- "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 were the Chariot line, marketed as peacekeepers. However, a glitch was discovered in a swarm which severed command-and-control functions, 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 "Faro Swarm," as it became to be known, posed an existential threat to the survival, of not just human civilization, but to the complete destruction of Earth's ecosystems. 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, 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 Faro 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 enough for Project Zero Dawn to be completed. Among such tactics, General Herres implemented a propaganda-campaign in which the human population was lied to, making them believe that Project Zero Dawn was a superweapon that would stop the Faro 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. However, humanity unified together even in the face of inevitable defeat. 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 were 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 of delaying the swarm long enough for Zero Dawn to be completed, with the last military salient at Wichita falling just 36 hours before the swarm would have found Zero Dawn itself.
Such a 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. Additionally, the Earth's biosphere was swept clean to desolation.
However, their sacrifice gave the Earth another chance, in the form of Project Zero Dawn's creation: GAIA. Years after the loss of the biosphere and the Faro Swarm falling dormant, GAIA restored the planetary atmosphere, reseeding life in all of its forms, and restoring Earth to her former glory. Human life soon reappeared, but the knowledge of the world before, and the brave sacrifices of those who stood against the Faro Swarm, were lost to time.