[ISN] Red Team U. creates critical thinkers

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Sun May 20 2007 - 23:27:53 PDT


By John Milburn
Associated Press Writer
May 18, 2007

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- During World War II, British Field Marshal 
Bernard Montgomery relied upon junior officers to study German Field 
Marshal Irwin Rommel in Africa and Europe, then assess the Allies' 

That idea's modern incarnation is the Red Team University course at Fort 
Leavenworth's University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies. The 
goal is to produce soldiers who don't hesitate to find the flaws in a 
commander's strategies to prevent failed operations and save lives.

Eleven students from the Red Team University graduated Thursday from the 
18-week course. Its curriculum is designed to forge officers who 
anticipate cultural perceptions of U.S. coalition partners, adversaries 
and others and to find vulnerabilities.

In short, they're supposed to think like the "red team" - the enemy - 
and give other officers insight into that thinking. The first class 
graduated in 2006, as the war in Iraq entered its fourth year.

"They learn to escape the gravitational pull of Western military 
thought," said Greg Fontenot, a retired Army colonel and director of Red 
Team University.

Fontenot said the program teaches officers to approach problems and 
solutions from multiple perspectives, including using anthropological 
research about a given population. Students are also taught to work 
independently to help senior military staff find answers they need 
before plans are executed.

Maxie McFarland, deputy chief of staff for intelligence at the Army's 
Training and Doctrine Command, told Thursday's graduates he became 
involved in red team concepts when he was with the 2nd Armored Division 
in the 1990s, when it was understaffed and lacked proper equipment.

"In order to win, it wasn't about the technology, and it wasn't about 
the planning. It was the ability to outthink the opponent and get inside 
his head," McFarland said.

The Red Team program also fits with the military's new counterinsurgency 
strategy, jointly developed by the Army and Marines at Fort Leavenworth 
under the direction of Gen. David Petraeus, now the top commander of 
U.S. forces in Iraq.

But instructors note that Red Team graduates and their skills have wider 
application than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You don't know where you are going next," said Steve Rotkoff, a retired 
Army colonel.

The concept isn't new, of course. Montgomery tried to anticipate 
Rommel's tactics, just as Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee seemed to have 
the ability to guess what his Union counterparts would do during the 
Civil War.

Red and blue teams have been part of U.S. military training for years. 
Forces preparing for battle - the blue team - develop plans for 
exercises, while the opponent - the red team - attempts to counter those 
efforts by defending a position or disrupting operations.

But those traditional exercises were incomplete, McFarland said, because 
they were scripted according to the blue team's plans, without allowing 
the red team to alter its strategy and influence the blue team's 
tactics. Giving the red team a more active role gives a more critical 
mind-set to such exercises.

Susan Craig, a graduate of the first Red Team class, is now an analyst 
with the Joint Intelligence Operations Center at the U.S. Pacific 
Command. She wrote in a recent edition of Military Review that part of 
red team training is learning to ask good questions of those making 
decisions and to think outside one's own culture.

"We had to examine our most closely held beliefs and assumptions and 
fundamentally transform the way we think," she wrote.


On the Net:

Fort Leavenworth: http://www.leavenworth.army.mil

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command: 

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