OODA Loop & Human Reaction Time


Jim Yeager descibes the Boyd Cycle


I just found Jim Yeager from www.tacticalresponse.com on the net and watched his video describing the Boyd Cycle. I thought Jim Yeager who has a vast array of military and law enforcement experience did an outstanding job with his explanation as to how it applies to dynamic encounters. The only issue I had with it is HICKs Law” as processing information and making decisions is all about tactical options in dynamic rapidly changing conditions, i.e.. how we tactically respond and approach, tactical positioning, maneuver and closing with an adversary, reading the signs and signals of danger (non-verbal and verbal queues), the environment we are in (roadside, home, building, wooded area, etc). All this requires tactical options and tactical decisions that require you to pick or decide upon an option. I think people are more than capable of making these decisions if we train them properly and his force on force recommendation is how we do it, along with using decision making exercises and decision making critiques so we leverage lessons learned and then adapt those lessons to the street.

There is no one scientific solution to a tactical problem and we need to be able to observe the situation with all our senses (including intuition), recognize mismatches in the circumstances or patterns of conflict as Boyd Described it and orient to (What’s happening now?). Building snowmobiles is what Boyd called it “A loser is someone (individual or group) who cannot build snowmobiles when facing uncertainty and unpredictable change; whereas a winner is someone (individual or group) who can build snowmobiles, and employ them in the appropriate fashion, when facing uncertainty and unpredictable change.”  Once we develop this picture of what's happening now we then make our decision and act, while adapting as we process through the OODA Loop which is a continuous process throughout the tactical situation.

This is an important concept as once we begin to understand what this means, it opens us up to exploring new ways to train and getting away from telling people what to think and do and instead teach them how to think and do. We teach them to become tactical problem solves who understand the why behind the tactics and techniques we choose and not just the doing because someone showed this was the way. My thoughts are, instead of making check list followers we need to be making problem solvers and take an approach to training that blends people and ideas with tactics, techniques and policy and procedure.

There is constant interaction when we accord with an adversary and through this interaction we open up opportunities to gain the initiative and this requires us first understanding there are options and then picking the right one. As Boyd said, “The essence of winning and losing is in learning how to shape or influence events so that we not only magnify our spirit and strength but also influence potential adversaries as well as the uncommitted so that they are drawn toward our philosophy and are empathetic towards our success.”

Stay Oriented!