What’s in a name?
Our name, “Reciprocal Strategies,” highlights the reciprocity inherent in security, war, and strategy—a concept captured nicely by Michael Handel in his book Masters of War: “[P]erceiving the nature of a war is a reciprocal and dialectic process in which it is important to consider how one side’s perspectives and actions affect the other side’s actions and reactions.” (94–95)
All too often, security professionals—running from one crisis to the next—lack the time to contemplate the full implications of reciprocity. As time permits, pentesting, threat analysis, and red teaming can help, although a security team needs to engage in more than these to understand and manage the full reciprocal system.
Interestingly enough, “reciprocal” also characterizes the nature of complex systems, as Sidney Dekker tells us in The Safety Anarchist: “Complex systems have no central authority . . . but are grown through reciprocal self-organization.” (xiii)
Our mission is to help you understand, manage, and protect the whole reciprocal system, which includes not just your adversaries but also all the stakeholders, constraints, perspectives, trade-offs, and interactions that influence the outcomes of your security investments and choices.
It all started 20 years ago
Dr. Mark Mateski launched Reciprocal Strategies, LLC in 2018 with the aim of expanding the work he began with the founding of Red Team Journal (RTJ). When he launched RTJ in 1997, only a handful of organizations practiced systematic red teaming, and red teamers lacked a sense of focus community and community. Mark’s goal was to change that, an effort that has proved largely successful. In 2015, for example, author Micah Zenko noted in his book Red Team that RTJ “still serves as the best open-source repository for helpful hints and emerging practices in the field.” (215)
With Reciprocal Strategies, Mark brings to security clients his knowledge not just of how red teaming works but also of how to build on current red teaming practices to better model and manage the highly complex, fully reciprocal security environment.
About Dr. Mark Mateski
As both an analyst and manager at a number of defense and security organizations, Mark has directed assessments, wargames, and conferences covering a broad range of topics, from critical infrastructure protection to future military operations. For nearly a decade, he taught systems engineering and analysis at The George Washington University.
For over two decades he has been a thought leader in the red teaming community, where he helped pioneer the application of systems engineering principles, techniques, and tools to the practice of red teaming. According to Micah Zenko in his 2015 book, Mark “has done more to honestly evaluate and responsibly promote red teaming than anyone.” You can hear Mark discuss his philosophy of red teaming on podcasts here and here.