Boyd's Relevance Today
In a comment, Ian Grigg asks, “I haven’t got to the modern stuff yet, so quite what he has to say that is currently relevant eludes me for now.” Over at Defense and the National Interest, there’s an article that draws heavily on Boyd:
In a new briefing [1.7 MB PPT], three retired officers—each hailing from a different service—lay out a vision for how the U.S. military must reorient itself to help meet security and reconstruction objectives in Iraq.
In fact, successive iterations of “orientation” and “reorientation” as circumstances change are key to success in Iraq, but such an adaptive approach is largely missing there, argue the retired officers—Marine Corps Col. G.I. Wilson, Army Lt. Col. Greg Wilcox and Air Force Col Chet Richards.
All are longtime experts in “4th Generation Warfare,” a form of conflict in which a nation’s highly sophisticated military can be undermined by alternatively organized adversaries using unconventional tools and methods. Fourth-generation foes—like the insurgency in Iraq—may rally around cultural, religious, race, tribal or ideological similarities, rather than identify with a single nation or governing regime.
The structure of the presentation is a Boyd Cycle: Observations, Orientation, Decisions, and Actions. It’s a quite good assessment, I think, of what’s happening in Iraq.