Counter-Terrorism Summit to train for ‘zombie apocalypse’

Military trainees have to be ready for anything—including the undead—according to a California security firm.

Starting next month, a 44-acre training site in San Diego will be converted into a mock battleground in the zombie apocalypse.

The San Diego-based HALO Corp., which was founded by former Special Operations personnel, provides high-end private security and caters to the U.S. government and Homeland Security personnel.

The company will offer an exercise to kill fictional zombies as part of its five-day Counter-Terrorism Summit in October.

The summit includes hands-on demonstrations, lectures and classes for more than 1,000 students from police officers, medical workers and government employees.

“They are going to see a lot of stuff go down,” HALO president Brad Barker told the Military Times.

Barker was inspired to include zombie training in the counter-terrorism summit after the Center for Disease Control introduced a campaign designed to remind citizens and soldiers to be ready for everything, zombies included.

The scenario, which Barker calls the Zombie Apocalypse, will feature undead actors that will attack participating troops and medical workers. HALO has partnered with Strategic Operations, Inc., a firm that specializes in using special effects and realistic combat training, to enhance the experience.

The Counter-Terrorism Summit will also train participants in a number of far less dangerous scenarios, including cyber warfare and Mideast combat.

Brad Barker sees the future of warfare being on the Internet.

“The new battlefield is cyberspace, for sure,” he told the Military Times.

Next month, his outfit will incorporate — no kidding — zombies into a disaster-crisis scenario at the company’s annual Counter-Terrorism Summit in San Diego, a five-day event providing hands-on training, realistic demonstrations, lectures and classes geared to more than 1,000 military personnel, law enforcement officials, medical experts, and state and federal government workers.

Naturally, Navy Times got in on the fun, too, publishing a lighthearted “zombie war deployment guide” in the Aug. 1, 2011, issue. The story examined various tactics and gear that “experts” consider essential to wage a successful campaign on the undead.

“The Zombie Apocalypse is very whimsical,” Barker said, noting 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.”

HALO is composed of former military special operators as well as intelligence and national security experts. They train military units and federal and state agencies in security, counterterrorism, force protection, emergency response and disaster management.

To help pull off such an elaborate production, 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.

The company has helped train thousands of sailors, soldiers and Marines in counterinsurgency missions, urban patrols, security operations and combat trauma over the past decade at its San Diego training studio and on military bases.

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