What if the coronavirus takes on a dimension much worse than we foresee right now? What if the government is incapacitated by disease and civil order is breaking down? Then the U.S. military, given their oath to protect the Constitution against “all enemies foreign and domestic,” would step in to restore order and safety.
As for most contingencies, the military has operational plans for this possible eventuality. Somebody leaked them to Newsweek: “According to new documents and interviews with military experts, the various plans –codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac– are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. They are so secret that under these extraordinary plans, ‘devolution’ could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.”
The salient components: “Mission essential in this regard applies to the maze of more than a dozen different secret assignments, most of them falling under three larger contingency plans:
CONPLAN 3400, or the military’s plan for ‘homeland defense,’ if America itself is a battlefield.
CONPLAN 3500, ‘defense support of civil authorities,’ where the military assists in an emergency short of armed attack on the nation.
CONPLAN 3600, military operations in the National Capital Region and continuation of government, under which the most-secret plans to support continuity are nested.”
The Newsweek article concludes in part, “All of these plans are the responsibility of U.S. Northern Command (or NORTHCOM), the homeland defense military authority created after 9/11. Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy is NORTHCOM’s Colorado Springs-based commander… On February 1, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper signed orders directing NORTHCOM to execute nationwide pandemic plans. Secretly, he signed Warning Orders (the WARNORD as it’s called) alerting NORTHCOM and a host of east coast units to ‘prepare to deploy’ in support of potential extraordinary missions.'”
“Secretly…nationwide pandemic plans…extraordinary missions…” This may remind some of the quote from the fictitious Admiral Joshua Painter in “The Hunt for Red October.” It goes, “This business will get out of control. It’ll get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.” Most analysts don’t see it getting anywhere that bad. But it is smart to be ready just in case.