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CEHC to Launch Center for Advanced Red Teaming (CART) This Semester

CART is the First Research and Education Center of its Kind

UAlbany’s National Center for Security and Preparedness routinely hosts active shooter training for first responders at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany, N.Y. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Tuesday, Oct. 8) – Historically, independent “red team” groups have been used by the U.S. military to test how well our armed forces can withstand attacks from adversaries. But, today, the tactic is evolving, with red teams using their skills and expertise to understand adversarial behavior and test security personnel in a wide range of public and private industries around the globe.

Despite its growth in popularity, both the science and art of red teaming remains underdeveloped, according to College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) Associate Professor Gary Ackerman.

Ackerman, along with his colleague, CEHC Assistant Professor Brandon Behlendorf, are launching the Center for Advanced Red Teaming (CART) at UAlbany this semester to change that.

“Currently, there is almost no rigorous research into how red teaming is best conducted and no accredited academic training or education programs focused on the topic. CART will address this glaring need, making it the first center of its kind in the nation,” Ackerman said.

“Red teaming has long been practiced, especially in the military. However, in today’s digital world, with new types of adversaries, novel attacks and complicated, interdependent systems, red teaming plays an important role beyond its origins,” Behlendorf added. “The demand for these exercises is increasing and we want to be at the forefront of research and education to help it evolve.”

With CEHC’s support, Ackerman and Behlendorf have outlined a number of broad goals and strategies for the new center, separating them into three components: service/research, education and outreach.

CART’s specific goals include:

  • Employing interdisciplinary research and analysis techniques to advance the art and science of red teaming in support of national security, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness.
  • Serving as the locus for a joint scholarly and practitioner community, including acting as a clearinghouse for red teaming best practices and as an advocate for scientific approaches to red teaming.
  • Educating and training the next generation of red teaming practitioners, emphasizing the strengths that diversity brings to the red teaming enterprise.
  • Facilitating the recognition and implementation of red team results into defense policy and practice.
Photo of TSA security check at Albany International Airport.

The use of red teaming has evolved to test security personnel in a wide range of industries. (Photo by Brian Busher)

Outside of CEHC, and the practitioner community, CART will provide education, research and experiential learning opportunities to students from a variety of disciplines including political science, psychology, public health, geography and cybersecurity.

CART will also work closely with CEHC’s National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP), which leverages training, exercises, policy development and applied research to drive change.

“CART’s cutting-edge approach brings a new dynamic to the way we bridge academia and practice in the homeland security field,” said NCSP Interim Director Jayson Kratoville. “Our combined capabilities raise the bar for mobilizing new ideas, tactics and technologies to help keep our communities safe.”

Lastly, the Center will tap into CEHC’s diverse faculty expertise – many of whom bring experience outside of academia – for insight on red teaming and related areas such as gaming and simulation.

“It is our mission at CEHC to make a difference by bringing together the people, technology, and knowledge to address today’s challenges,” said CEHC Dean Robert Griffin. “Through CART, we’re excited to not only address the unequivocal need for more practice and understanding of red teaming, but also to train the next generation of leaders in this growing security profession.”

CART will officially launch next month, on Wednesday, Nov. 6, through a kickoff event in Washington, D.C. with the CEHC community, federal agency partners and industry representatives. You can learn more by contacting CART at CART@albany.edu.

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