Event security planning: Why police need a red team mindset

Assigning a large number of cops to a high-profile event isn’t enough to counter realistic threats these days; we must pre-plan such events with a “red team” mindset


The "Red Team" concept is a strategy military and intelligence organizations use to break away from institutional "group think" to try to see a mission from an adversary's point of view. This can help predict the enemy's most likely avenue of attack, and therefore give us insight into the best defense. This article is an example of how to reverse "red team" an incident as part of an after-action analysis. It also illustrates how you can do a pre-incident analysis to predict the primary locations you need to either secure or cover with counter sniper fire when planning the security and response aspects of a major upcoming event in your community.

My daughter is an archaeologist specializing in Egyptian studies. She would tell you that “denial” is a river in Egypt. Her old man, on the other hand, thinks denial is the comfort zone of far too many police administrators today.

These administrators can’t accept the fact that our world is descending rapidly into chaos. Cops were slaughtered by a man with a rifle in Dallas in 2016 while they were protecting a Black Lives Matter march. In October 2017 in Las Vegas nearly 600 innocent country music fans were cut down by a rifle-armed madman from the 32nd floor of a hotel almost a quarter mile away. But many police administrators live in denial that such an event could ever happen in their jurisdiction.

Assigning a large number of cops to a high-profile event, even rapid deployment or SWAT teams, isn’t enough to counter realistic threats these days. We must pre-plan such events with a “red team” mindset; if someone wants to hurt a lot of people at this event, how could they do it? If you leave out the possibility of a rifle-armed attacker firing from an elevated perch, you’d better wake up – NOW!

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