Counter-Terrorism: October 20, 2004

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The U.S. Navy is operating a project called "Deep Blue" out of the Office of Naval Research, to conduct "surrogate adversary analyses" gaming out what terrorists might do in the future. First formed in 2001, Deep Blue gained additional urgency after two sailors and a Coast Guard member were killed in an April terrorist attack against an Iraqi oil platform. Initially charged with providing useful anti-terrorist technologies to the fleet, the twelve person Deep Blue team will now incorporate a "red team" approach using collected intelligence along with "operators" Special Forces personnel to figure out and predict terrorist tactics.

Deep Blue is not the first time the Navy has put together a "red team" of mock terrorist to test and improve security measures around the globe. In the 1980s, a senior admiral ordered the creation of a small secret team called "Red Cell." Staffed mostly by Navy SEALs, Red Cell traveled the globe to test the Navy's anti-terrorist capabilities. During its short but colorful run, Red Cell infiltrated U.S. military bases, weapons storage areas, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and other "secure areas," including Air Force One. Red Cell would kidnap and "assassinate" senior navy officials, take "hostages," and plant simulated explosive devices, rarely failing in its task of creating havoc. Red Cell's aggressive tactics and abrasive commander ultimately made too many enemies among senior commanders, ultimately leading to its dissolution in the late '80s. Doug Mohney

 


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