Everybody knows that, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we are on our own. That’s been drilled into us in everything from The Walking Dead to The Zombie Survival Guide to the Left 4 Dead games. No one believes in zombies, so no one can possibly be prepared. But what all of the fictional depictions of the zombie-filled nightmare failed to take into account is that the Pentagon watches that stuff, too: to wit, CONPLAN 8888-11, “Counter-Zombie Dominance,” which is, as revealed by Foreign Policy, an official training guide for the U.S. military that opens with a disclaimer reading, “This is not a joke.”
It’s not, in fact, a joke, but it’s also not entirely serious. Or, more to the point, it’s not designed to prepare troops for how to react when there is no more room in hell and the dead will walk the earth: it’s designed to provide troops a training exercise that won’t risk any political fallout if it leaks (as a plan designed to conduct operations in, say, Nigeria might) and that engages trainees in a creative manner (“students not only enjoyed the lessons, they actually were able to explore the basic concepts of plan and order development very effectively”). The disclaimer adds that they discovered the effectiveness of this concept “by accident,” which are words that typically lead to horrific outcomes when talking about zombies.
Still, just because there’s a logical reason for the Pentagon to create a detailed plan for a zombie apocalypse doesn’t mean that poring through it doesn’t provide a whole bunch of fun moments. In the “conditions for implementation” section, for example, the reason the military would get involved in a zombie apocalypse scenario is clearly outlined, and it gives new meaning to the term “deadpan”:
“Zombies are horribly dangerous to all human life and zombie infections have the potential to seriously undermine national security and economic activities that sustain our way of life. Therefore having a population that is not composed of zombies or at risk from their malign influence is vital to U.S. and Allied national interests.”
There are gems throughout the document. The classifications for zombie types slides from “pathogenic zombies” to “evil magic zombies,” all the way down to “vegetarian zombies” and “chicken zombies.” Someone clearly had a lot of fun making this–and if there’s even a little bit of a chance that it makes Americans safer, we’ll consider it a win all around.