Posts Tagged ‘John Boyd’

This is the best summary of one of the missions I was doing this year. I had the honor to work with a lot of great people, including the author of this article in Military Review, LTC Scott Halter. Scott’s article sums up best what we recommended to the Secretary of the Army and the personnel system on where the personnel system should go in the 21st Century.




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I will begin posting Chuck’s stuff here as well, it is that good.

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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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Today’s Training and Education (Development) Revolution: The Future is Now
by Donald E. Vandergriff (Land Warfare Paper No. 76, April 2010) 
Discusses the changes the Army is making to its educational system to provide Soldiers with the best tools for success on the battlefield. Today’s highly complex operations have emphasized the importance of quality decisionmaking at junior levels. Even with modern command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities, the noncommissioned officer or junior officer on the ground sometimes has the best situational awareness and thus is likely to make the best decision—but only if he or she is equipped, intellectually and culturally, to properly assess the situation and creatively arrive at the best solution. Adaptability, critical thinking and creativity have become critical skills for modern Soldiers. The Army’s new approach, Outcomes-Based Training & Education (OBT&E), is an educational philosophy that teaches both basic skills and aids the development of leaders, using the Combat Applications Training Course (CATC ) and the Adaptive Leader Methodology (ALM). These new training and education tools will produce the kind of flexible, adaptable Soldiers and leaders the modern battlefield demands.

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I commend to your attention the recent speech made by the SecDef at
the USAFA. If you read down to the second Boyd reference you will find the
“To Be or To Do Speech” quoted in full to the cadets.
I fear the SecDef is poisoning the minds of the Zoomies.


United States Air Force Academy Lecture
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Colorado Springs, CO, Friday, April 02, 2010

Thank you for that introduction.
It’s a pleasure to be back at the Air Force Academy for my first visit since 2007, when I spoke at commencement. And I’m particularly happy to be in Colorado Springs, but then I am happy to be anywhere other than Washington, D.C.

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A biography of the author of this excellent essay can be found here.
Sun Tzu and America’s Way of War
by Jon Basil Utley, February 04, 2010

America’s way of war is, actually, not so new under the sun. Centuries ago, China’s Sun Tzu would have recognized some of our ways and errors. Indeed he would be rolling over in his grave at seeing how his famous dictums for successful wars are ignored and violated by America: a trillion-dollar war in Iraq, losing our allies, creating more and more fanatical enemies willing to do suicide missions against us, borrowing from foreigners to finance our wars. In fairness, part of our failure is the simple determinant that democracies can’t run empires and most armies hate occupation duty. Our military still trains to re-fight World War II, not for unending wars of occupation and trans-national terrorism. So now we fear and isolate ourselves from most Muslims, nearly a quarter of the world’s population, and are nearly bankrupted. However, bin Laden’s campaign followed Sun Tzu’s teachings to a “T.” (See “How Bin Laden Bankrupted America.” For why we can’t win our wars, see Andrew Bacevich’s “When Was the Last Time We Won A War?“)


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Yemen: Opening A New “Front” in the Long War Nicht Schwerpunkt as a Prescription for Defeat by a 1000 Cuts by Chuck Spinney

Recent events like the Fort Hood Massacre and the bungled attempt to fire bomb the airliner bound for Detroit have focused attention on and encouraged our escalating intervention in Yemen, which has been taking place quietly, as if Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan were not enough to keep our strategic planners and stretched out military forces occupied. Our reactions to events in the so-called Long War on Terror suggest an aimless spreading of effort throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. This aimlessness brings to mind a comment General Hermann Balck, a highly decorated German officer in WWII, made to a small group of reformers in the Pentagon in the early 1980s.

The subject was Operation Barbarossa, or Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Balck pithily dismissed the German strategy shaping that invasion with the words: “Nicht Schwerpunkt.” Balck was saying there was no focus or main effort to the German invasion, and without a focus, there was no way to harmonize the thousands of subordinate efforts. The result was a spreading of effort that led to eventual overextension as can be seen in the following map. Now the Eastern Front of WWII is very different from the ridiculously misleading label of a Central Front in the Long War on Terror. But the idea of schwerpunkt is germane to both efforts, and the US is showing all the signs of spreading and over extending its efforts which accompany a nicht schwerpunkt. This is no small thing.

As the American strategist Colonel John Boyd showed in his famous briefing, Patterns of Conflict, the idea of a schwerpunkt is central to organizing all effective military operations. It is far more than a simple question of concentrating forces. According to Boyd, the idea of a “Schwerpunkt represents a unifying medium that provides a directed way to tie initiative of many subordinate actions with superior intent as a basis to diminish friction and compress time in order to generate a favorable mismatch in time/ability to shape and adapt to unfolding circumstances.”

Now this is a very compressed statement, pregnant with information, and based on a lot of research, but it nevertheless makes it self evident that there is no comparable unifying medium in America’s Long War on Terror. Our failure to form a schwerpunkt is just as much a prescription for paralysis and defeat by a thousand cuts in a guerrilla war as it is in a mechanized conventional war between standing armies.


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