Should We Be Thinking Like the Bad Guys?

This is a great article  “Red Teaming Soft Terror Targets”  fits perfectly into our Street Level Red Teaming series on this site. The International Law Enforcement Educators and Training Association just finished up their 2011 conference in Chicago last week and Doug Wyllie picked up on the important concept of red teaming as it relates to terrorism and its usefulness to law enforcement. The course was “Soft Target Awareness Certification” and Doug Wyllie goes on to say the course could easily also have been called, “How Evil Can You Force Your Brain to Be?” It was an all-day session with Kevin Gors of SEAL-MAR Protection Services.

Red teaming or playing the role of our adversaries is an outstanding way to gain insights into not only the mindset  of our adversaries but in to the methods they use in carrying out their operations. Red Teaming helps us apply the lessons from history and current events and truly attempt to understand the approaches that have been used in the past and that have been adapted to the future as well as what new methods may be developed by the vast array of adversaries, terrorist, gangs, criminal enterprises, or individuals who would do violence.

I have developed a training program called Street Level Red Teaming that has been facilitated this in-service year. The workshop involves utilizing tactical decision games were cops play the role of cops and the role of the adversary.  More than 800 law enforcement officers have taken the course through the Municipal Police Training Committee and have found that thinking like an adversary can play a crucial role in their approach to handling dynamic crisis situations. It also helps them in developing appropriate tactics to utilize in an effort to get inside an adversaries decision making cycle, creating more confusion, and disorder in the adversaries mind slowing down adversarial actions and allowing law enforcement to change and set the tempo of an engagement. I am very happy to see others utilizing this important methodology in training.

The Mindset of a Terrorist

For those of you who have seen the videotape of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl being beheaded, the stuff we looked at today makes that look like a Disney movie. This part of the program was not simply to view some gratuitous violence. It was a valuable lesson to help us prepare our minds to think not like the humane, reasonable, people we actually are, but to push our brains to what would otherwise be unimaginable evil.

Now, we all know that cops see some evil stuff on the streets every single day, but it is equally fair to say that there is a significant difference between these two varieties of evil.

“Machines don’t fight wars. Terrain doesn’t fight wars. Humans fight wars. You must get into the minds of humans. That’s where the battles are won.” ~Col. John Boyd

Inside the minds of humans, sadly some of these humans are bad people, criminals and terrorist who would do you and others harm. When Protection professionals don’t keep up with the pace of change, we all suffer. Many of us are not prepared for the Methods our adversaries are using. Our Adversaries are using various methods, human innovation and technology to alter the operational space (material, cyber, social and political). They gather real time individual and collective intelligence to assist them in implementing various tactics including swarming tactics in an effort to disrupt our response system allowing them to dictate the tempo and alter the nature of crime and war. This is not acceptable. We must ready the frontline and develop operational art at a much higher level to deal with these evolving threats. Red teaming can help us in understanding our adversary and the methods they use.

It’s sometimes a useful endeavor to think using the brain of a terrorist — Kevin Gors of SEAL-MAR did a daylong session at ILEETA 2011 demonstrating why

Why? Because for the remainder of the morning and afternoon, we “became terrorists” in an exercise known as Red Teaming — the process of devising, planning, and executing a simulated terrorist attack. The perfection of this type of exercise is widely credited to the aforementioned Marcinko, who has famously “commandeered” a U.S. Navy Ballistic Nuclear Missile Submarine (including the launch codes for the nuclear missiles) near Washington D.C., and “borrowed” at least one — by the way, it was way more than one — so-called “suitcase nukes” from a military installation in California. He did this not to get commanders of those assets fired — he often did have that unintended effect also — but to identify serious security weaknesses in need of improvement.

Be sure to check out the article  'Red Teaming' soft terror targets

Stay Oriented!

Fred