“Dark Winter”- 2001 Pandemic Simulation Resurfaces After Biden Uses Phrase during Debate


Jared Evan

A 2001 war game simulation of a biowarfare attack in the United States carries eerie similarities to the current coronavirus pandemic and lockdown that devastated the planet.

During the final Trump-Biden debate, Biden made a reference to an upcoming “dark winter” in the United States, referring to the possibility of another coronavirus outbreak this winter.

As a result, the internet exploded with searches of the term “dark winter”.

It turned out a simulation regarding a  smallpox outbreak was conducted in 2001

The Dark Winter exercise,(Link) run by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense, Center for Strategic and International Studies, ANSER, & the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, was an extensive simulation that attempted to envision federal government response to a nationwide smallpox outbreak.

The Dark Winter exercise portrayed a fictional scenario depicting a covert smallpox attack on U.S. citizens. The scenario is set in 3 successive National Security Council (NSC) meetings which take place over 2 weeks. Former senior government officials played the roles of NSC members; media representatives were among the observers and played journalists during the mock press conferences. The exercise was held at Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, DC

The exercise, complete with a 44-page script(LINK), simulated several days of the outbreak, throughout which the government scrambled to stop the spread, including developing a new vaccine and distributing it.

Drawing parallels to what we are currently living thru, the fictional outbreak, while not a coronavirus, was instead a smallpox pandemic- which started in Southwest Asia.

Their scenario included a shortage of the vaccine and violence as the result, with the eventual implementation of martial law.

They created a “fake news” news broadcast of the pandemic

Here are the findings discovered from the simulation drill. With a presidential candidate actually saying the phrase ‘dark winter’ and the fact that we are heading into the winter, with a vaccine for covid around the corner; this obscure simulation is worth looking into and it is quite intriguing:

  1. An attack on the United States with biological weapons could threaten vital national security interests. Massive civilian casualties, breakdown in essential institutions, violation of democratic processes, civil disorder, loss of confidence in government and reduced U.S. strategic flexibility abroad are among the ways a biological attack might compromise U.S. security.
  2. Current organizational structures and capabilities are not well suited for the management of a BW attack. Major “fault lines” exist between different levels of government (federal, state, and local), between government and the private sector, among different institutions and agencies, and within the public and private sector. These “disconnects” could impede situational awareness and compromise the ability to limit loss of life, suffering, and economic damage.
  3. There is no surge capability in the U.S. healthcare and public health systems, or in the pharmaceutical and vaccine industries. This institutionally limited surge capacity could result in hospitals being overwhelmed and becoming inoperable, and it could impede public health agencies’ analysis of the scope, source and progress of the epidemic, their ability to educate and reassure the public, and their capacity to limit causalities and the spread of disease.
  4. Dealing with the media will be a major immediate challenge for all levels of government. Information management and communication (e.g., dealing with the press effectively, communication with citizens, maintaining the information flows necessary for command and control at all institutional levels) will be a critical element in crisis/consequence management.
  5. Should a contagious bioweapon pathogen be used, containing the spread of disease will present significant ethical, political, cultural, operational, and legal challenges.