- "You saw the numbers. Now, Faro, he'll foot the bill, but his money can't buy the time necessary to complete Zero Dawn. That...will have to be paid for with blood."
- ―Gen. Aaron Herres
Operation: Enduring Victory was the unified war plan employed by the Old Ones in their fight against the Faro Plague. With victory impossible, Enduring Victory's main goal was to give time for Dr. Elisabet Sobeck and her team to complete Project Zero Dawn. Operation: Enduring Victory was spearheaded by the United States military, and was in place from November 3rd, 2064 to the latter half of 2066, ending with the last human military forces overrun and destroyed.
Faro Automated Solutions was a major technology company that manufactured and sold technology products, ranging from domestic servitors, personal devices, and automated combat robots. One of their major defense products was the Chariot line, marketed as peacekeepers. A glitch was discovered in a swarm that severed command-and-control functions, however, and caused them to become self-aware.
Coupled with the ability to take over enemy machines, self-repair, replication, and utilization of biomass as fuel, the swarm posed an existential threat not just to human civilization, but to all life on the planet. Ted Faro, owner of Faro Automated Solutions, approached Dr. Elisabet Sobeck in a vain effort to shut them down. Dr. Sobeck realized the general hopelessness of the situation and proposed a radical solution that came to be known as Project Zero Dawn.
Speaking to the members of the U.S. military, Dr. Sobeck impressed the urgency of the situation, whereby General Aaron Herres put forth a grand strategy known as Operation: Enduring Victory. As military victory against the swarm was impossible, the plan called for a massive investment in conventional military equipment immune to any hacking, which would be distributed to the civilian population unable to serve in the military. The plan also called for tactics that would delay the swarm long enough for Project Zero Dawn to be completed. Among such tactics, General Herres implemented a propaganda campaign by which the human population was lied to, making them believe that Project Zero Dawn was a superweapon that would stop the swarm.
- Military Commander: "You're going to thank her? After what she just said?!"
- Gen. Herres: "Dr. Sobeck has made the situation very clear, General - and given us an option. We should all be thanking her."
- Military Commander: "It's just... I mean... my God!"
When Elisabet Sobeck and General Aaron Herres presented the war plan to the heads of the United States military, it was met with shock and horror. One commander even went so far as to call it a war crime, rather than a war plan. Billions of people would be thrown into what was essentially a meat grinder. Others grasped at other options, with one suggesting that perhaps certain upgrades to the military would allow them to stave off the threat, despite the fact that the Faro Swarm could hijack and take control of all the automated machinery that made up the majority of the U.S. military's arsenal.
- "The enemy we're facing self-replicates faster than we can kill it, and it eats biomass as fuel. Project Zero Dawn is all we've got."
- ―Gen. Herres
As previously mentioned, even with nearly the whole of humanity fighting back against the Faro Swarm, Operation Enduring Victory was only a massive delaying tactic. Humanity unified together even in the face of inevitable defeat, however. Their sacrifice bought Elisabet Sobeck and her team almost two years, and gave them enough time to complete the project. In late 2066, the last of the human military forces was overrun and destroyed.
While records pertaining to the military situation throughout the time period are scant, they do suggest that, while human ingenuity was able to beat back elements of the Swarm on several occasions, the sheer numbers of the Swarm and their ability to quickly learn after every engagement meant that in the long run all human forces were eventually overrun. Despite this, however, they achieved their true purpose: delaying the swarm long enough for Zero Dawn to be completed, with the last military salient at Wichita falling just thirty-six hours before the swarm would have found Zero Dawn itself.
The number of human deaths had never been seen before in the history of war: billions of human deaths, civilian and military, were incurred over the course of the two-year conflict. This was more than the total number of deaths in all previous wars in history combined.
Enduring Victory succeeded in its purpose, however, delaying the extinction of all life until Zero Dawn was completed. Approximately 100 years after life was obliterated and the swarm fell dormant, the terraforming system created by the project succeeded in brute-forcing the robot's deactivation codes, which shut them down. Approximately 100 years after that, the system successfully began reversing the extinction of life, detoxifying the land and sea, restoring the atmosphere's breathability, and reestablishing global flora and some fauna, as well as the human species.