Applying Red Hat Analysis to understand the radicalisation of individuals Georgia Holmer is acting director of the Forum Foundation for Analytic Excellence, whose mission is to promote the effective use of critical thinking skills and structured analytic techniques by teaching, certifying, and applying these skills and techniques to a broad range of enduring and emerging issues. This is a redacted version of a paper she presented at the 2012 ISA conference on how she applied Red Hat Analysis to understand the radicalisation of individuals.
There exists some dissonance between the accepted purpose and method of this analytic technique. Although the method tries to prevent mirror imaging, during role play, one has tap into individual experiential knowledge and empathy. Its value is therefor rooted in gazing directly into a mirror an effective combination of cognition and empathy. Red Hat Analysis could be viewed as a unique employment of both critical and creative faculties; a technique that provides insight into both those motivational factors that are contextually or culturally determined and the more universal psychological drivers that can be discovered through the process of identifying or relating to anotherâ€™s experience. Red Hat Analysis is to help understand individual trajectories of radicalization and involvement in terrorist activity. Red Hat Analysis has been used with some frequency in the Intelligence Community to help predict the decisions and choices of a terrorist group or cell leader. However, the nature of terrorism has changed substantially over the past decade with the emergence of loosely afJune 2012 â€˘ Foreknowledge
filiated networks of self-radicalized individuals. These new models of terrorism lack the traditional organizational structure that involves a centralized leadership or more formal group affiliation. Georgia tweaked the methodology to apply it here as well. 1. Re-define the target. Expand the target application of Red Hat Analysis to reflect modern terrorist activity, and specifically include those individuals who are self-radicalized and carry out attacks independent of formal group affiliation or direction. 2. Require a specific set of experts. Gather analysts to participate in the exercise that include experts on terrorism, individuals with significant cultural and regional experience, specialists in specific radical ideologies, and those with knowledge of the psychological processes of radicalization. 3. Identify a spectrum of scenarios. Ask analysts to generate a range or spectrum of possible trajectories an individual might follow, from disengagement and/or de-radicalization
to direct involvement in violent acts. 4. Require a thorough engagement in role play. Construct a role play exercise that involves a specific trigger or catalyst could lead to a change in the status quo. Have each participant engage in the role play, taking turns as the target, and expanding the list of scenarios or possible trajectories. Consider using the first rule of improvisational theater in which all possibilities are allowed and affirmed during this creative and exploratory stage. Insist that analysts use the first person in their expression. 5. Examine all outcomes. Collect all identified scenarios, collectively consider the likelihood of each, and select those that are most deserving of attention. The goal is to expand an understanding of the possibilities using a structured technique. The hope is that a sufficiently robust number of outcomes have been generated to gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon and avoid future surprise. â—?
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