Running head: SOCIAL THEORY AND RED TEAMING
Social Theory and Red Teaming: An integrative approach.
SOCIAL THEORY AND RED TEAMING
That which cannot be believed will not be seen (Dekker, 2011, p. 97).
Red Teaming, or Alternative Analysis, is not a new or revolutionary concept to military
planners and leaders. The process has been around for centuries, arguably dating back to the
first game of chess (Syed, 2015). Red Teaming is a process that raises security awareness by
challenging assumptions, vulnerabilities, and risks within a planning process (Masys, 2012). As a
result there has been a significant amount of research done lately on the topic. The goal of the
body of this research is to improve the Red Team itself, through its processes or perspective.
The recent research has demonstrated the need for expanding methodology
from purely analytical processes to include psychological processes including
Neutrosophic Cognitive Mapping (NCM), mental model framing with advanced scenario
planning (Masys, 2012), and identity theory approaches for threatscaping activities of
Red Team members (List, 2015; Matherly 2013). These approaches have been largely
exploratory demonstrating the potential applicability of identity theory to Red Teaming
methodology based on published Alternative Analysis guides (List, 2015; Matherly 2013;
Rao 2010). The need to challenge current analytical techniques (Rao, 2010), define social
identity’s role in threatscaping (List, 2015; Masys, 2012), and apply it in analysis
(Matherly, 2013; Masys, 2012) has been noted as needed areas of further study.
Group formation and synergistic effects are the focus of considerable
research in the business and organization leadership communities. Yet, a
review of current Red Teaming literature finds no discussion on the subject. To
address the gap in literature this paper will examine the unit’s Red Teaming
efforts through the application of social motivational and development theories.
SOCIAL THEORY AND RED TEAMING
The basis of this research is found on the formation and execution of a Red Team during a
major military event from a social psychological perspective. The Red Team served in an advising
role to a component commander within their operational headquarters while assigned abroad.
The unit in question is a very rank conscious, high tempo, command level unit. It consists of tens
of thousands of troops whose rank range from General officers with decades of service down to
Privates with only weeks in the military. There are generally 5 to 6 departments with specific titles
that provide services that range from kinetic operations (G3, fires) to legal and humanitarian
operations (Special Staff), each containing a diverse mix of individuals.
The exact tasks the team undertook and their products are immaterial to this research. What is
critical are the social processes and events that occurred throughout the team’s formation and
operation. For reasons involving security and confidentiality of those involved specifics that are not
critical to the Team’s development and productivity, have been left out of the account or simplified.
The goal of this research is to understand and improve the social processes that arose from the
formation and execution of a Red Team in the unit described above.
The purpose of this research is to apply social theory to the Unit to better
understand how group and intraindividual processes not only shapes the roles of Red
Teaming, but also offer methodological practices that could aid in overcoming these
limits. This research will address two specific questions. First, how do group and
intraindividual processes shape the roles of Red Teaming in the observed military
community? And conclude with, how can the same aid in overcoming these limits?
The social stressors felt by members of a Red Team are many. Increased stress can
negatively affect group formation and performance (Hunziker et al., 2011). This applies to