Chet Richards On: Boyd's Really Real OODA Loop

One thing about those who follow Boyd’s ideas is that they are constantly reflecting upon how to best improve decision making under pressure.

“Studies of human behavior reveal that the actions we undertake as individuals are closely related to survival, more importantly, survival on our own terms. Naturally, such a notion implies that we should be able to act relatively free or independent of any debilitating external influences—otherwise that very survival might be in jeopardy. In viewing the instinct for survival in this manner we imply that a basic aim or goal, as individuals, is to improve our capacity for independent action. The degree to which we cooperate, or compete, with others is driven by the need to satisfy this basic goal. If we believe that it is not possible to satisfy it alone, without help from others, history shows us that we will agree to constraints upon our independent action—in order to collectively pool skills and talents in the form of nations, corporations, labor unions, mafias, etc.—so that obstacles standing in the way of the basic goal can either be removed or overcome. On the other hand, if the group cannot or does not attempt to overcome obstacles deemed important to many (or possibly any) of its individual members, the group must risk losing these alienated members. Under these circumstances, the alienated members may dissolve their relationship and remain independent, form a group of their own, or join another collective body in order to improve their capacity for independent action.” ~COL John Boyd, Destruction and Creation

Minor revisions to Boyds Real OODA Loop, dated 13 April 2012 – Chet Richards recent editing of Destruction and Creation spurred more reflection and thought on his part.

One way to look at things: D&C describes a cyclical process for creating a system of concepts that we can then use as decision models. So the circular loop is, in a sense, built into it. Patterns of Conflict, as elaborated upon in Organic Design, says that when employing these decision models in an operation or engagement with a thinking opponent, it is best to use the implicit guidance and control link as much as possible (“emphasize implicit over explicit …” Organic Design, 22). The OODA “loop” from The Essence of Winning and Losing, incorporates both of these concepts.~Chet Richards

The new edit of D&C is available from the Articles link above and the other briefings by Boyd can be downloaded from 

Stay Oriented!