Zombie shows and movies are entertaining to watch, but we all know there's no such thing as the walking dead, right? I mean, it's certainly not like the Pentagon spent an enormous amount of time creating a document that details military tactics, rules of engagement, and operational contingency plans in the event that flesh-eating corpses rise from the grave in order to attack America. Ha ha, that would be RIDICULOUS.
Or … not? As it turns out, in 2011, the Department of Defense wrote an unclassified document titled "CONOP 8888" which summarizes planned responses to various zombie-related threats -- including CZs, or chicken zombies.
Let's start with the important fact that this report is not 100% serious, in that the government knows something we don't about undead poultry. A disclaimer to the report reads,
If you suspend reality for a few minutes, this type of training scenario can actually take a very dry, monotonous topic and turn it into something rather enjoyable
Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, a spokeswoman for U.S. Strategic Command, told CNN,
The document is identified as a training tool used in an in-house training exercise where students learn about the basic concepts of military plans and order development through a fictional training scenario. This document is not a U.S. Strategic Command plan.
Okay then! But even though it's not an official strategic plan, it includes a lot of specific ideas for large-scale operational phases, like "conducting general zombie awareness training, recalling all military personnel to their duty stations, and deploying reconnaissance teams to ascertain the general safety of the environment to restoring civil authority after the zombie threat has been neutralized."
Here are the weirdest things about the document:
• There are eight potential types of zombies. 1) pathogenic zombies are created by infectious agents, 2) radiation zombies created by extreme doses of radiation, 3) EMZs, or "evil magic zombies," which are the result of "occult experimentation," 4) space zombies which come from space or originate from extraterrestrial toxins, 5) weaponized zombies which are bioengineered by hostile forces, 6) vegetarian zombies which eat only plant life (the report notes -- I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP -- that vegetarian zombies groan, "Graaaaaaiiins"), 7) symbiant-induced zombies created by parasitic life forms, and 8) CZs, or chicken zombies, a phenomenon covered in this news article and the Troma film Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.
• The military will train troops to shoot for the head. Okay, I know it's a widely-accepted belief that the only way to neutralize a zombie is through a headshot, but if you're going to go to the trouble of creating this whole plan, why not think outside the box? Maybe space zombies have a different weak spot! But NOOOO, the document specifically states that "The only assumed way to effectively cause causalities to the zombie ranks by tactical force is the concentration of all firepower to the head, specifically the brain." Well, when we all die from ill-preparedness, I think we'll know who's to blame.
• Zombies won't have legal status. Since the undead qualify as neither human nor animal life, the military will be free to engage as they see fit, without concern for U.S. and international laws.
• If you live in a populated area during a zombie outbreak, you might want to get the hell out of Dodge. As this directive to Strategic Command personnel states, "Maintain emergency plans to employ nuclear weapons within (the continental United States) to eradicate zombie hordes."
What do you think about this government document? Does it sound reasonable to you to use zombies as a fake scenario for real planning efforts?
Image via Paramount/World War Z