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See It Like Jones Would: Too Little Too Soon

We’ve all heard about the “too little too late” pitfall. Jones reminds us that “too little too soon” can also become a problem.
      In his postscript to the legendary “Battle of the Beams,” Jones noted the following: “Luckily for us the Germans made the classic military mistake, which we were later to repeat, of trying out devices on a small operational scale before depending on them for major efforts. It was only for this reason that I was able to unravel the beam systems in the nick of time.”1
      Why should red teamers care? First, Jones notes in the same section that his ability to posit enemy systems prior to their actual exposure allowed him to know what to look for. This is very much a red teaming function. The fact that the Germans deployed the system on a limited scale simply allowed Jones to confirm his suspicions and prepare the British countermeasures “in the nick of time.” Second, red teams should understand the time value of a vulnerability, exploit, or stratagem from the perspective of both the attacker and the defender. While it’s difficult to reduce the multilevel perceptual interactions to a formula, the superior red team is at the very least aware of the challenge.

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  1. Jones, Most Secret War, p. 180. []