Category Archives: OODA

Updated version of Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study

The link for the updated version of the AAS changed slightly but is now correct.

Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study is the most useful of all his documents in terms of tactical theory. Hardly anyone has read it, though.

tacticalprofessor

Thanks to Rob Pincus, I have found a cleaner copy of Colonel John Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study (AAS). It was recreated by Mr. Mark Hart from the declassified 1964 version. The recreation is much easier on the eyes than the reproductions of the original mimeographed edition that are generally available.

Prior to Colonel Boyd’s AAS, fighter combat was viewed by the majority of fighter pilots as an intuitive skill rather than one that could be codified. Some conceptual principles had been developed along with elementary tactics such as the Thach Weave, but Boyd was the one who wrote the definitive book. Only Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse had preceded Colonel Boyd in writing a book, No Guts No Glory, about jet fighter combat. Major General Blesse’s book wasn’t the exhaustive treatise on the subject that the AAS was.

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Get Ready (part 2)

Why do people carry an autoloader with an empty chamber? Because they’re concerned about having an Unintentional Discharge.

Sheriff’s gun goes off inside Walmart during a ‘Shop with a Sheriff’ event

One of the comments about the incident on Facebook sums up many people’s feelings about it.

Pickens County Georgia Sheriff UD comment redacted

Which is more likely to save your life? Carrying an autoloader with the chamber empty or carrying a revolver ready to go? Active Self Protection provides us with some food for thought.

A Stark Reminder to Keep Your Defensive Firearm Chambered

Armed Robber Kills Store Owner Whose Gun Wasn’t Ready

Another Reminder to Carry Chamber Full

Continue reading →

Podcast list

I was the guest on another podcast last night. Knowing that many people like to listen to podcasts, I compiled a list of the podcasts and topics that the hosts have been so kind to invite me to join.

Eye On The Target – Book philosophy and Dry Practice drill, July 14, 2019

http://www.podcastgarden.com/episode/071419-one_146861

P(rimary) &S(econdary) 168 – Mouse Guns, October 14, 2018

https://www.spreaker.com/user/primaryandsecondary/p-s-168-mouse-guns

Safety Solutions Academy – Decision Making, September 20, 2018

https://safetysolutionsacademy.com/441-claude-werner-the-tactical-professor/

Ballistic Radio – The Neediest of Pre-Needs, July 8, 2018

http://ballisticradio.com/2018/07/23/the-neediest-of-pre-needs-podcast-season-6-ballistic-radio-episode-262-july-8th-2018/

Ballistic Radio – Dear Instructors, Get a Real Job, February 11, 2018

http://ballisticradio.com/2018/02/14/dear-instructors-get-a-real-job-podcast-season-5-ballistic-radio-episode-241-february-11th-2018/

Civilian Carry Radio – December 28, 2017

https://firearmsradio.tv/civilian-carry-radio/civilian-carry-radio-039-claude-werner-the-tactical-professor

Ballistic Radio – Whose Standards?, May 7, 2017)

http://ballisticradio.com/2017/05/10/whose-standards-podcast-season-5-ballistic-radio-episode-207-may-7th-2017/

Ballistic Radio – 50 Shades Of Werner, September 25, 2016

http://ballisticradio.com/2016/09/30/50-shades-of-werner-podcast-season-4-ballistic-radio-episode-180-september-25th-2016/

Ballistic Radio – The Boyd Part About The OODA Loop, February 7, 2016

http://ballisticradio.com/2016/02/14/the-boyd-part-about-the-ooda-loop-podcast-season-3-ballistic-radio-episode-149-february-7th-2016/

Handgun Radio 118 – SHOT Show 2016 Handgun Preview, January 5, 2016

https://firearmsradio.squarespace.com/handgun-radio/118

Gun Guy Radio 189 – LAPD Use of Force Reports, November 10, 2015

https://firearmsradio.tv/gun-guy-radio/189

Handgun Radio 102 – Handgun Comparison Testing Protocols, – July 14, 2015

https://firearmsradio.tv/handgun-radio/102

Ballistic Radio – Training, Practice, and Shooting Standards, May 10, 2015

http://ballisticradio.com/2015/05/12/training-practice-and-shooting-standards-podcast-season-3-ballistic-radio-episode-111-may-10th-2015/

Ballistic Radio – Negative Outcomes 101, Part 2, March 15, 2015

http://ballisticradio.com/2015/03/18/negative-outcomes-101-part-2-podcast-season-2-ballistic-radio-episode-103-march-15th-2015/

Ballistic Radio – Negative Outcomes 101, March 1, 2015

http://ballisticradio.com/2015/03/04/negative-outcomes-101-with-the-tactical-professor-podcast-season-2-ballistic-radio-episode-101-march-1st-2015/

Ballistic Radio – The Rise of the Sentinel (Event), September 16, 2014

http://ballisticradio.com/2014/09/16/the-rise-of-the-sentinel-event/

Ballistic Radio – Threat Management For The Armed Citizen, August 24, 2014

http://ballisticradio.com/2014/08/25/threat-management-podcast-season-2-ballistic-radio-episode-76-august-24th-2014/

Ballistic Radio – Gunfight Analysis, Understanding the Threat YOU Are Most Likely To Face, April 20, 2014

http://ballisticradio.com/2014/04/21/podcast-season-2-ballistic-radio-episode-58-april-20th-2014/

Ballistic Radio – The Efficacy of Pocket Guns, Misconceptions, June 30, 2013

http://ballisticradio.com/2013/06/30/ballistic-radio-episode-17-june-30-2013/

Updated version of Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study

Thanks to Rob Pincus, I have found a cleaner copy of Colonel John Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study (AAS). It was recreated by Mr. Mark Hart from the declassified 1964 version. The recreation is much easier on the eyes than the reproductions of the original mimeographed edition that are generally available.

Prior to Colonel Boyd’s AAS, fighter combat was viewed by the majority of fighter pilots as an intuitive skill rather than one that could be codified. Some conceptual principles had been developed along with elementary tactics such as the Thach Weave, but Boyd was the one who wrote the definitive book. Only Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse had preceded Colonel Boyd in writing a book, No Guts No Glory, about jet fighter combat. Major General Blesse’s book wasn’t the exhaustive treatise on the subject that the AAS was.

Continue reading →

Another visit to John Boyd and OODA

A friend of mine shared a memory of this article on Facebook. I’m glad that he did.

Putting Orient Back into OODA

I’ve evolved my thinking about Orient to include more nuance but the article is still a good primer on the depth of Boyd’s concept and how we can and should apply it.

“Orientation is the schwerpunkt [focal point]. It shapes the way we interact with the environment—hence orientation shapes the way we observe, the way we decide, the way we act.”

— John R. Boyd, Organic Design for Command and Control (1987)

Orient tactical basic inputs 2

And please keep in mind that it does a disservice to Colonel Boyd’s ideas when they are reduced to a simplistic four point circular diagram.

OODA loop NO

 

The OODA Loop and Negative Outcomes – Part I

Proverbs 26:17 English Standard Version (ESV)

Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.

In rejecting the Lansdale man’s appeal, a judge wrote Storms thinks he is ‘some type of hero that injects himself into certain situations.’

Our Decisions usually determine our Outcomes as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Many, if not most, of our decisions are made ahead of time. When we make the same decision repeatedly over time, that is obviously the case. If we have made bad decisions ahead of time, the likelihood we WON’T select that decision from our list of options is minuscule.

Continue reading →

The Telephone Game and the Training Industry

Telephone [in the United States]  –is an internationally popular game, in which one person whispers a message to the ear of the next person through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming misheard and altered along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.

Often, a message that starts out like “My uncle shook hands with the Mayor once” eventually turns into “President Reagan’s grandmother slept with Batman for years” or something equally mistransmitted.

Telephone game issues plague the firearms training industry and are a problem. Several occurrences of it have been brought to my attention just this week. One of the most important things I’ve learned in the training industry is to assume everything that anyone tells me secondhand is wrong. Whenever possible, I go back to the source or vet the information through several other sources, if necessary.

Items that are most vulnerable to mistransmission are intellectual, statistical, or theoretical concepts. These include items such as:

  • Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes
  • Statistics from ‘the FBI’
  • Legal issues
  • Hick’s Law without the power law of practice refutation
  • My personal favorite, Col. John Boyd’s work, aka ‘the OODA Loop’

What first brought this to my attention this week was reviewing an article a friend wrote about Situational Awareness. In my review, I pointed out that Cooper himself said that even while he was actively teaching, the Color Codes were being grossly misinterpreted. He explicitly stated that they are NOT a system of Situational Awareness but rather stages of Mental Preparation and triggers for Personal Defense. Upon mentioning this to my friend, he said:

And I think it says quite a bit about how misunderstood the concept is that you’re literally the only person to point out that Cooper never intended the colors as situational awareness levels, but rather mental preparedness. Out of a dozen people giving me feedback.

Cooper’s writings on the subject are readily available on the Internet with just a small amount of research. In Volume 13, No. 1 of his Commentaries, he says:

The Color Code refers not to a condition of peril, but rather to a condition of readiness to take life.

He elaborates on the meaning of the Color Codes in no less than six of his Commentaries over the years. All his Commentaries are available on the Internet. There is even a video of his entire lecture about the Color Codes available on YouTube.

He makes a point at 15:20 in the lecture about the distinction explicitly.

In the course of doing the review, I came across a blog post that purported to explain Cooper’s Codes. While the cursory overview given wasn’t awful, the post stated that the Codes were contained in the ‘Awareness’ chapter of Cooper’s book Principles of Personal Defense. Unfortunately, there is no such chapter. Principle One in the book is Alertness but no mention of the Color Codes is contained therein. False memory at work.

In that sense, the Color Codes are similar to Boyd’s work, which has been mostly butchered into unusability by the training community. Not an hour after making my comments to my friend, I came across yet another recently published article about ‘the OODA Loop’ that grossly oversimplified Boyd’s work. The ways I have seen Boyd’s work grotesquely misstated are legion. We can easily portray the oversimplification of John Boyd’s work in a graphic.

OODA loop NO

One article last year by a member of a well-known and regarded training company claimed that Boyd had developed ‘the OODA Loop’ during the Korean War to counter the ‘shocking losses’ of F-86s at the hands of Mig pilots. In fact, Boyd’s first mention of ODA [only one O] was in 1976 after he had transitioned to strategic acquisition planning and no longer even flew aircraft. Estimates of the kill ratio in Korea for the Sabre jet has dropped from 10 Migs for each Sabre to 5.6/1 but this isn’t a ‘shocking loss’ statistic in the slightest. Clearly, the author hadn’t done one bit of research on the topic but was just regurgitating a distorted and false memory.

Despite the readiness of information in the Internet age, there is often a tremendous amount of intellectual laziness within the training community. Doing research isn’t as much fun as shooting. Hearing someone regurgitate important concepts in a class or even a side conversation and then failing to go back to the source to vet and understand it is poor scholarship. It would get a college freshman an F on a simple term paper. If we in the community can’t even get a passing grade on a college term paper, should we be teaching people how to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones?

Let’s turn to the research and vetting issue from the standpoint of the practitioner. Someone who wants to defend their own life and the lives of their loved ones ought to be able to get that passing term paper grade, too. When you hear something ‘important’ attributed to a third party, don’t accept it at face value. Research it on your own and find out what was actually said or published. It’s rarely hard and usually doesn’t take much time. You may be surprised at how different the two versions are.

Line in the sand

Begin to attrit the enemy at the maximum effective range of your weapons.

That was one of the most important things I learned as a young Infantry Lieutenant during the Cold War. We would have almost certainly been facing Soviet forces larger than our own. We had to wear them down as they closed with us in order to destroy them before they could reach us. This is every bit as true today in the context of personal protection.

“Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes”  is a famous saying from the Battle of Bunker Hill during the Revolutionary War. Very few people understand that ‘the whites of their eyes’ basically represented the maximum effective range of the smoothbore musket. That’s the underlying concept of the order.

No matter what our weapons are, we need to understand their maximum effective range. Maximum effective range is sometimes limited by the weapon, as in the case of the smoothbore musket or pepper spray. In other cases, it is limited by the capability of the user. The firearms instructors and SWAT team members of the Los Angeles Police Department are capable of using their weapons at a greater distance than the average patrol officer. That’s not a slam on the patrol officers, rather it is a result of training, practice, and experience.

In order to know the maximum effective range of your weapons, you have to understand them and test them. This testing and understanding is a key component of John Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study. An integral part of ‘Orient’ is knowledge of the capabilities (Previous Experience) of your weapons.

929px-OODA.Boyd.svg

Keep in mind that ‘line in the sand’ is both a chronological concept as well as a geographic point. If a situation goes on for a while,  it’s time to put an end to it, one way or another.

Decisions determine outcomes

The decisions we make almost inevitably determine the outcomes that result. Good Decisions lead to Positive Outcomes and Bad Decisions lead to Negative Outcomes. We all know that decision making is difficult in a broad array of situations. Having a framework for decision making can be helpful.

Skill development and to a lesser extent, ‘situational awareness’ are the most often taught or talked about aspect of personal protection. In the broad scheme of things, though, those are only a couple of aspects to the process of not being criminally victimized. Ultimately, skills and awareness are just inputs to our decision making process. The decisions we make are what will determine the outcome of any encounter.

It’s trendy now to view Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop as if it is a model that can help us ‘think faster,’ i.e., make tactical decisions more quickly than our opponent. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. The O-O-D-A Loop is a representation that describes in a strategic sense how one party thinks during the course of the decision process. That is a far cry from being a usable decision model or even framework. Colonel Boyd never mentioned O-O-D-A as a tactical decision model, nor do I believe he intended it as such.

Organic Design p26 OODA

Those who wish to look to Colonel Boyd for a decision model would be best advised to read his Aerial Attack Study. Over 50 years after its publication it is still considered the manual for fighter combat. The Aerial Attack Study describes a decision process almost completely the opposite of the way most common taters describe the O-O-D-A Loop. By performing an in-depth analysis of the situations fighter aircraft could encounter, Colonel Boyd described exact maneuvers and counters our fighters could use to defeat the enemy. That’s a better framework for defining tactical decision making.

AAS fighter v bomber TOC

This post is the first in a series describing a conceptual framework for decision making. Several other people contributed thoughts to it and I thank them for their input.

Know the Rules and Have Adequate Skills were proposed to me as inputs to good decision making by my friend LTC (Ret.), JAGC John Taylor. In addition to them, I include Understand the Situation.

Next, we have to consider four levels of priority as developed by Steven Harris, Esq. and published on the Modern Service Weapons blog.

  • Can
  • May
  • Should
  • Must

If we overlay these two sets of inputs, a graphic would look like this.

Make good decisions model

Finally, to make Good Decisions, we need to consider two levels of focus:

  • Tactical – doing things right, our techniques and procedures
  • Strategic – doing the right things, what is in our and our family’s best long term interests

What rules do we need to know?

  • Legal
    • Use of force
    • Use of deadly force
    • Employer policy and cultural peer pressure are corollaries to the legal
  • Other rules

Knowing the legal rules bears some discussion. There are several excellent books about the legalities of using deadly force, such as:
The Law of Self Defense

Deadly Force Understanding Your Right to Self Defense

What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law

However, there isn’t much material about the use of non-lethal and less-lethal force. This leads to some confusion in people’s minds about tools like pepper spray. One common tater opined that pepper spray couldn’t be used legally unless the victim had already been physically battered and the battery was continuing. While this might POSSIBLY be true in some States where citizens, or perhaps subjects, exist in an almost perpetual state of arrest, it’s certainly not true in most of the US, where the citizenry remains free.

NY Arrest

As an example of relative importance, most law enforcement officers will never apply deadly force in their entire careers. On the other hand, they will use some kind of physical force on a regular basis. As private citizens, there are only a few situations that justify the use of deadly force on our part. Having the ability to employ some form of non-deadly force is an option that needs much more serious consideration than it is generally given.

Note also that of the ‘Other rules,’ only the Safety rules for firearms are commonly taught. Although the balance of the Other rules aren’t thought of, they will definitely be inputs to our decision making.

Since it’s probably the first thing we should consider, we’ll go into Know the Rules in more depth in the next installment. Far too many people don’t consider the Rules very much, especially the Other rules.

There’s a Safariland holster blowout sale on my webstore.  Glock 17 and S&W M&P holsters at prices you can’t afford to pass up.

Ballistic Radio interview about Boyd

John Johnston and I had the opportunity to discuss the nature of Colonel John Boyd’s theories on Ballistic Radio recently.

The OODA Loop isn’t as simple as many people would like it to be. In some cases, it hardly applies at all.

OODA.Boyd.svg

The podcast of our conversation has now been posted.