Archive for September, 2010

There will be a Boyd and Beyond Symposium at Marine Corps Base Quantico Virginia on October 15th and 16th 2010. The symposium will have numerous esteemed speakers from varying disciplines, discussing how the theories of COL John Boyd are applied  to the vast array of problems and threats we face.

This symposium goes beyond Boyd’s Work. His influence on other professions and individuals making efforts to more effective outcomes in their perspective fields will be the focus of the Boyd and Beyond symposium. Topics discussed will focus not only on important military issues but will, as well, take Boyd’s theories into the different professions and realms of conflict these professions deal with.  How Boyd’s theories apply and what they have done to make all more effective at solving problems via the observation. orientation, decision and action cycles.

Understanding the OODA Loop, and the effects; Interaction, Insight,  Imagination, and Initiative, Command and Influence (LEADERSHIP) have on the constant repetitive nature of the decision making cycle can when leveraged, lead to gaining the advantage or as COL John Boyd stated; the essence of winning and losing;  

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.”

Soldiers, Marines, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security Professionals, Colleges and University Safety and Security, Hospital Security, Hotel Security and private business looking to keep their workplace safe, will benefit from the lessons learned and applied at this symposium. Developing better strategies, tactics and methods and operational art to make your organization more effective in all that it does, is the type of learning that will take place at the Boyd and Beyond Symposium. 

I have the honor of attending and speaking on Boyd’s theories, translated and applied to training and education revolution going on in the Army, Marines and selected law enforcement right now . Adaptive Leadership, Recognizing the Signs and Signals of Crime and Danger and their relationship to Critical Decision Making Under Pressure and the training methodology necessary to reach this goal will be my focus. 

Here is the list of committed speakers and their topic of discussion. You can clearly see that learning, unlearning and relearning will most definitely be taking place.

Lieutenant General (Retired) Van Riper TBD
Stan Coerr Intro
Don Vandergriff Outcomes-Based T&E
Bill Bon
GI Wilson 4GW and Border Security, Gangs, cartels
Robert Coram Boyd Biography
Terry Barnhart Boyd in Corporate R&D
Fred Leland Boyd on the Street: Law Enforcement and the Signals of Crime
Dave Foster Systems: Portfolio Complexity and Fog of war
Ev Raspberry NA
Elaine Grossman  
Jim Hasik Supply chain fast transients
Mike Grice Afghanistan and OODA
Captain Linton Wells USN Maneuver in naval warfare
Art Corbett Mission Command
Bruce Jones Coast Guard
Katya Drozdova Soviets in Afghanistan: the slow transient
Chip Pearson Applying John Boyd principles to business strategy and execution
Colonel David Pearson (retired)  
William Johnson  
Mark Boblitz LTC AUS Retired  
Bob Howard?  


Anyone interested in attending contact: Stan Coerr Headquarters Marine Corps stanton.coerr@usmc.mil 


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I don’t understand why we don’t confront these issues head on? Is that we are that hubris? Or, is it people are just so scared, they ignore the data?  What pisses me off about lack of leadership on these issues, and our own arrogant ignoring the signs is that in no time in human history have we possessed the information and resources to fix problems before they get too bad. The problem is hubris, stupidity and organized religions, all of them.  My fellow citizens have been so conditioned by the fact that they can always have what they want if they have the money or credit to get it, but particularly our basic needs. They have come to accept the fact, that someone else will always take care of it.  Governments have conditioned their people that they will take care of it, or technology will eventually solve the problem. Organized religion (remember, I love and believe in God, and pray every night, but I am a realist) have allowed people to disgard their real world responsibilities and continue to live in the past, having too many children and living a myth about how problems will be solved. Organized religions have also been behind most wars, as they are today.Instead of unifying to fix our problems so people can live in peace and prosperity, we remain at constant war over dwindling resources behind the cloak that someone’s else’s religion ferver is trying to take us over and disrupt our ways of lives. When in fact, it is the fight over resources as populations grow because no one, except a very small number of economists and realists want to tackle that issue.  Everyone else just accepts it as something natural and the rights of everyone to have as large families as they want, while there are less and less resources to meet their demands.

How to fix it?

1. Here address the illegal immigration problem, and stop being a spillover pond for the world’s busting damns. We have to be harsh, and start supporting family planning everywhere. Close our borders and start fixing our problems here. This is not the 1800s.

2. Provide tax credits to two or one child families. No tax credits for over two children.

3. No more money for highways, roads or cars. Start investing in mass transit, and start rebuilding our railroads.

4. Double our investments in alternative energy.

5. Start encouraging people to leave the suburbs and move back to cities. 

6. Start giving tax credits and government loans to encourage small local farming. As gasoline will go back up soon, our dependency on the large corporate farms in the midwest will threaten the east and west coasts with severe food shortages due to the inability to transport it thousands of miles.

7.  Get out of all of our foreign ventures, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, start focusing on our problems with our southern border, Mexico.

Of course, this takes moral courage and leadership to implement.

Start article.


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Summary:  The outline for today’s post comes from the youngest member of the FM website’s staff, a Corporal of the USMC.  He’s completed one tour in Afghanistan and will deploy again in 2011.  Here he describes a dark side to one of the most popular science fiction books of the past 20 years, widely read by members of the US military.  Ender’s Game contains inspiration for both the best and worst leadership philosophies in today’s USMC.

The USMC professional reading program includes Ender’s Game, perhaps science fiction writer Orson Scott Card’s greatest work.  It contains a powerful dramatization of current Corps doctrine, but it also holds a hidden vision for many Generals.   See Wikipedia for a summary of the book.   Go here to see the full text of the original short story (Analog, August 1977); the book-length version was published in 1985.  It won the Nebula and Hugo awards.

From the USMC discussion guides (here and here):

Ender’s Game is more than about the difficulty and excitement that competition provides in preparing for combat. There are lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics as well. Such richness in range and treatment has made Card’s book an oft-read and re-read title for many years; Ender’s Game has been a stalwart item on the Marine Corps Reading List since its inception. then Captain John Schmitt, author of FMFM-1 Warfighting (a foundational book on Marine maneuver warfare doctrine, now published as MCDP 1) used it to teach.

… Winning wars depends on the quality of the people you put into battle. Start with smart people, train them in imaginative and challenging ways, and ensure you force decision making authority down to the person with superior awareness of the tactical situation.

… Ender’s Game was published at the same time Marines started reading The Maneuver Warfare Handbook.  We have since institutionalized maneuver warfare into the Marine Corps. The challenge to every generation of Marines is to continue to live up to what Maneuver Warfare philosophy demands of them.


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I totally endorse Andy Bacevich’s new book Endless War. Though I am for a professional, but small and hard hitting military, it is based on the doctrine of 3-3-3 which I discussed in earlier blogs.  The bottom line, we have too many problems at home to continually go out and make everyone smaller versions of the USA. But Dr. Bacevich’s book goes beyond that, he correctly states it is more than a feeling good doctrine (which is a facade), it is actually the influence of big money behind our continual wars of occupation,  using whatever doctrinal fad is used that month by one of the high paid think tanks.  The flavor this month is COIN (Counter Insurgency) where we have convinced ourselves of both parties that we can fight wars at low cost. When in fact, we may have low casualties (as compared to past wars), but how about the domestic civilian population?  Additionally, in a world dominated by 4th Generation Warfare, our nation, led by the think tanks, refuse to reform the military from the 2nd Generation (with few exceptions 3rd Generation culture), while selling a doctrine that requires all the premises of a 3rd Generation Force.  As several other heros have pointed out, but Andy Bacevich leaves out, such as Franklin C Spinney, Winslow Wheeler, Pierre Sprey, G.I. Wilson, William S. Lind and Douglas MacGregor, as well as the late COL John Boyd, we are a 2nd Generation military trying to fight 4th Generation wars, with disastrous results both abroad and here at home as we go deeper in debt while living the lie where our public becomes ever larger consumers in a crowded world of shortages.  It is this dismissive belief that puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. citizens who have an obligation to have HONEST and HARD HITTING debates, and then go to the ballet box, put into office true leaders, not the corrupt fools we have now. As Bacevich has pointed out, the reality is the opposite, as long as the goods flow, the oil remains cheap, and lies are told regarding the rest of the world, such as dismissing the dangerous levels of overpopulation (organized religion tells them to go out and continue to bear fruit), the public continues to live with its heads buried in the sand.

Have a happy Labor Day,


Endless War


America’s Path to Permanent War

By Andrew J. Bacevich

286 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. $25


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