So here’s some back story to catch you guys up:

In my story, the Black Flu broke out around 2002 and lasted from then all the way until 2010 where it burned itself out. The Black Flu was the most violent and deadliest pandemic in human history, killing over 4.3 billion people (and this isn’t counting the estimated 850 million-900 million people who died from other diseases, starvation, wars and overall violence, etc.) and leaving at most maybe 2.7 billion people left. In the United States, the country (like every other country on the planet) fell into chaos and anarchy. In 2008, the federal government under President Obama’s leadership went into hiding in government bunkers and military bases throughout the country. Just a year later in early 2009, the US Government came back and liberated DC from the hordes of warring gangs, marauders, terrorists, militiamen, etc. President Obama was instrumental in setting up shop and laying down the groundwork for rebuilding the United States, this time being centered around the Washington, DC area where they would once again march westward towards the Pacific to liberate the country further down the road.

Anyway, after Obama came back to DC and fixed the place up (as well as expanded DC’s borders to incorporate the surrounding Virginian and Maryland counties), he pretty much tore down many aspects of the executive branch, reorganizing the executive branch by essentially trimming the fat.

First off, instead of 15 individual squabbling executive departments, they were all consolidated into four large individual executive departments:

Department of Domestic Affairs

The Department of Domestic Affairs (DDA) is responsible for the daily administration of the District of Columbia such as census taking, voting (whenever election season is around), tax collection, immigration, distribution of resources to the public, public safety, public health, etc. The DDA was formed after the consolidation of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Education, Justice, and Transportation (aspects of the former Department of Homeland Security are also incorporated into the DDA).

Department of National Defense

The Department of National Defense (DND) is responsible for ensuring DC’s defenses and national security, enforcing public law and order (DC is under what’s known as “civil martial law” where the military is out in public as law enforcement officers but Habeas Corpus and people’s constitutional rights are still firmly intact), and helping formulate and carry out the national security and military policies of POTUS while also being the executive civilian administrative department of the United States Garrison, the new and unified/singular military of the United States (i.e. the five branches of the military no longer exist, they’re consolidated into the US Garrison which is essentially just the unified US military). The DND was formed from a conglomeration of the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

Department of State

The Department of State/State Department is essentially just what it use to be. This time though, the State Department now deals with the various war tribes and self-proclaimed independent states. In 2020, President Macy Brewman ordered the State Department to begin an initiative to reestablish contact with any potential surviving foreign governments that may still be alive. So far, because of this new initiative, the State Department has reestablished contact with the governments of Canada, the UK, and France.

Department of National Resources

The Department of National Resources (DNR) is responsible for administering, accounting for, acquiring/securing, and allocating the various natural, industrial, capitol, and human resources of DC and the federal government along with helping the Department of Domestic Affairs distribute resources out to the general public. The DNR was created as a result of the merging of the Departments of Labor, Energy, Agriculture, and Interior.

As for Congress, Congress has MASSIVELY shrunken down to 15 Representatives (one Rep./30,000 people) and 10 Senators (DC is divided into five different administrative “sectors”). Because of this, Congress passed an initiative that gave them more oversight powers over the executive branch since with a much smaller Congress, POTUS could use the situation to his/her advantage and usurp power.

The Supreme Court has largely stayed the same, albeit with there being five justices.

So would my post-apocalyptic US Government work or make sense?

  • $\begingroup$ This seems different from your previous similar question only in the details. The organization chart can (still) look any way you wish. However the "fell into chaos and anarchy" by the method you describe seems implausible. Remember, a lot of plausibility is how you sell it. Lots of balkanized-america fiction out there, and some good authors sell it well. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ You assume that after pandemic broke out in 2002 and bands took over Washington DC, US was still able to hold national elections in November 2008? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ I have never seen any civil service where the Treasury/Tax department(s) were not in a permanent state of war with the main spending departments (e.g. Health, Welfare). Your attempt to merge them into one unit would simply create a sub-departmentalization as soon as the managers could make it happen. The needs of politics would also drive this,, just to create posts for people. It's how things work and it has never been different once any form of formal social organization develops. This happens e.g. when people organize a village fair, never mind a government. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ Why even keep two houses of Congress if they have about equal numbers of representatives? The whole point of having a separate Senate and House of Representatives was so that large, high population states or smaller but culturally distinct states could not unilaterally influence U.S. politics. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ I would also advise against calling this the Black Flu. I realize you probably meant it by way of an analogy to the Black Death, but I still wouldn't go there if I were you. $\endgroup$
    – Ton Day
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 4:08

2 Answers 2


Not to rain in your parade, but you made the perfect target, both for your warlords and your citizens.

If there is a sentiment that most Americans share is their distrust/hate for the government, but there are different reasons for each. most commons are:

  • bloated size and inefficiency at handling things through bureaucracy (think DMV)
  • overstepping on personal liberties (requiring licencing to perform activities like fishing)
  • General disconnection from "the people's will" (representatives that "speak" for the people, but end agreeing to the lobbying groups instead of the people interests)

And you just keep all of that!

In a setting where your population is small enough to implement some sort of direct democracy you keep representatives, and where the resources to survive are scarce and vitals you made a whole department to regulate their use. You even kept the tax system when even using money seems like a useless thing (remember: paper money only works if everybody agrees it has value, instead of a pound of meat which has real value in trading).

You made the perfect setting for a Bogaloo history: since your government fought the militiamen and it's based on DC (the "land of the devil" according to the movement) you just gave them their casus belli to grab their guns and make sure your reach never expand or that the days of your government are short lived.

If you say that most of your population came originally from DC (a purely administrative district) my first concern will be that most likely you have almost no people capable of supplying basic needs like farming or building infrastructure, more so if the disease attacked the population at random, so even your population have a strong motivation to leave ship and go with a more wealthy warlord or try living on their own little communities in the middle of nowhere, far away from your taxes and regulations.



If the United States has no capital, it has dissolved

DC was overrun for a significant length of time by what amount to warlords and anarchy. The capital didn't move somewhere else, like during the War of 1812. There just wasn't one. The United States must necessarily already have been done at that time, or it wouldn't have ever happened. Whatever comes back might like to style itself the US Government. It won't be.

For DC to actually be overrun like you describe, there effectively is no military left to prevent it (either because what remains has better things to do, or there isn't anything remaining at all). Either federally, or on the state level.

What did the governors of nearby - or even far away - states do while this was happening? If the answer was "What state governors?" then there are no States to be in a Union, so the US is gone. If those governors chose not to send their National Guard and police to maintain order, that's a de facto secession and a dissolution of the US. And if they did, obviously it didn't work, which again is a dissolution of the US.

Arbitrarily combining departments won't work

What does Housing and Urban Development have to do with the Justice Department? Nothing. What do either have to do with the Treasury department? Nothing. They won't work well together. They don't operate in the same way.

Many of these departments should, by rights, have a lot more work to do putting Humpty Dumpty back together again, now that everything's gone to hell in a handbasket. I'd imagine H&UD to be one of the most important departments, buried in a never-ending avalanche of reconstruction work yet so ill-equipped to deal with it now that everything's gone FUBAR.

Your Department of National Defense is martial law

How can a department housing the military, and explicitly described as using martial law (of any kind) also be the "executive civilian administrative department" of the new military? If they're an administrative department of the military, they're not civilians. The President is different because it's an elected position. This is basically no different from plain old martial law. Slapping a different name on it doesn't really change much.


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