Monday, September 29, 2014

Summary of Findings: Red Teaming (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Summary of Findings: Red Teaming (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the 5 articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in September 2014  regarding Red Teaming specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.

Read Teaming is an alternative analysis technique that challenges assumptions to better understand adversarial perspectives and identify vulnerabilities within the organization’s plans, operations, and capabilities. Depending on application, Red Teaming can be a forecasting method or analytic force multiplier. The technique’s peer review process identifies unexpected scenarios and identifies potential strategic surprises or unintended consequences of a course of action. Red Teaming provides a structured platform for communicating internal critical analyses from a team assigned to the opposing force and examines how an adversary may evaluate organization’s capabilities in an operational context.

1.  Helps to identify different outcomes of highly complex scenarios
2. Encourages “Out of the box” thinking that may not have been produced before
3. Trains both red and blue teams to think like adversaries and how they would act.  Participants usually attest to learning more about the situation of interest
4. Commonly used methodology in military, national security, private, and law enforcement sectors

1. Little to no empirical evidence that proves Red Teaming improves forecasting accuracy
2.  Without a clearly physical conflict, it is difficult to distinguish Red Team analysis from Devil’s Advocacy
3.  Difficult to quantify the outcomes red team analysis produces
4. Red team needs to have a team of highly trained members in the adversary's tactics and ideology
5. Both teams must take the exercise seriously in order for the outcome to be valid

Step by Step:  
Note: There is no agreed upon step by step action to complete a red teaming exercise. This step by step process was identified as a common one across different Red Team scenarios:
  1. A group of individuals must be assembled to complete a red teaming exercise.
  2. The group begins by splitting up into two groups- a red team (opposing force) and a blue team (friendly force).
  3. The two different groups independently examine the different threats, projections, or emulations.  
  4. The groups explain the points of view from enemies, partners, and allies.
  5. The groups then identify strategies for how to address the threats
  6. In the end, the group can use this exercise as a modifier or a method to bolster forecasting abilities.

Details of the exercise:
  • Divide the group into two teams
  • Be sure that the teams are separate from each other so they cannot hear each other
  • The objective for each group is to finish the activity with a positive score
  • The activity is played over 10 rounds with each round lasting 30 seconds
  • During each round each team picks either red or blue
  • A score is then given to the teams depending on their responses
    • Scenario 1: Team 1: Red, Team 2: Red
      • Team 1: +3, Team 2: +3
    • Scenario 2: Team 1: Red, Team 2: Blue
      • Team 1: -6, Team 2: +6
    • Scenario 3: Team 1: Blue, Team 2: Red
      • Team 1: +6, Team 2: -6
    • Scenario 4: Team 1: Blue, Team 2: Blue
      • Team 1: -3, Team 2: -3
  • After Round 5 an inter-group meeting between a member of each team takes place. During this meeting, strategies and plans are discussed
  • Rounds 9 & 10 scores are doubled
  • Total the scores of both teams. The team with the greatest POSITIVE score is the winner

What did we learn from the Red Teaming Exercise

  • Due to the constraints of the exercise, teams felt limited in their decision making
  • Teams felt there was not a possibility to finish with a positive score, so they instead made sure the opposing team did not finish with a positive score
  • Participants of the exercise claimed they attempted to think like their opponent when  making their decisions
  • Participants claimed that the lack of an incentive limited the exercise

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