BT, during the Korean War, Col John Boyd, USAF came up with the concept of the OODA loop. This isn't color coding, per se, but it does have some relationship with the concept.
Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.
The idea being that before one can act, one must decide to take action. One can't decide to take action without being oriented to one's situation. One can't be oriented to the situation without being observant in the first place.
So, an observant person has an advantage over a clueless one. An observant person who can put his observations together to create a 3D plot of what is going around him has an advantage over an observant person who doesn't consider what he observes. A decisive person, acting on good information, has an advantage over an indecisive one.
Getting inside the enemy's OODA loop is the concept of acting, then acting again before he can figure out what happened in the first place.
Of course, if you want to go even further back, look at Sun Tzu's points about awareness of self being even more important than awareness of the enemy (though both are critical). Again, not color coding, per se, but very similar.
Sun Tzu also points out that the best victory is the one that occurs without a fight, because the enemy knows he has been outmaneuvered before he can even commence his attack.
So, I guess you could say such notions have been around for over a millennium.