UPDATE: See below for Doug Porter’s take.
By NBC 7 San Diego / Oct. 30, 2012
Move over vampires, goblins and haunted houses, this kind of Halloween terror aims to shake up even the toughest warriors: An untold number of so-called zombies are coming to a counterterrorism summit attended by hundreds of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and others to prepare them for their worst nightmares.
“This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the Oct. 31 training demonstration during the summit at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island on a San Diego bay. “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.”
Hundreds of military, law enforcement and medical personnel will observe the Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack as part of their emergency response training.
Zombie Attack in San Diego Underway
Halloween is more than a trick or treating event for hundreds of Marines, Navy special ops types, soldiers, police and firefighters in San Diego today as they confront a nightmarish invasion of the living dead.
The 44 acre Paradise Point Resort on Mission Bay will be the site of a Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack as part of an emergency response training program. It’s just one part of five-day counterterrorism summit run by the Halo Corporation as an approved training event by the Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative. Participants (or in most cases, government agencies) are coughing up a $1,000 registration fee. The session runs through Friday.
In keeping with the holiday aura surrounding this program, the keynote speaker at the conference is a retired top spook — former CIA Director Michael Hayden.
Called “Zombie Apocalypse,” the exercise follows last year’s Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s campaign urging Americans to get ready for a zombie apocalypse, as part of a catchy, public health message about the importance of emergency preparedness.
The Homeland Security Department jumped on board this summer, telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack. Some of their ideas were reminiscent of the 33 rules for dealing with zombies popularized in the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” which included “always carry a change of underwear” and “when in doubt, know your way out.”
San Diego-based Halo Corporation, founded by former military special ops and intelligence personnel, has been hosting the annual counterterrorism summit since 2006.