This Halloween, today and tomorrow, nearly 1,000 U.S. Marines and Navy special forces will be joining other soldiers, police officers and firefighters off the coast of San Francisco to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse. That’s the official name of this year’s Halo Corp-hosted counterterrorism summit, and reflects the gory nature of the training exercise.
“This is a very real exercise; this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, to the Associate Press. Halo will be holding the Oct. 31 training demonstration at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island near San Diego. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”
Halo is following in the footsteps of the CDC and many local agencies involved in preparation and awareness. The undead are a perfect existential threat because there are no rules when it comes to an outbreak. Because it’s all made up.
Barker continued, “No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do. If a law-enforcement officer sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”
By discarding preconceptions about potential threats, participants in this multi-stage combat exercise will be encouraged to improvise, adapt and overcome. And besides, it’s Halloween, someone’s gotta be in costume.
To reinforce the seriousness of the event will be keynote speaker Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA. The two-day training course is just part of the five-day summit, which has been approved for and partially funded by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the DHS Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative. Registrants must also pay a $1,000 fee to attend. For the exercises, the island has been converted with movie-style sets, to include Middle Eastern villages and even a pirate cove.
Joe Newman, spokesman the Project on Government Oversight watchdog organization said the event wasn’t ridiculous at all.
“We obviously are concerned about any expenditure that might seem frivolous or a waste of money but if they tie things together, there is a lesson there. Obviously we’re not expecting a zombie apocalypse in the near future, but the effects of what might happen in a zombie apocalypse are probably similar to the type of things that happen in natural disasters and man-made disasters. They’re just having fun with it. We don’t have any problems with it as a teaching point,” said Newman.
“No doubt when a zombie apocalypse occurs, it’s going to be a federal incident, so we’re making it happen,” said Barker. Naturally, with word spreading, “every whack job in the world” has asked them if the government is really concerned about a zombie outbreak. They, ah, aren’t. It’s just an excuse to stage a system-wide attack on normalcy.
There’s even a surprise upside to having zombie antagonists, as pointed out by Defense analyst Loren Thompson. By preparing for the horde, they won’t single out any nations, races, religious or cultural groups at any point during the exercises.
“I can think of a couple of countries where the local leaders are somewhat zombielike. But nobody is going to take this personally,” added Thompson.
The only real question we have is, with the whole pirates versus zombies part of the event, will the participants be issued boarding axes?
Photo credit AFP/Getty/the Blaze.