Lynn Eden discusses the implications and differences in developing plans to understand, prevent, prepare for, and mitigate infrequent disasters such as pandemics and large-scale nuclear war.
Both kinds of plans involve anticipating large numbers of deaths—but at very different orders of magnitude. Although the language of prevention and mitigation may be common to both, the probability of a pandemic depends to a considerable degree on human knowledge and social/political action.
On the other hand, the reason for developing highly detailed “executable” plans to fight and “prevail” in a nuclear war is to threaten an enemy so they will not attack you or your allies. One cannot threaten a pandemic in hopes of deterring it from attacking. But if nuclear war plans do not deter an enemy, carrying out those plans in the hopes of destroying enemy forces will almost certainly lead to the incomprehensible destruction of all.