“Red team” is security lingo for a group or organization whose sole job is to test and penetrate your defenses.
A red team assesses security weaknesses by pretending to be a ruthless enemy.
Team members ignore all the rules as well as any ethical or moral guidelines as they analyze defenses and decide how to infiltrate them. Their purpose is to breach security by thinking like a criminal, a terrorist or a spy.
Red teams are so important that they’re used extensively by the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. Around the world, you can also find red teams checking out the security around corporations and organizations as well as foreign governments and armed services.
Members of the red team know how to find what doesn’t work in a defense, and they know how to figure out how to exploit those weaknesses. They’re experts at poking holes in the assumptions, concepts, and logic upon which security systems are based.
They think outside the box to prevent mistakes that could not only be very costly but also deadly.
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As a concerned citizen, you can benefit tremendously from applying the red team concept to your own personal safety. No matter how physically fit you are. No matter how well-trained you might be at self-defense. And no matter how mentally tough you are. The red team concept can enhance your safety by mitigating future problems.
For example, let’s say you had a self-defense class or two and you feel confident that what you learned is applicable to most situations you will come across. One day you are out and about shopping at the supermarket and you are browsing the fruit and vegetable aisles.
While looking over the peaches, you accidentally bump into a man next to you. You apologize thinking it’s nothing but he gives you a cold, hard stare. You ignore it and continue on your way shopping.
After checking out, you head to your vehicle. As you put the packages into the car, you see the same man that you bumped standing several feet from you now.
The man seems different. You can’t quite place it, but you know by his body language and the words coming out of his mouth that he is aggressive and perhaps even has a propensity for violence.
|Always plan for the worst-case scenario.|
Seemingly out of nowhere the man is on you and you are now in a serious situation. He is pushing you hard and suddenly pulls out a knife that was concealed behind his back. Your heart rate is through the ceiling and you are breathing hard. You are having problems thinking and those self-defense classes seem to have faded into oblivion…
Here is why I like red teaming. It can be applied to situations such as this one and to many other situations where your safety is threatened.
What you do in this situation and other violent situations will largely depend upon your education, training and experience.
By employing the red team concept, you can determine any weaknesses and flaws that may exist in your personal security plan. Then you can correct them before a real serious threat presents itself – and it’s too late.
There Are Two Ways to Apply
The Red Team Concept to Your Personal Safety
In the first, gather one or more of your family members or your trusted friends to act as your personal red team. It is always best to have more than one person on your team. Choose the smartest people possible.
In the second, you do it yourself. This is harder because you must pick yourself apart to find the weak links. For many people this is difficult because their pride and their unconscious insecurity won’t let them admit how poorly prepared they are for violence.
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The 5 Stages of Red Teaming
The first stage of “red teaming” is RECONNAISSANCE. This is when the red team watches and observes the target. They study all aspects of the target’s body and mind, including his or her movements, habits, schedules, routes. They study how the subject handles life in general, including analyzing how well the subject makes decisions. They study how the subject handles physical challenges, including self-defense class, target shooting at a range, or simple exercises. They gather information so they can use it to plan an “attack” on the target.
The second stage is COLLECTIVE SOCIAL. In this stage, the red team gathers information on the target’s family and friends. They will look at personal habits, hobbies, schedules, and routes. They will even examine the subject’s social media accounts. They may socialize with your spouse, children, friends, relatives and neighbors. Anybody who can give them valuable information to use against you.
The third stage is PLANNING. This is where the red team analyzes all the data it has collected to determine how to take advantage of any and all weaknesses in your security profile.
In the fourth stage, the red team will ATTACK. In your case, this could be as simple as the red team setting up mock situations to test you. You could be aware of the “attack” to test your responses. Or your team could surprise you to test your reactions. In any case, this is where the red team breaches your defenses based on the information they collected.
The fifth stage is ESCAPE. They must try to get away, which also tests your reactions.
Key Factors to Keep in Mind
For Both the Red Team and the Target
- Plans with many parts are hard to change. The environments in which you all live, work and play are always changing. Your plan must be adaptive, that is it must be easy to adjust as things change.
- Keep it simple. Wherever you are with your personal safety and security, keep it simple so that you can execute it if and when the time comes. If for example you learned 19 ways to defend against someone choking you, then you will likely be unable to perform even one of them because you won’t be able to choose from the 19 in the seconds you have during the attack. So focus on only one or two of the most effective methods.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses and figure out how to use them to gain an advantage.
- Find out how you will perform under stress. This should only be done under the guidance of a professional trainer or instructor.
- Plan for worst-case-scenarios. Nothing in life ever goes exactly the way we want it too. Plan in advance for every contingency you can think of. Seek out “a devil’s advocate” to evaluate everything that can go wrong with your plan.
In today’s world, when it comes to your personal safety and security, you’re playing a high stakes game so you must take it very seriously. By applying the red team strategy to your own personal welfare, you can avert risks, mitigate threats, make faster and better decisions – and stay safe!
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!
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