Military theories[ edit ] During the early s, Boyd, together with Thomas Christie , a civilian mathematician, created the Energy-Maneuverability theory , or E-M theory of aerial combat. A legendary maverick by reputation, Boyd was said to have stolen the computer time to do the millions of calculations necessary to prove the theory,  though a later audit found that all computer time at the facility was properly billed to recognized projects and that no irregularity could be prosecuted. E-M theory became the world standard for the design of fighter aircraft. His work helped save the project from being a costly dud, even though its final product was larger and heavier than he desired. However, cancellation of that tour in Vietnam meant that Boyd would be one of the most important air-to-air combat strategists with no combat kills. He had only flown a few missions in the last months of the Korean War — , and all of them as a wingman.
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A chilly rain and cloudy skies saw a crowd bundled in winter coats hurrying into the chapel. Full military honors including an honor guard, band, rifle squad, and flag-draped caisson drawn by six gray horses were provided. He was more than just a great stick-and-rudder man, though; he was a strategist. E-M Theory would revolutionize the way air-to-air combat was taught and fighter planes were designed around the world. In the early s, he was the spiritual leader of the Military Reform Movement, a guerilla movement within the military which sought to reform the cultural of careerism and waste in the armed forces.
In the late 70s, he retired from the Air Force and went into a self-imposed exile studying philosophy, science, military history, psychology, and a dozen other seemingly unrelated fields. Moving from warrior to intellectual, he worked to synthesize what he learned from all these domains to answer the question: How do individuals and organizations win in an uncertain environment? You observe that you are hungry.
You decide to go to Chick-Fil-A. The OODA loop is often seen as a decision making model, but can be more accurately described as a model of individual and organizational learning and adaptation. However, much of what he did was either highly classified or not written down. Because the military is an oral culture, he left very few published papers, making him difficult for academics to study. Their ideas challenge some of our most fundamental assumptions about how to win.
On a grassy slope, the cortege halted around grave site number 3, A Marine colonel, wearing the ribbons and decorations of a man who had spent a career fighting around the world, took a Marine Corps insignia, the eagle globe and anchor, from his pocket.
The young Marine lieutenants in the crowd snapped to attention. Placing the Marine Corps insignia on a grave is the highest honor a marine can bestow. It is rarely seen even at the funerals of decorated combat marines.
This was likely the first time in history an Air Force pilot ever received the honor. John Boyd was the greatest military strategist of the 20th century. For those who have studied his theories, Boyd is tossed around in the same sentences as Sun Tzu and Carl Von Clausewitz. Napoleon was the greatest general that Europe had seen in centuries. He was the first general since Genghis Khan who stood a legitimate chance at sweeping every European nation under his banner. Because of his success, his style dramatically altered the way war was fought for the next century and a half.
Prior to Napoleon, most of the great generals had employed maneuver warfare. Maneuver warfare was defined by characteristics like swiftness of action, cycles of dispersion and concentration, deception, surprise, fluidity, shock and flexibility. The other defining feature of maneuver warfare was that it tried to avoid actual war.
Next best, disrupt their alliance. Next best, attack their army. Attack cities only when there is no alternative. Sun Tzu emphasized the moral and mental dimensions of war, the winning of hearts and minds. When fighting was necessary, he emphasized maneuver warfare characterized by quickness, variety, surprise, and harmony.
By the end of his campaigns though, he transitioned to a more rigid, uniform style that came to be known as attrition warfare. Instead of letting his troops move flexibly based on the situation in their part of the battlefield, he had them move uniformly in dense infantry columns, much like the British red coats.
Because Napoleon was such a force of nature, the militaries of the world became locked into the view of Attrition Warfare as superior. The American Civil War was characterized by large lines moving steadily towards and away from each other. The attrition view saw warfare through only two variables: force size and firepower. During the First World War, Englishman Frederick Lanchester calculated that of the two, force size was more influential.
The other variable, firepower, could offset this, but the weapons had to be MUCH more powerful to make up for the differences. Before the Second World War, German generals had gone back and studied earlier military strategists and designed the Blitzkrieg to emulate the maneuver warfare styles of Sun Tzu and Genghis Khan rather than the attrition style of World War I.
Though the Germans eventually lost the war, Blitzkrieg was extremely successful. Yet, because the Germans committed such horrible atrocities, very few military theorists went back to study the Blitzkrieg. In the early years of the Cold War, American Generals were still locked into the attrition mindset that had begun with Napoleon. American generals believed they needed to have radically more powerful weapons in order to maintain parity with the Soviets.
This all started to change with an insight John Boyd had as a fighter pilot in the Korean War. In the leadup to the Vietnam War, the Air Force and Navy had developed bigger, more powerful aircraft than any that the Soviets had. Yet they were ten times less effective. The air-to-air combat kill ratio of in Vietnam was far worse than the they had achieved in Korea.
On the ground, the North Vietnamese employed the tactics of maneuver warfare at every level from strategic to tactical and ground warfare to air combat. They embraced the philosophy of Genghis Khan and Sun Tzu.
To the chagrin of the Air Force Generals who had commissioned the bigger, more expensive planes, E-M theory showed conclusively that the lighter, cheaper, faster Soviet MiGs were more effective aircraft because of their quickness and maneuverability. Vietnam marked the greatest inflection point in warfare since Napoleon.
Today, insurgent groups around the world are using the strategies of maneuver warfare: surprise, variety, quickness and harmony to win. So far, the 21st century has borne out the prediction. Insurgents in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria are not waking up to battlefield in straight lines. They are attacking in an unpredictable pattern all over the world from the world Trade Center to Nice, France to London music venues to hotels in India.
He developed a briefing called Patterns of Conflict which showed their application to ground warfare tactics. Then a briefing called Organic Design for Command and Control showing their applications to military strategy, politics and diplomacy.
The shift to greater adaptability and speed is becoming required to survive in the business world. That came to a crashing halt in A situation which leads not to a steady, linear monthly paycheck but a much bumpier income graph that looks like this My monthly revenues from July-Dec By , it was 20 years.
The startup world, characterized by uncertainty, provides plenty of examples of what embracing ambiguity can lead to. Over the past decade, we have seen a growing number of individuals and freelancers using technology to thrive in an uncertain world. That is up from 33, in , a 5. Within companies, the individuals who are most adaptable, quick and dynamic are able to add the most value.
If individuals and organizations want to survive and thrive in a highly dynamic environment, they have to embrace uncertainty and novelty and learn to use it to their advantage. As examples like WhatsApp and the growth of one-person million dollar businesses show, the payoff is vitality and growth, the opportunity to shape and adapt to an ever changing reality and influence the ideas and actions of others.
This is a big article. Download it as a beautiful PDF to read later! Boyd created the OODA loop to try and condense his four decades of research and thinking into a single diagram that answered this question. This view of the OODA loop captures the essence. The OODA loop is often seen as a decision making model, but can be more accurately described as a model of individual and organization learning and adaptation.
It includes all the dimensions of that environment: the physical, mental, and moral dimensions. Imagine you were a perceptive financial trader that understood the OODA loop in the run-up to the financial collapse.
In the observation phase, you saw that the market was on its way towards record-highs. You felt the mental dimension. Many people felt the market could only go up. You saw there was a huge increase in financial instruments including mortgage-backed derivatives. You saw that many of the people who were taking out mortgages had much lower incomes than people taking out mortgages five years earlier.
It includes understanding your genetics, cultural heritage and previous experiences, then analyzing and synthesizing that with all the observations you made. The goal of the orientation phase is to find mismatches: errors in your previous judgement or in the judgement of others. As a general rule, bad news is the best kind because as long as you catch it in time, you can turn it to your advantage. Continuing with your financial trader example, you oriented and suspected there was no way all these people were going to pay off their mortgages.
Many of them were lower income individuals with unsteady jobs. You saw that everyone, from homeowners with multiple mortgages to large banks, was betting on the market going up indefinitely. You hypothesized that this was irrational exuberance, and no market goes up forever. You thought once some people started to default, many others would as well and that the market would crash. The Financial collapse was bad for everyone except the people that saw the mismatches.
The goal you should be striving for in the orientation phase is to prove your previous beliefs wrong by finding mismatches. The sooner you can identify a mismatch, the sooner you can re-orient to take advantage of it The trader saw a mismatch, shorted the market, and made money.
Decide The Decision stage is the transition into the final stage of acting. For groups or organizations, the decision stage may require a series of meetings or discussions to adjust the strategy and roadmap based on the new orientation. If you were a trader in , you might have to have a meeting with your team to explain your reasoning in the orientation phase and come to a decision about exactly how to bet against the housing market. Should you short the mortgage derivatives themselves?
Or the banks holding them? Should you do it now or should you wait a month? Most decision making can and should be implicit. Act Acting is carrying out the decision.
OODA LOOP: What You Can Learn from Fighter Pilots About Making Fast and Accurate Decisions
A mental tapestry of changing intentions for harmonizing and focusing our efforts as a basis for realizing some aim or purpose in an unfolding and often unforeseen world of many bewildering events and many contending interests. What can we learn from them to help us make more rational and quick decisions? If these techniques work in the most drastic scenarios, they have a good chance of working for us. This is why military mental models can have such wide, useful applications outside their original context. Military mental models are constantly tested in the laboratory of conflict.
The OODA Loop: How the Greatest Military Strategists Make Decisions in the Face of Uncertainty.
It became popular during the Military Reform movement in the s and 80s, which sought to alleviate needlessly complicated and costly weapons systems and over usage of unsustainable military practices like exhausting the enemy through personnel and material losses. Outside of the military, the loop is being applied to help foster commercial processes, particularly with strategy. If I have questions, where should I send them? If you are new to OODA or need a refresher, pretend you are a fighter pilot in a dogfight. In this battle of life or death, you must observe, orient, decide, and act in order to save not only your mission but your life. Observe: Survey everything around you.
O que é o Ciclo OODA de avaliação e tomada de decisão estratégica?
However, prior to its introduction, United States Air Force jet fighters struggled in air-to-air combat: during the Vietnam War, jet fighters scored dismal loss ratios of In the winter of , a young prodigious Air Force fighter pilot, named John Boyd, was assigned to fly one of the earliest jet fighters in history—the F Sabre—during the Korean war. As the high-speed dog fight commenced in the skies of Korea, the F Sabre faced the impossible task of defeating the Soviet MiG—a superior aircraft with faster maximum speed, heavier firepower and narrower turn radius. But by the end of the war, the F pilots shot down MiGs and lost only 78 Sabres, recording a victory to loss ratio of Whilst the Air Force celebrated the victory, John Boyd racked his brain to solve a puzzling question: Why did the F jet fighter score such a high victory ratio against a superior opponent? In order to solve this problem, Boyd studied, analyzed and combined ideas from psychology, biology, physics and theories from the greatest military strategists of all-time, including Sun Tzu, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Carl von Clausewitz, Ulysses S.