To build on this, I think the timeline looks like this:
Faro corp’s newest titan Class peacekeepers go online. They’re the premiere entity in robotic “peacekeeping”.
“Not long after”, somebody notices that while the Peacekeepers are performing their functions, oh fuck we don’t seem to have actual control and can’t turn them off.
It’s immediately obvious where this is heading. The swarms are growing. They are not an immediate thread - they’re just as likely roaming open country as doing anything else, adn they still aren’t that large. But there’s no way to deal with them. There are no failsafes. Conventional, human centered, armed-forces are a thing of decades past.
Faro calls Sobeck in. He’s freaked out by her solution, as he should be (I just adore this aspect of the story, and how they keep revisiting it like the orbital launch base welcome center). However, this is the only time Faro is anything other than completely helpful and doing everything in his power to facilitate Horizon Zero, until he eventually disappears into his underground pyramid.
What I took from the timeline is that at this point swarms weren’t actively doing a ton of damage other than maybe overruning croplands here and there, but those could be easily replaced. Nobody is really thinking anything is going on, outside of a select few (Joint Chiefs, etc). And everyone outside of Faro/Sobeck who thinks something is up is probably sitting there thinking “Faro, shut the fucking robots off already”. I don’t think they find out the truth until Sobeck flies to meet them, but I may be wrong.
It’s not the most tightly written backstory ever, and I get why it bothers some people. But I think Faro’s continued involvement is reasonable in-universe. It’s crucial that at first everything appear normal, and after that it’s crucial that people think there’s a winnable war going on.
Man I love this game.