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Home  >  Topics  >  Officer Safety

December 26, 2011
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Fred Leland Staying Oriented
with Fred Leland

Street-level Red Teaming: Assessing the situation from the adversarial point of view

Red Teaming is an approach to understanding our adversary and the methods they use. Red Teaming — 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.

“A deeper understanding of each group’s unique “mindset” (ideology, strategic agenda, leadership) and operational behaviors (operational capabilities, modus operandi, targeting preferences) can enable a more precise and advantageous assessment of not simply what the group is capable of attacking, but what the group wants/intends to attack, as well as how the group is likely to conduct operations.”

John Sullivan and Adam Elkus have teamed on numerous pieces I feel are very helpful to law enforcement and private sector security becoming more effective in dealing with both conventional and unconventional threats. Adaptive Red Teaming: Protecting Across the Spectrum is another must read article that will help in detecting, deterring, disrupting and preventing violence.

Adaptive red teaming, however, is a crucial element of any protective plan. Red teaming test and challenges existing security paradigms and analytical red teaming can discover vulnerabilities in the way we conceptualize the security problem and point out new possibilities.

Kill Chains and Order of Battle two key elements in our efforts to prevent violence. My belief is in developing an understanding of Kill Chains and order of battle we can begin to make better assessments. Both on the fly on the street from call to call where time is short and risk is high and in those situations where more time is available to make a more explicit assessment.

“As an analytical device, the kill chain can be generalized across the spectrum. ...the basic kill chain model is the process of assembling weapons and personnel in place, conducting reconnaissance and dry run, and then carrying out the act itself.”

We can use the kill chain and order of battle concept to make more successful assessments because we have a better understanding of how events unfold. We can use this methodology in car stops, disturbance calls, arrest situations, warrant service, and a variety of other situations. We can use it in our development of community crime prevention efforts and more. Learning to focus, not only on our own goals and objectives as law enforcement and security professionals but Instead, we must adapt and understand that our adversary’s intent and motives, their plans and objectives are part of the equations as well. Only then can we truly protect across the full spectrum of problems and threats we face.

“In a civil or homeland security context, utilizing order of battles derived from historical, open source, and covert intelligence data can help an analyst or decision maker mentally visualize the enemy and the enemies attack concepts.”

Think officers killed in the line of duty, school shooters, domestic violence offenders, workplace violence studies and their usefulness to our efforts to curtail violence. Why do we conduct critiques and after action Reviews of incidents we respond to? Do your AARs focus only on your own tactical lessons learned or do they go deeper and also include thoughts on adversarial planning, tactical maneuvers, techniques and mindset as well? If more of these events are studied and we apply the lessons learned, we would be much more effective at or jobs.

In short red teaming works to better us individually and organizationally. It’s time we dig a little deeper and work a little bit harder to outpace our adversaries instead of only responding in the aftermath. Red teaming is concept law enforcement and security should know and practice consistently. We can do it through using tactical decision making games and free play exercises as well as after action reviews. These training exercises help condition us to think “full spectrum” so we make better decisions under pressure.

In our business, as Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometime thing — it’s and all the time thing.”

Winning is a habit so let’s change ours and train to make a difference!

Stay Oriented!


About the author

Fred T. Leland, Jr. is the Founder and Principal Trainer of LESC: Law Enforcement & Security Consulting (www.lesc.net). In addition to his work with LESC, Fred Leland is an active Lieutenant with the Walpole (Mass.) Police Department. He previously worked as a deputy with the Charlotte County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department and before that spent six years with the United States Marines, including as a squad leader in Beirut, Lebanon.

Leland is an accomplished trainer with more than 28 years experience teaching law enforcement, military, and security professionals. His programs of instruction include handling dynamic encounters; threat assessment; non-verbal communications; decision making under pressure; evolving threats; violence prevention; firearms; use of force; officer created jeopardy and adaptive leadership. He is also a 2004 graduate of the FBI National Academy Class 216, and a current instructor for the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee. Outcomes based training and education (OBTE) is his approach to creating and nurturing decision makers to observe, orient, decide, and act while considering consequences.

Contact Fred Leland





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