign Policy, called CONOP 8888, otherwise known as “Counter-Zombie Dominance”, and dated April 30, 2011.

It’s a military training plan, a how-to guide for military to identify, isolate and eliminate the threat to citizenry from all sorts of the undead —  vegetarian zombies, “evil magic zombies,” chicken zombies (!), bio-engineered, alien  and whatnot. zombie1

Yessss! Everything is there:

  • “establish and maintain a vigilant defensive condition aimed at protecting humankind from zombies.”
  • “if necessary, conduct operations that will, if directed, eradicate zombie threats to human safety.”
  • “aid civil authorities in maintaining law and order and restoring basic services during and after a zombie attack.”
  • “preserve the sanctity of human life” among all the “non-zombie humans.”

Very timely, too.

As it turns out, CONOP 8888, is no laughing matter, although it’s hard to take it as anything but. As clearly stated in the disclaimer section of the document, “this plan was not actually designed as a joke.”

zombie1Plan Summary reads:

“This plan fulfills fictional contingency planning guidance tasking for U.S. Strategic Command to develop a comprehensive [plan] to undertake military operations to preserve ‘non-zombie’ humans from the threats posed by a zombie horde.”

“Because zombies pose a threat to all non-zombie human life, [Strategic Command] will be prepared to preserve the sanctity of human life and conduct operations in support of any human population — including traditional adversaries.”

“Planners … realized that training examples for plans must accommodate the political fallout that occurs if the general public mistakenly believes that a fictional training scenario is actually a real plan,” the authors wrote, adding: “Rather than risk such an outcome by teaching our augmentees using the fictional ‘Tunisia’ or ‘Nigeria’ scenarios used at [Joint Combined Warfighting School], we elected to use a completely-impossible scenario that could never be mistaken for a real plan.”

The CONOP 8888 text uses verbiage that reads like the phases of a counterinsurgency campaign:”shape”, “deter”, “seize initiative”, “dominate”, “stabilize” and, after “prepare to redeploy the forces to attack surviving zombie holdouts” and “provide support to federal, state and tribal agencies’ efforts to restore basic services in zombie-related disaster areas,” there is an optimistic “restore civil authority.”



zombie1During 2009 and 2010 US military planners were looking for a creative way to devise a planning document to be enacted in the event of an attack of any kind. The task was assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska. The zombie-movies-loving officers used zombies as their creative muse.

“The document is identified as a training tool used in an in-house training exercise where students learn about the basic concepts of military plans and order development through a fictional training scenario. […] This document is not a U.S. Strategic Command plan.” (Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for Strategic Command.)

“I hope we’ve invested a similar level of intellectual rigor against dragon egg hatching contingencies,” one defense official quipped.

The way I see it, the military simply doesn’t give a damn about snatching bread and butter out of the mouths of the Comedy Central folks.

See the text of CONOP 8888 


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