Monday, April 13, 2009

To Battle Groupthink, the Army Trains a Skeptics Corps


This article describes how the U.S. Army is training a group of officers to be skeptical of the current thinking in the military. The Red Team officers train at Fort Leavenworth's University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies. The program there has earned the nickname "Red Team University." The biggest challenge for Red Teamers is overcoming the stigma that their job is merely to try to war game and second guess operations planning. Graduates of the program were denied security badges on their first deployment to Iraq because soldiers were afraid they would hack into data bases for war gaming purposes. The commander of the first team in Iraq describes the akward feeling of having to always disagree with the group. The article goes on to explain how constant skepticism goes against basic military culture. When a leader is put in command it is important for the troops to have full confidence in him. Therefore it is important for Red Team members to know the time and place to question operational planning. Pushing too hard can hold up the decision making process, and further stigmatize the Red Team as obstructionists.

Another up-hill battle the Red Team faces is that most of them are from the Texas National Guard. This results in another stigma of them being part-time soldiers and therefore not qualified to second guess decisions of full time professional soldiers.

1 comment:

  1. Do you get the impression that red teaming for use in military operations is more successful at the strategic, operational, or functional level?