Security firm HALO Corp. announced yesterday that about 1,000 military personnel, police officials, medical experts and federal workers will learn the ins and outs of a zombie apocalypse, as part of an annual counter-terrorism summit , according to The Huff Post.
The far-fetched scenario of a government grappling a zombielike threat — think movies like “Night of the Living Dead” or, more comically, “Zombieland” — has captured the attention and imagination of Brad Barker, president of the security firm HALO Corp.
The company, founded by former special operations, national security and intelligence personnel, announced its annual summit this year would include a realistic tactical training environment using “Hollywood magic” in live action demonstrations, realistic tactical training scenarios and classroom education.
According to The Navy Times, the company will take over the 44-acre Paradise Point resort in the city’s popular Mission Bay and create a series of terrorist scenarios, with immersive Hollywood sets including a Middle Eastern village and a pirates’ haven.
Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA and National Security Agency director, and Mexico Interior Secretary Alejandro Poiré Romero will speak during the summit, which runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.
In addition, visitors will learn how to deal with a worldwide pandemic, where people become crazy, violent and fearful. Zombies will roam the summit grounds in San Diego, Calif. harassing troops and first-aid teams that will be participating.
“The Zombie Apocalypse is very whimsical,” Barker said, adding that the setting is intended to add some levity to the more dire scenarios summit goers will encounter — incidents depicting active shooters inside a hospital or downed pilots trapped behind enemy lines, for instance. The pandemic medical nightmare is bound to be an attention-getter among people attending the summit.
“They are going to see a lot of stuff go down,” Barker added. “It is a Hollywood production.”
The training comes at a time when the term “zombie apocalypse” is so viral that even several branches of government have released statements on the matter. Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security reported that “the zombies are coming” as part of a hilarious bid to get citizens to prepare for a real disaster.
However, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention particularly notes that zombies are not real. However, earlier this year the word was used rather liberally to describe a rash of incidents involving cannibalistic attacks — the most high-profile of which, in late May, involved one man biting the flesh off another man’s face. Police suspect drugs, not a brain-eating virus, provoked the attack.
“The new battlefield is cyberspace, for sure,” Barker said. “The awareness is going to be monumental.”
HALO is composed of former military special operators as well as intelligence and national security experts.
HALO has partnered with Strategic Operations Inc., which specializes in hyper-realistic tactical and combat trauma training that makes use of various special effects and actors performing as role-players.