National Security Gets Spooky: Troops Train for Zombie Apocalypse

American soldiers, civilian response train for zombie apocalypse.

A counterterrorism exercise on a 44-acre island on a bay in San Diego is drawing nationwide attention: in the spirit of the season, hundreds of Marines, navy special ops, soldiers, firefighters are preparing for the end of the world.

Called “Zombie Apocalypse”, the exercise features a scenario with disasters, explosions, and, of course, the walking dead.

"No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do," said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the Oct. 31 training demonstration. "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."

In the scenario, a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes. The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies. At one point, some members of the team are bit by zombies and must be taken to a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment.

“The defining characteristics of zombies are that they're unpredictable and resilient. That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagon calls asymmetric warfare," said defense analyst Loren Thompson.

Organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race or culture – something that could potentially be seen as offensive.

"I can think of a couple of countries where the local leaders are somewhat zombie-like," he joked. "But nobody is going to take this personally."

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