The OODA Loop is the creation of Colonel John Boyd, USAF. Col. Boyd was regarded as one of the finest fighter pilots in any Air Force, at any time. His nickname, “40 Second Boyd” sprang from his demonstrated ability to win any bout of aerial close combat (dogfighting), within forty seconds. In a tribute written after Col. Boyd’s death, Marine Commandant General C.C. Krulak described him as “a towering intellect among practitioners of the profession of arms, one who made unsurpassed contributions to the art of conducting war. Indeed, he was one of the central architects of the reform of military thought… From Colonel Boyd we learned about competitive decision making on the battlefield–compressing time, using time as an ally.” Many reading this have probably never heard of Colonel John Boyd, USAF, his way of thinking, or his contribution to the art of warfare. Col. Boyd was a fighter pilot who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He also had a key role in the development of the USAF’s F-16 Falcon, the F-15 Eagle, and the A-10 Thunderbolt.
“OODA” is an acronym, and the description of a process you’re already doing throughout every day. Here’s an example:
Observe: You’ve trained hard today, you observe that you’re hungry.
Orient: You orient in space and time by recalling there’s a Golden Corral nearby, and it’s after 4pm which means they’re serving unlimited sirloin steak.
Decide: You decide to go to Golden Corral.
Act: You act by going to Golden Corral and eating a prodigious amount of prime sirloin steak, cooked medium-rare. No simple carbs and stay away from the desserts. NO SUGAR.
A somewhat irreverent and humorous example but a sound example of OODA nonetheless.
Today’s environment for our people is constantly changing, more than at any time in our past, requiring that we discover and utilize canny and clever methods to thwart the political class, who sells us out at every opportunity, and our own racial traitors. Faced with the constant emergence of new tactical problems in this environment, what would an old fighter pilot have to teach us? What Colonel John Boyd can teach us is how our adversaries think and react, how we and our comrades should think, how to train more effectively, and how to exert a higher level of control upon our tactical environment.
The Four Steps to the OODA Loop:
OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The description as a loop is literal. Col. Boyd intended OODA to be repeated as necessary until a situation is resolved. Although many explanations of the OODA loop describe it as though it’s a superficial concept, there is in truth much depth to it.
Observe: The first step is to observe. Here, the objective is to create an accurate picture of the situation. We should look: what is of immediate effect to us? What is of immediate effect to our opposition? What may affect us as the situation unfolds? Can we deduce possible enemy actions? How accurate have our prior deductions been? Tactical environments change very quickly, therefore our observations must be broad based and have the ability to be quickly amended. Effective observation is a key component of sound tactical decision making.
Orient: The second step is orientation, commonly misunderstood or skimmed over due to less intuition being required than the other steps. Orienting ourselves to the several dimensional particulars of any tactical situation is a deliberate process, and is the step which Col. Boyd called “the schwerpunkt of OODA”, This is a German word meaning “the thing which counts”. To orient ourselves to the operational and other details found in observation requires the disregarding of any & all personal bias, to view a situation in every possible dimension objectively as it actually exists, and to disallow the barriers to objectivity springing from the following four factors, barriers which can interfere with sound execution of the OODA process:
a) Our cultural traditions.
b) Our genetic heritage.
c) Our ability to analyze and synthesize information.
d) New incoming information–the difficulty in making sense of information as a situation continues to develop.
Emphasizing orientation rather than going directly to a decision gives us an advantage over our adversaries. Even from an initial position of disadvantage, with fewer resources or a deficit of information, it is Col. Boyd’s contention that this crucial step provides that the outsmarting of an opponent, and gaining significant tactical advantage remains possible, even likely.
Decide: There’s nothing complicated to this step. We have assembled information and we have oriented ourselves to the situation, and the potential outcomes. The first two steps have created a selection of possible actions, now is when the Commander earns his pay and strives to make an informed, timely, and correct decision. Boyd cautioned us about “first conclusion bias”, meaning that we cannot keep ‘going back to the same well’, and leaning unduly on previous successes. This portion of OODA must be flexible and subject to revising in future analysis.
Act: While OODA is a process of decision making, at its heart the OODA loop is focused on taking action. The ability to project force based upon intelligently made and correct operational decisions is a fundamental advantage. The first three steps are simply precursors to taking action. This is also where we note very carefully just how sound our decisions were. Were our observations correct? Did we conduct accurate analysis and processing of the information gathered? Were we influenced by any personal biases? Can any aspect of our reasoning be disproven? Regardless of these answers, we now treat OODA as the loop which it is, we cycle back to step one, and observe the situation we have created with our actions, thereby beginning the loop again.
OODA is a feedback loop, with the result of our actions leading us back to the observation step. It offers advantages to Commanders employing OODA for a few crystal clear reasons.
Speed; a critical element in decision making. The value of decisiveness, seizing the initiative, and acting with ruthless autonomy cannot be overstated.
Comfort with uncertainty; uncertainty does not necessarily equal risk. We factor what can be called “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns” into the observation step of OODA. We allow a margin of error, and we acknowledge elements which are within our sphere of influence, as well as those elements which are not. We thereby mitigate the risks which can never be eliminated entirely. Testing, inherent in the loop aspect. We cycle back to the observation step even as the action conducted in the previous cycle is still unfolding. This allows for adjustments or even wholesale changes to be effected as we continue moving through the battlespace.
Unpredictability; employing OODA enables us to act much faster than an adversary, thereby creating within them the idea that we are not a conventionally predictable opponent. As they engage in their own decision making process, we are already acting, which moves them back to an observation mode. Continuing this course repeatedly will either render them incapable of meaningful and effective action, or will force them into acting without deliberately made decisions. This creates a climate ripe for mistakes by them, mistakes which we can and will exploit.
“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”— Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”
This my Brothers, is a brief description of the OODA loop, its origin, and its employment. During my own time in the service of the empire, it revolutionized maneuver warfare tactics, to a degree which in truth made it strategic in nature. The first Gulf War (my war) was the first conflict fought wherein the commanders had been taught OODA, it was utilized to great effect there. Marine Commandant General C.C. Krulak said this in the aftermath of that war about Colonel John Boyd and his OODA loop:
“The Iraqi army collapsed morally and intellectually under the onslaught of American and Coalition forces. John Boyd was an architect of that victory as surely as if he’d commanded a fighter wing or a maneuver division in the desert.”
My Brothers, Col. Boyd’s OODA Loop represents to me an example of the ingenuity of our race. I believe things such as this are why we tamed the planet once, and why we’ll tame it again.
Strength and Honor!