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We all love the apocalypse, except for those that are actually in it and often apocalypse media, especially zombie apocalypses, show a complete collapse of any form of government. I find this unlikely, that America; the most powerful nation on Earth, would collapse so easily. While it is believable that the government as it is known could collapse, the higher government such as the President who would likely be evacuated or put in the bunker. But what if there is nowhere to evacuate? What happens when the bunker's supplies run out? They need a location that can support the President as well as the other higher ups in the government while still being dependable.

If a zombie apocalypse were to occur, with hyper-active runner zombies loose in the world, where would the president be evacuated to?

Starting assumptions and constraints:

  • The zombies will be fast, akin to 28 Days Later's runners
  • The refuge should be able to achieve self-sufficiency during or shortly after the apocalypse
  • Zombieness is transferred by bites only
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    $\begingroup$ The president could be evacuated to a safe location, and perhaps he/she could have staff there surviving for a prolonged time, but if they are not actively governing the population, interacting with them, could they really continued to be called a government? The government may be safe, but if there is no one left to govern, or no way to communicate with them, then can they really be called a cohesive body, a nation, with a functional governement? $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Jan 2 '17 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Jan 5 '17 at 14:47

11 Answers 11

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Why would you want to hide the President? That concept makes sense if there is an attack by an intelligent adversary who wants to target the chain of command. In this case, it sounds as if you want to defend him while maintaining his ability to communicate.

  • A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier?
  • Mount Weather or a similar site that was in the contingency plans, so people can find him?
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    $\begingroup$ +1 on that. Also any ship is safe from zombies. Yes, they may be able to operate underwater (dependng on zombie type) - but they can not build a high pyramid (to reach the water level) against a moving ship. Standard zombies are also not smart enough for that.. Supply logistics are a problem, though. Aircraft carriers can operate quite some time without fuel - but food is running out fast. $\endgroup$ – TomTom Jan 2 '17 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @TomTom Fishing can offset that slightly. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 3 '17 at 4:13
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    $\begingroup$ In this scenario, the aircraft carrier would have a... skeleton crew... and use extra space not used by sailors to store food and other supplies. Modern carrier battlegroups require constant resupply, but with a minimal crew, that could be mitigated. $\endgroup$ – user1975 Jan 3 '17 at 4:42
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    $\begingroup$ My first thought myself was "Well, you hide him on Air Force One until either a) zombies learn how to fly or b) mid-air refueling becomes (more) difficult. Then, you fly to a military base." The logical extension, it seems to me, would to follow up with a nice flight from said military base to your aircraft carrier. $\endgroup$ – Ellesedil Jan 3 '17 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ @o.m. Well, I meant the food problem, but I guess my participle was dangling. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Jan 3 '17 at 13:20
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Fort Knox

Contrary to popular belief, Fort Knox is not just the location where the gold is stored. That title goes to the United States Bullion Depository. Fort Knox is actually a 109,000 acre army post, home to over twelve thousand people, the Bullion vault and even a high school. Imagine an army base and a town made beautiful love under the moonlight, Fort Knox was the baby. The vault itself (which would likely be transformed into the new base of operations for America) is defended 24 hours a day by CCTV cameras, motion sensors and even minefields.

Even if for some reason all there were not, you would still need to scale a electric fence crowned with razor wire, blast through thick granite walls and somehow open the 24 ton vault door. The Fort Knox Base is so secure that it is synonymous with security in modern culture.

Wind and solar power would be feasible in such an area and would livestock and wells. With your thousands of soldiers (give or take) scavenging would be simpler than going for groceries. All the soldier likely care about is their family, so by allowing their family to stay there, you will have a reliable super army (at least in post apocalypse terms). If any bandit group looks at Fort Knox, the new capital, and manages to destroy it, they deserve it. Thirty thousand troops are currently stationed at Fort Knox and even assuming an 80% abandonment rate, that leaves six thousand soldiers. Not much in the modern world, but enormous in the apocalypse.

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    $\begingroup$ This is creative but I could conceivably name any other fort and say it's an option, too. Is there evidence that the president would pick this place in particular? $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Jan 2 '17 at 8:56
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    $\begingroup$ Minefields would quickly be decimated by zombies. The mines would have to be replaced and unless they can be manufactured inside the fort, they will run out. Also, I don't know how the power plant inside the fort will be fueled to continuously power the electric fence. Hordes of zombie bodies would have to be constantly removed from the fence to prevent it from shorting out to the ground, since such shorting will significantly drain the fence's electrical charge. If the power plant runs on coal, that will run out. If it is nuclear, dampening rods will run out, radioactive waste will build up. $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Jan 2 '17 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ @ThomBlairIII Cities and towns bigger than a few thousand inhabitants have never been self-sufficient. There is no way that the complete range of resources that are needed for a city (food, fuel, building materials, etc, etc) can be all be sourced from one local area. Even thousands of years ago, there were regular trade routes between settlements thousands of miles apart - and not just for "luxury items". For millennia, a basic and effective military strategy was simply to cut off all communication routes to a city and wait for it to surrender or starve. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Jan 2 '17 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ @ThomBlairIII I'd dispute the ratio of one acre person. Currently, there total arable land on earth is around 14M km², less than 2000m² ~0.5 acre per person alive. Even though there are other food sources like the seas or wildlife in non-arable areas, this is offset by not all suitable land being used for food production. The world can feed humanity at the moment while not fulfilling the requirement - this doesn't work out. $\endgroup$ – Chieron Jan 2 '17 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Chieron the world right now uses a lot of support for farming to hit those efficiencies (fuel, machinery, pesticides, mass fields, etc). None of those will work for long after the apocalypse. 1 acre pp is closer to what you need with a low-tech output. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jan 2 '17 at 15:50
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Cheyenne Mountain Complex for NORAD

It contains a deeply embedded military structure 610 m under a granite mountain with 25 ton blast doors. It has been built to withstand any possible attack, including nukes and biological/chemical weapons. All system for electricity, power etc. are redundant and designed for utmost stability. The mountain contains a spring which gives enough water and gigantic reservoirs for diesel, food etc.

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    $\begingroup$ Stargate SG1 here we go! Dial up another planet. $\endgroup$ – cybernard Jan 3 '17 at 2:32
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    $\begingroup$ I have been inside Cheyenne Mountain many times and this needs to be selected as the correct answer...unless of course there is already a zombie in there when you shut the doors. In that case it is a very bad answer. $\endgroup$ – Scooter Jan 4 '17 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Scooter Sounds like missing internal compartments with strong fortified doors ? $\endgroup$ – Thorsten S. Jan 4 '17 at 3:31
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Any of the numerous war time bunkers built to do just that. Zombies are not getting into a bunker designed to stop bombs and chemical attacks. Check out The Greenbrier, a hotel which famously has a huge bunker complex underneath it. There is even a VR tour of the bunker, see here.

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Ohio-class submarine. Those are both nuclear powered, and carry ballistic missiles with hydrogen bomb warheads (in the apocalypse h-bombs can come in handy). All the air and water can come from ocean water that is as deep as the sub can dive. Have it filled with food and use a skeleton crew.

(Near) endless supply of pure air, water, propulsion, and electricity. You could even put it under a polar icecap.

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    $\begingroup$ Add some fishing nets and you can replenish some food just by swiming around. $\endgroup$ – PTwr Jan 2 '17 at 20:23
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The White House

Sorry to burst the zombie bubble with some realism, but a mob of unarmed suicidal half-corpses would pose no threat to heavily armed security forces, specially if backed up by the army.

Most zombie scenarios would end rather quickly as makeshift obstructions are used to funnel the horde, and reliable vehicle mounted weapons mow them down effortlessly.

As an example, placing a gun emplacements on or around the White House would be enough to mow down any and all zombies stuck trying to get past the fence (which stands to reason would be reinforced).

And I'll guess the real world White House is well guarded enough to handle such a situation until the army arrives, even if the outbreak began in Washington D.C. itself.

Edit: For further zombie outbreak de-hyping, read this: Cracked: 7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly)

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    $\begingroup$ The problem with zombies, especially fast ones, are the outbreaks. It only takes one to get past your defenses and infect someone, they go on to infect 2 who infect 4, etc. Next thing you know the President is huddled alone under the desk in the Oval Office waiting for someone to come and save him. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Lambert Jan 3 '17 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ @JeffLambert Remember that in 28 days later there was a family that had survived by barricading the stairs in their apartment building with shopping carts? Zombies, specially the frenzied "fast" variety from 28 days later are not particularly smart when negotiation obstacles, like say, the large metal fence surrounding the White House. Besides, weapon emplacements are designed to handle enemies rushing at them, what do you think would've happened in Normandy on D-Day had the US troops carried only poisoned knives? (and been suicidally stupid) $\endgroup$ – Oskuro Jan 3 '17 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ @JeffLambert You first need that one to get past the defences. Then you need the other defenders to ignore the infected individual long enough for the infection to take hold and turn them. Then you need them to be unable to kill said infected individual. $\endgroup$ – Werrf Jan 3 '17 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ Not to mention that the only means of infection, as per the question, is biting. I invite anyone to try and bite an unarmed trained soldier/security agent who is not only expecting you to try and bite, but also does not consider you human and has no qualms about killing you... and see how it goes XD $\endgroup$ – Oskuro Jan 3 '17 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ ^This, my brother-in-law was a Green beret with the U.S army. I saw him go only semi combat mode exactly once and it was scary as hell, and he didn't even pull the gun I knew he was wearing somewhere on him. Zero chance guys like him get bit when they are on guard. Threat gets a shot to the head every time. And the White House has dozens of people like him around it. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Jan 3 '17 at 19:39
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A cold mountain top bunker. Melted snow, all the water you can drink. You would need food storage no matter what.

The zombies would all freeze to death before they got there. Zombies don't bother with coats or much clothing for that matter so cold would do them in.

Also if you could arrange a bunker near a volcano, the lava would make short work of them.

Only the most athletic zombies could swim to in island even a few miles off shore. The ocean is very cold also.

My personal favorite, the Moon. Start sending supplies up now. The surface has ice and therefore water. Water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen for fuel and breathing. If you had a structurally sound greenhouse you could even grow food.

Another boring answer, the International Space Station.

Middle of Death Valley, I believe it is in Arizona. The zombies will all die from heat stroke, long before they reach the bunker.

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    $\begingroup$ I’m sure the cold would stop them, but it might be a little late for them to freeze to death. $\endgroup$ – VGR Jan 3 '17 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ Game of Thrones has cold-weather zombies that do just fine wreaking havoc. $\endgroup$ – user1975 Jan 3 '17 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Snowman Then use Death Valley option, or the Moon. $\endgroup$ – cybernard Jan 3 '17 at 4:49
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    $\begingroup$ Re: Death Valley, isn't the problem the zombies are already dead? Not sure Death Valley would "kill" them again. Also, it's in California. $\endgroup$ – Azor Ahai Jan 4 '17 at 0:10
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If you want to base your story in reality, I'd look for places that they would actually put the president in. For Example the Air force bunker in Cheyenne Mountain (as Thorsten S. mentioned) or even in an Airplane (Airforce One) or a helicopter Marine One. It just has to be as inacsessible as possible. Even a Remote Island as Hawaii would be good shelter. Also Alaska is pretty hard to terrain to move forward by foot (Zombies) and has a smaler population (smaller thread, easier to defend) would buy the President some time. Area 51 would also be an easy to defend place, that you could use. As a Tipp check out the known places, where they hide the Presidents in such situations (ex. 9.11)

You should put him in a hard to access remote area. And move him as far away from a city as possible. Because that is the most dangerius place in a zombie apocalypse.

To me, Cheyenne Mountain comes to mind first and would be a pretty good solution (at least for the beginning), because they have water and food supplies for a pretty long time. from there you can asses the situation and move to a permanent place.

The ISS would also be a good place to hide, however if the zombies manage to get on there, or someone carries the virus up there, there is almost no chance to defend that terrain (no guns and if you had them, you couldn't shoot them). So I wouldn't suggest that. (only if you know that no one carries anything contaminated for shure).

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  • $\begingroup$ ISS you don't need gun, each room can be sealed in case of rupture. Seal the zombie in, and vent the atmosphere. Zombie dies from no air. 2. Tie self to wall, press the spaceward open hatch button, and zombie in space, dead. One day to burn up in our atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – cybernard Jan 3 '17 at 22:20
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Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center

That's where current continuity-of-government plans will relocate high command in the event of a national disaster.

Exact details about the facilities there are, unsurprisingly, classified; however it is known that the site has large stockpiles of food, water, and medical supplies, and access to powerful communications equipment, both via hardline and radio broadcast antennas.

It's likely, of course, that Mount Weather would be a key target in the event of a deliberate attack on the United States; but for a zombie outbreak, it's absolutely where the President would go.

She would likely travel to the site aboard either a VC-25 (the aircraft most commonly used as Air Force One) or, if necessary, an E4. Both aircraft are designed and equipped to operate as mobile command posts and broadcast centers, though the E4 is somewhat more capable in this regard.

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  • $\begingroup$ Depending on the situation, especially evacuating from the White House, she might fly in the VH-60D helicopter ("Marine One"). $\endgroup$ – Codes with Hammer Nov 20 '18 at 20:24
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The answer will depend on the spread of zombies, which itself might be largely a function of where the outbreak started and the incubation time for the zombie disease (in addition to their speed and stamina - fast and very long in this case).

If the President is to be effective on any level they will have to be accompanied by a sizeable number of staff and military personnel and keeping them fed and watered would likely be a major challenge. You also have to factor in how long the outbreak will last - in the short term secure bunkers could be employed for many months, but if the outbreak goes on longer it may be preferable/necessary to move elsewhere.

A list of possible longer term homes for the US president, in rough order of preference, might be:

  • Stay in DC (i.e. if the outbreak is confined outside the Continental US).

  • An unaffected US territory (e.g. Hawaii - though there may be issues avoiding famine given Hawaii currently imports most of its food).

  • An unaffected friendly country, preferably one with a substantial US military presence, e.g. Germany, Japan, South Korea.

  • An unaffected non-friendly country, who may let the president in if they are accompanied by a decent sized military force

  • If government has broken down world-wide then those places that are physically isolated (by sea, desert, etc) and have little contact with the rest of the world are most likely to remain unaffected. These places are generally out of contact with the rest of the world for a reason - they can't support many people (e.g. small Pacific islands). However, there are a few places that are (a little) more viable, if not particularly hospitable. One of the sparsely populated/uninhabited Patagonian islands, e.g. Isla Wellington might be a good shout. It generally does not get too cold (which would make Alaska, Nunavut or Siberia difficult) and a combination of seafood and planted potatoes could feed a decent number of people.

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Island

Always the answer for any zombie apocalypse.

  • No need to defend assuming that the zombies do not swim.
  • Easy to control in and out flows of people => quarantines
  • Contains everything needed.

Simply the best answer always. No matter the case, an island will be cozy; there is no need to fight at all. US has a lot of nice islands at Hawaii.

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