EEI# 31 What kind of organizations…? Those that incorporate and ingrain Red Team culture

Essential Elements of Information for a Culture of Preparedness

Alternative analysis is the super-class of techniques of which red teaming may be considered a member… these techniques are designed to help debias thinking, enhance decision making, and avoid surprise. (From Red Team Journal)


As noted in The 2010 Announcement post, Project White Horse focus for 2010 will explore “what kind of organizations and indeed groups of organizations can operate at the required tempo demanded for survival when faced with worst case, unconventional crisis, or hyper complex events – the “CAT 5′s.”  

Now, consider just a quick bit of background to link red Team Journal’s effort with Project White Horse perspective.

Considering that the PWH focus on decision making in unconventional crisis/hyper complex events has at its core the thread and ideas of “alternative analysis,” the concept of integrating red teaming into organizational learning as significantly impacting the survival process is offered as absolutely critical – an essential element of understanding for a culture of preparedness. As such Red Team Journal is offered as an important resource. Note that the writing of Assistant Editor Adam Elkus has been featured multiple times on PWH, most recently in EEI #25 “What kind of War… Science, Defence, and Strategy … and John Boyd.”


Defined by Red Team Journal – “loosely, red teaming is the practice of viewing a problem from an adversary or competitor’s perspective. The goal of most red teams is to enhance decision making, either by specifying the adversary’s preferences and strategies or by simply acting as a devil’s advocate.” For a quick look at red teaming and the writers see About.


A year ago PWH introduced a specially focused “carve-out,” the INTERSECTIONS page, stemming from Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect and his model for gaining understanding, and developing innovative action -the intersection:

Intersectional ideas are those resulting from combining concepts from multiple fields – areas of specialization gained through education and experience – as compared to those created traditionally by combing concepts within a field – noted as directional ideas. Success in intersectional idea generation is dependent upon breaking down barriers of association that would more than likely indicate a “non relationship” or at best limited context between or among fields.

As part of INTERSECTIONS in Training Decision Makers to the ‘Ace’ Level, it was noted that There are two critical elements missing from most current HLS/HLD training programs.  First is the notion of dedicated opposing force and second,  the need to include non-scripted decision making situations.   Most training events and drills are based on availability of resources – both human and physical - necessary for the management of, or the consequences of, a specific disaster type.  As discussed in previous articles, these mostly pre-scripted drills fail to address crisis development, eliminate the Observation and Orientation stages of the Observe Orient Decide Act (OODA) Loop by pre-determining their characteristics, thus eliminating uncertainty, and therefore, bypassing the essential element of critical command thinking.

The question was then asked “Can the “train to the ace level” concept behind Top Gun, Red Flag, National Training Center at Ft Irwin, i.e. the combat training center or “CTC” concept be applied to hyper complex crisis, worst case  disaster command control learning, can ace decision makers be developed?” The following sub-pages continue to address various aspects of this question that include “red team” type functions and capabilities: 

  • II. Training Decision Makers to the ‘Ace’ Level [Part 1]
  • II. [Part 2] Scenarios – To the ‘Ace’ Level
  • II. [Part 3] Methodology – To the ‘Ace’ Level

    These are considered “open/living threads.  PWH target audience will remain oriented at a community “team of leaders” inclusive of not only emergency management and first responders, but also private sector, and citizens, as required for survival of that community when faced with events that  are inherently severely de-stabilizing – marginalizing prior planning and anticipated response structure. Understanding risk – assessment, mitigation, management and the eventual acceptance level is crucial for a resilient community and part of a culture of preparedness.   By way of starting examples these Red Team Journal articles seem most appropriate

    The Defense Science Board Calls for More Red Teaming    “Red teaming as the norm instead of the exception. Secretary of Defense direct the use of red teaming throughout DOD by developing and employing best practice guides, intellectual focus in professional military education, and more aggressive use of red teams in exercises.”

     Interposing Tactics  ” … we are now seeing a new form of granular conflict, where the essence of tactical supremacy is achieved through coordination of multi factor, and multidimensional attacks and defense by individual force elements interposed against each other. … will continue the process of dissolving force elements beyond the individual level to a new level of autonomous actions, which will lead to totally chaotic battles. The winner will be the force composed of individuals who are better at operating in this environment.

    An Introduction to Reciprocal Net Assessment  … good decision making is more than just reacting to threats in time to avoid them; good decision making involves avoiding surprise and creating it. The RNA approach can help analysts and decision makers do both. (and) is useful primarily as a complement to existing methods of red teaming, competitive and intelligence analysis, deception and counterdeception analysis, and business and military wargaming.

     Modeling and Simulation of Red Teaming   This and future position papers will explore possible ways to use M&S to augment or replace traditional red teams in some situations, the features Red Team M&S should possess, how one might connect live and simulated red teams, and existing tools in this domain.

    Please make Red Team Journal part of your “resilient community” reading.

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