Publisher: Jeffrey Frank Jones
Why Red Teaming? The premise of the program at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies (UFMCS) is that people and organizations court failure in predictable ways, that they do so by degrees, almost imperceptibly, and that they do so according to their mindsets, biases, and experience, which are formed in large part by their own culture and context. The sources of these failures are simple, observable, and lamentably, often repeated. They are also preventable, and that is the point of ‘red teaming’. Our methods and education involve more than Socratic discussion and brainstorming. We believe that good decision processes are essential to good outcomes. To that end, our curriculum is rich in divergent processes, red teaming tools, and liberating structures, all aimed at decision support. We educate people to develop a disposition of curiosity, and help them become aware of biases and behavior that prevent them from real positive change in the ways they seek solutions and engage others. We borrow techniques, methods, frameworks, concepts, and best practices from several sources and disciplines to create an education, and practical applications, that we find to be the best safeguard against individual and organizational tendencies toward biases, errors in cognition, and groupthink. Red teaming is diagnostic, preventative, and corrective; yet it is neither predictive or a solution. Our goal is to be better prepared and less surprised in dealing with complexity. What is Red Teaming? Red teaming is a function that provides commanders an independent capability to fully explore alternatives in plans, operations, concepts, organizations and capabilities in the context of the operational environment (OE) and from the perspectives of partners, adversaries and others. A Red Team performs three general types of tasks: - Support to operations, planning, and decision support - Critical review and analysis of already-existing plans - Intelligence support (Threat Emulation) (UFMCS provides education for the first two tasks; TRADOC’s Intelligence School and Center provides education on the third.) In order for a Red Team to effectively contribute to decision making all of the following elements are required: • The ability to think critically about the problem. While this may seem obvious, the reality is that critical thinking is a skill set that requires training, education and tools. The Army assimilates people from different backgrounds across the nation. One of the drawbacks of that assimilation is our military tendency to reflect the same biases and perspectives. We pride ourselves in common values—which while ingrained in the Army culture are not universal outside of that culture. • Thinking critically and challenging the group is an unnatural act for military staffs. Doing so effectively requires tools and methods that enable leaders to see different perspectives. • Red Teams require top cover to be allowed to challenge the conventional wisdom and the organization’s leaders. No matter the quality of the Red Team or the methods they employ, dictatorial or toxic leaders are incompatible with successful red teaming. • Red teaming is not easy, and not everyone can do it. Red Teamers must be effective written and oral communicators. They must have credibility in the area in which they are providing red teaming insights. They must be able to constructively challenge the plan. This means focusing on what is truly important, able to explain why it is being challenged and offering some alternative ways to think about the problem.