Sunday, April 12, 2009

The "Red Team": Forging A Well-Conceived Contigency Plan

By Col. Timothy G. Malone and Maj. Reagan E. Schaupp
Aerospace Power Journal
Summer, 2002

Author's Note: Due to the article's length, only the most relevant information for our class was summarized.

Throughout the article, the authors provide two separate definitions for red teaming. Although the definitions are similar, they are also different (which is somewhat puzzling). I synthesized the two definitions and came up with this: a red team is a group of subject-matter experts with appropriate backgrounds that provide an independent review of processes and products using devil’s advocacy and knowledgeable role-playing of the enemy. The red team assesses planning decisions, assumptions, and courses of action from the perspective of friendly and enemy organizations.

The authors acknowledge that the concept of red teaming is far from new. Government, military, and civilian circles have all used red teaming in a variety of contexts. In government circles, it normally is associated with assessing the vulnerabilities of systems or structures, especially within the warfare arena. In the business world, red teaming usually refers to a peer review of a concept or proposal.

If conducted effectively, red teaming can produce more complete analysis at all phases and deliver a better plan of operations for the decision-maker. Effective red teams can pinpoint planning shortfalls, deviations from doctrine, reveal overlooked opportunities, and extrapolate unanticipated strategic implications. Additionally, red teaming can also determine whether the required task is understood or whether further guidance is needed.

Because a red team will conduct a comprehensive review planning products and processes, the selection of team members is critical. Red team members must have credibility, which comes only with expertise and experience. If some red team members blatantly fall short of this prerequisite, their counterparts will be skeptical of any insights they claim to have about the operation. The timing of red teaming events can play a crucial role in planning success. Ideally, the commander should form a red team as early in the planning effort as possible.
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1 comment:

  1. What do you think some of the pitfalls of forming a red team late in the game are?