Today we started a mini-simulation for a course at Patterson. This isn’t the larger spring policy simulation, but rather a smaller exercise designed to facilitate group work and presentation skills. My topic was this:
An alien attack has resulted in the destruction of the greater portion of the urban infrastructure of the United States and the rest of the world. Although the aliens have been substantially defeated, the problem of reconstruction looms. After the initial alien attacks, most of the nation’s urban population was able to flee the cities. The President has requested that the senior surviving officials in the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce submit reports on the likely problems and first steps towards reconstruction.
Some assumptions that we worked out on the first day, informed by repeated viewings of Independence Day:
- The attack resulted in the destruction of the 30 largest American urban centers, assuming that a ship can destroy a city every three hours, that the aliens allocated 3 ships to North America, and that only three targets each in Mexico and Canada were destroyed. We also figured 9 ships for Eurasia, and 1 each for Africa, South America, and Australia (the film states that the attack involved 15 ships). Those numbers are certainly debatable; I could see moving one Eurasian ship to South America, for example. The actual targets of destruction would probably take into account commercial and military importance in addition to raw population.
- The attack generated somewhere between 20-40 million internal refugees in the United States. While the populations of New York, Washington, and Los Angeles were mostly destroyed, other major cities were able to evacuate. Some refugees will also have evacuated from smaller cities (such as Cincinnati or Detroit) that were not targeted prior to the defeat of the alien ships. These latter refugees will be able to return to their homes, which will still leave a very large population of displaced persons.
- We assumed that the attack took place on July 2, 2007, in order to ease various narrative problems. Of course, this means that the United States is deeply involved in Iraq during the attack; Baghdad almost certainly would have been destroyed by an alien ship.
- We worked out that the Vice President and the Cabinet (with the exception of the Secretary of Defense) have all, perhaps with a straggler or two, been killed. Congress fares much better, as we figured that most Senators and Representatives wouldn’t be in DC during the attack. We’re guessing about 85% of Congress survives. Most state government survive essentially intact, as they’re not located in cities targeted by the aliens.