Tag Archives: Boyd

We’ll get through this

The Assassin and I had White Pizza at Mellow Mushroom in Mayretta for lunch. It was good. The place wasn’t crowded with small disease vectors, i.e., children, which made our visit even more pleasant. A couple was sitting at the bar having drinks and a quiet conversation and a few other people were ordering calzones.

He and I talked about Personal Protection stuff, as we usually do. I showed him a new target I’ve designed and a Baseline Evaluation and Monitoring Course of Fire for new shooters I’m developing. Then I asked his input about the overlap and intersection between Steve Harris’ CAN/MAY/SHOULD/MUST paradigm, Ayoob’s Priorities of Survival; Mindset, Tactics, Skill, and Equipment, and my Making Good Decisions model.

Make good decisions model

After buying a new pair of jeans, I brought some pizza home for further feasting. Since I’m recovering from open double hernia surgery and was hurting a little, I took a couple of Tynols and then a nap.

When I got up, I decided to have a little more pizza. I don’t ordinarily drink beer but I like beer with pizza, so I broke out a Blue Moon. It was a very nice evening so I decided to finish my beer on the deck. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I was able to watch the sun dip below the treeline, which was pretty. The clouds were moving slowly, so I enjoyed watching them for a while. I also savored the sights and sounds of normalcy in the neighborhood. People were taking their walks, a neighbor was chipping some tree limbs he had cut down, a few cars drove by, and quite a few birds were chirping. As I sat there, I contemplated Werner’s Pentagon of Performance, particularly the ‘Stifle Yourself’ corner.

Pentagon of Performance diagram

Then I came inside, fed the dogs, and let them out to run around for a bit. After they had finished their business, I let them back in and gave them each a small dog biscuit.

Since I hadn’t quite finished up my latest Patreon https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor article, The Forgotten Teachings of John Boyd, I decided to knock that out and post it. It’s my second article this week about Boyd’s work, the first being A Tale of Two OODAs. Boyd’s scholarship is so superficially understood that I periodically have to address aspects of it. I decided to spend this month doing that since I have several weeks of convalescence ahead.

AAA cover forgotten teachings

Being very averse to chaos and drama, I decided to write a short post here about my nice quiet day. Something other than the CV drivel that seems to be pervading every aspect of our lives right now might be pleasant for my subscribers and friends.

We’ll get through this. We live in the United States of America, the most wonderful place in the world and the best place that has ever existed on the Planet Earth. I give thanks every single day that I am so fortunate as to live here.

I have a question …

A friend sent me an email today that I think is very worthy of sharing. He is a twice retired POlice Officer, graduate of the elite Rogers Shooting School, and very seasoned firearms and tactics trainer.

What is your overall opinion of competition preparing you for a real gunfight?

I published my response on my Patreon page, which is generally limited to my subscribers there. It’s an important topic so I decided to make it publicly available. https://www.patreon.com/posts/33975252

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.

View original post 90 more words

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 →

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.

1000 Days of Practice (Part II)

An implied task, the first time of the 1,000 days, was simply devising a way of getting through it. To avoid boredom and make the process efficient, I recorded cassette tapes of several different regimens. The regimens were all based on my needs at the time, which mostly consisted of improving my competitive performance in IDPA and other shooting sports. I limited them to 10 minutes duration so I had compact practice blocks. When I wanted more practice, I could do more than one in a day, sometimes consecutively and sometimes one in the morning and one in the evening.

Having a specific structure for my practice also helped avoid ‘grabasstic gunclicking,’ which as a friend said, is what dryfire often devolves to. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had inadvertently incorporated one of fundamentals of tactical decision-making; have a plan ahead of time. My decision-making research of the past few years made the value of having several practice regimens available quite obvious to me. John Boyd’s Aerial Attack Study was instrumental in providing me with this moment of clarity.

My regimens of the second 1,000 Days are considerably different than those of the first. Several of the regimens are based on higher level police qualification courses, such as the Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course (pre 9/11) and the LAPD Bonus Course. While most police qualification courses are easily cleaned by a competent marksman, a few are much more demanding and I prefer that.

In other cases, I took police quals that had a good basic structure but mediocre standards and enhanced them. My favorite is the State of Illinois Police Qualification Couse. For the armed private citizen, the distances and round allocations are good but the standards are so low that some of my friends in Ill‑Annoy can literally pass it with their eyes closed. The enhancements I made were to make the target smaller, cut the times in half, and do parts of it Primary Hand Only and Support Hand Only.

Being a fan of the NRA Markmanship Qualification Program, I developed dryfire versions of both Defensive Pistol I and Defensive Pistol II. The time limits set for these courses are quite generous but they have an accuracy standard of 100 percent. Since we’re accountable for every round we fire, I like the idea of a strong accuracy standard, in general.

DPI table

In a defensive encounter, every bullet you fire that doesn’t hit its intended target is headed straight for a bus full of nuns and orphans being followed by a limousine of personal injury lawyers on a conference call with the District Attorney.

There are also some improvisations I like to make. My research into Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes made me a believer in the absolute necessity of verbalizing and being able to use a flashlight in conjunctions with a handgun. I usually dryfire something like Defensive Pistol I using a flashlight at least once a week.

cheek technique

One of the concepts I retained from my first 1,000 Days was making a good hit with the first shot. There’s too much emphasis placed on shooting fast in the community and not enough on making sure the first shot counts. Based on the incidents in my databases, I came to the conclusion that making a solid first hit above the diaphragm is the way to gain the initiative in an armed encounter.

Then I told myself, ‘Hey, I need to slow down and aim better.’

What if your situation or job precludes you from having access to a firearm every day? Some thoughts about that in Part III.

 

 

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.