Red Team

ISSP offers two Red Team simulations each year (fall and spring) for students concentrating in International Security Studies. Red Teaming is a cognitive approach to framing problems and planning using structured analytical tools that help individuals and teams ask good questions, expose and challenge assumptions, identify information gaps, and develop creative alternatives. The intent is to improve group understanding, develop a more diverse set of options, and mitigate individual and group biases that are inherent in problem solving and decision making.

Red Team tools were developed as a direct outgrowth of military lessons learned in the wake of mistakes made in the early years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The tools and methods are designed to help organizations ask better questions and develop creative solutions that take into account and mitigate organizational preferences, and individual and small group biases. A number of military and corporate entities have requested red team analysis including the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, NATO Headquarters, U.S. Strategic Command, as well as Verizon, Google, and Chevron.

Colonel (retired) Steve Rotkoff, the former director of the U.S. Army’s “Red Team University” at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Ms. Whitney Hischer, Lecturer in strategy, entrepreneurship, and scenario planning at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, serve as facilitators for “Red Team Thinking”.

In AY2023-2024, participants will apply Red Team concepts to a scenario in which Russia uses a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine and the blast results in unintended effects in Poland. Such a scenario will familiarize students with the implications and consequences of nuclear use, as well as the policy options considered by nuclear and non-nuclear state actors and non-state actors. Students will participate on one of four teams (NATO, China, India, and the UN Secretary General) to develop a strategic approach for how to respond to Russia’s nuclear attack.