The Red Teamer Sniper

This was sent by SL. He is a retired Army sniper with 4 deployments to AFG.

The last time you guys were around, I remember sitting in the intel shop and hearing you go through some ideas with G, the intel guy.
Some of the "bad guy" mentality concepts really resonated with me, being a sniper.

Snipers typically have a closer, more reach-out-and-touch connection with their targets than, say, a fighter pilot. Snipers are trained to undertake different types of missions, of which stalking and ultimately killing a target is one of them. Sometimes you really need to study your enemy and apply that "bad guy" mentality idea you were talking about. Being so connected with the target creates a much closer human connection than in any other part of the armed forces. Being able to understand what the targets do, and why, is a very different experience, leading to better kill or don’t-kill choices. Yes, I think understanding the enemy in that unique way a red team is trying to, would be very beneficial to snipers. There are a great many variables that need to be taken into account before you decide to squeeze the trigger. That's for sure.

But I think the other types of missions are the ones that would benefit the most from this type of mentality. Snipers are also trained as reconnaissance assets for the units their are attached to. So we essentially could sneak in, observe the enemy and report back, unnoticed. Snipers also receive training in counter-sniper operations. Those are the scariest ones, in my opinion. You are going against another sniper, another person that is supposedly trained like you.
In the reconnaissance operations it is very clear why the "bad guy" meltality could be useful. It helps understand the enemy and ultimately we can report back to the chain also our assessment of the situation. A useful thing to have. However, it is during the counter-sniper operations that I think this kind of mentality is crucial.

You learn to develop the ability to locate enemy snipers and threats on your area of operations. We must be able to imagine what the other sniper would do, get into position and think like the enemy, like the bad guy. We work sometimes with some of the soldiers, in the units we are attached to, to pay attention to small details and track a target. Nothing goes unnoticed. Imagine now if you were trained to think like the enemy. Try to think one or two steps ahead and see what he would possibly do. It's a dangeroud game, but you can help save lives.

All this really got me fired-up. And after you guys presented the findings, I convinced the Captain to let the sniper team train and form its own red team when we rotated back. We have been doing this for the past few months. It's challenging and frustrating, but we have a lot of patience and it's already showing some good.

The red team mentality, or ideas, is a valuable tool to have.

Take care and come visit when you are around.