Friday, January 22, 2016

The OODA Loop and You-John Boyd's Birthday

As I was teaching my kids to drive I would tell them about looking ahead. Trying to see potential problems so that you can act instead of reacting. This is something that is even discussed in scripture:
26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. 2 Nephi 2:26
This scripture means to me, loosely, to be able to prepare by doing good things so that your consequences will be good instead of bad.
The OODA Loop teaches that if you break a person’s loop, it will give you time to act as they react.
Called the OODA Loop, the model outlines a four-point decision loop that supports quick, effective and proactive decision-making. The four stages are:
1. Observe – collect current information from as many sources as practically possible.
2. Orient – analyze this information, and use it to update your current reality.
3. Decide – determine a course of action.
4. Act – follow through on your decision.
You continue to cycle through the OODA Loop by observing the results of your actions, seeing whether you've achieved the results you intended, reviewing and revising your initial decision, and moving to your next action.
This information can be used in many, many scenarios. But this is a blog focusing on security and self-defense.
The only way to shorten your own OODA Loop is through training, this is known as conditioned reflex or muscle memory. This is why malfunction drills are important in firearms training. If you can work them into your practice sessions, you will know how to act when they occur at the “moment of truth”. By performing drills like these throughout your firearms training sessions, you will begin to perform them as second nature, which will essentially shorten their phase in the OODA Loop.
When it comes to fighting for your life, it is essential to practice and hone the simplest and most natural “techniques” or movements through constant repetition until they become instinctive as opposed to reactive. Then when those techniques are performed in a real world scenario, they will most certainly be extremely effective. Think of the old adage in this case: “Action is faster than reaction.”
Simply put, the untrained will have slower phases of the OODA Loop. This can often be seen at shooting matches when seasoned shooters perform the “tap-rack-bang” drill while the novices may simply stare at a non-working firearm.
In self-defense, something as simple as moving “off the X”, or stepping to the side of your previous location, will start your attacker or opponents Loop over giving you time to act.
I write about this usually annually because I feel it is an important part of training and may be overlooked by some instructors or schools.
Of course, while this is Loop is taking place, the situation may be changing. It is sometimes necessary to cancel a planned action in order to meet the changes. This decision cycle is thus known as the OODA loop. John Boyd emphasized that this decision cycle is the central mechanism enabling adaptation and is therefore critical to survival.
Boyd theorized that large organizations such as corporations, governments, or militaries possessed a hierarchy of OODA loops at tactical strategic levels.
John Boyd enlisted in the Army after High School in WWII. He attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a BA in economics. Later he received a BA from Georgia Tech in engineering. He flew F-86 jets in Korea. He was then assigned to the Air Force’s Weapons School where he was the head of the Academic Section. He was dubbed "Forty Second Boyd" for his standing bet as an instructor pilot that beginning from a position of disadvantage, he could defeat any opposing pilot in air combat maneuvering in less than 40 seconds. He developed the OODA Loop theory, among other theories, for pilots in combat.
Former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles C. Krulak is quoted as saying "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."
He was born on January 23, 1927 and passed away in 1997. He is buried with honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Semper Paratus
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