Talk:OODA loop

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is it OH-DAH (as in "oh" in "uh-oh") or OO-DAH ("oo" as in poodle)? (talk) 03:51, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

It is just read as the four letters. O - O - D - A as far as I know. P0M (talk) 00:18, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
It is pronounced OO-DAH with the OO pronounced as it is in poodle.--Looper5920 (talk) 05:25, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I've heard all of those, and been corrected from each to use each of the others. I try to remember to pronounce "OODA loop" as "Boyd loop", and have never been corrected for doing so. htom (talk) 12:34, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I think there are alternatives that came later. Probably Boyd's own way of understanding and explaining things changed as he refined his observations. Boyd was trying to understand the process by which he wiped other pilots out. Implicit in his thinking is the observation that in the time between being scrambled and initial visual contact with an opponent a pilot has the time to think is measured discursive terms, e.g., to review flight characteristics of the airplane types he may be up against. After visual contact occurs, much more "computing power" goes to ongoing assessment of the opposition, building an internal map of the current situation, etc. When combat is engaged, the processing occurs in a mostly non-discursive way. Feedback is monitored at all times, and it is directed toward updating the internal map and projections based on that map, always seeking a way to victory. After the battle, a survivor can go back to discursive mode and prepare to be debriefed. This entire process, as diagrammed by Boyd, involves many feedback loops. One question, regarding any alternatives to the Boyd loop(s), would be whether they uncover new processes that find no place in Boyd's scheme. P0M (talk) 22:44, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

It is pronounced "OOH" as in poodle. If you read the Boyd biography by Coram, they recite a discussion in which Boyd (who stated the individual letters O-O-D-A) was annoyed that everyone in his presentations just called it OODA (like a single word). A friend advised him to let the users own the pronounciation, so Boyd rolled with "OODA," too. Aetius41 (talk)Aetius41. —Preceding undated comment added 14:48, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Needs comparison to alternatives[edit]

This article needs to explain what alternatives to the OODA Loop are, and the advantages and disadvantages. In particular, if this is the operative paradigm now, what was it before? --James S. 03:31, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

There are a lot of snippy answers ("Ready, Fire, Aim, Blame." is one); mostly, there wasn't one. Boyd's remarkable idea is that there is a process there to be examined. htom (talk) 22:16, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps it was OODA: Observe, Overreact, Destroy, Apologise. -- (talk) 16:00, 17 December 2009 (UTC)
How about, "Think before you act." I don't mean to be flippant but while I can see the advantage of having the approach formalised with a name, I don't believe the OODA loop represents the unique understanding of the problem which its proponents imply. Just my view.

Existing text was plagiarized[edit]

In trying to track the source of this material, I found extremely similar text at In fact, it looks like the text in Wikipedia up to 21-oct-2006 was lifted straight off that page, with a lot of re-wording. The re-wording did not help; it was still clearly plagiarized, and in fact made the idea a lot less clear. I contacted the owner/author at that site and he does not object to the use of the material, so I am keeping the general outline and have attempted to clarify it -- rather than rewrite it from scratch. User:keno 06:49, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

The above link is now dead.
It was moved to

Maybe this is an even better source since the previous one is based on it: 16:37, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

The above is a dead link.P0M (talk) 19:28, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

As to the "clearly plagiarized," be very careful when you make such accusations. Check out the history of changes and go back to the document you thought was written in 1995. The man got his B.S. in 1995 and was going for a higher degree in 2007. P0M (talk) 00:15, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I stand corrected. Looking at the building history of this article, especially around 2005-06-03, it's clear how it was built up over time, so it looks like the TKDtutor article was more likely lifted from here than the other way around...his language is tighter and better, though. (When I wrote to him about the suspected plagiarism, he didn't enlighten me as to the source of the wording, so I assumed it was original. That's what happens when I assume, I guess.) Keno (talk)

01:49, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

The TKD article preserves language that was present in almost the earliest version of the Wikipedia article:

It's ironic that the TKD article is copyrighted. P0M (talk) 09:01, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

When I wrote it was a first draft. It's part of the Wikipedia process for other people to spot problems in writing and edit to improve. One of the things that the people in the series of articles and edits did, however, was to change a vital point. I haven't had time to re-read all of the Boyd materials to find the point where he talks most clearly about it, and I wanted to make a clear citation before I put up something that might get knocked down again by somebody with opinions. The business about "getting inside somebody else's OODA Loop" has been misunderstood, misinterpreted to others, and it looks to me like some of our problems in Iraq have arisen because people in power with opinions have the "little knowledge" that is a "dangerous thing."
First, one should understand that for Boyd, consciously or unconsciously, there is an analogy between being in a dogfight and being about to out-turn one's opponent so that one can get behind the guy who was the pursuer and light his tail with cannon fire. That is faster action based on greater maneuverability, and yet it is not at all random. The more generalized form of the idea has to do with maneuverability in a more abstract sense. Every action requires a certain amount of time. A reaction to it requires another amount of time. Both actions expend resources (lives and wealth). The price of victory has to be within the limits of one's resources, so it is advantageous that the battle not go on too long. But the point of being "inside" the opponent's OODA loop is to be through one or more meaningful step(s) while one's opponent is tied up in reacting to one's initial step.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq, our forces moved in blitzkrieg mode to the capital. Either we acted so fast that they could not react, or they chose not to react. While we were on the way in to Baghdad the "first O," observe, had a clear object. Our forces were looking for military opposition, and they had a clear advantage over their opposition. Once we were in Baghdad what we had to observe changed. But we were generally blind until the moment a roadside bomb exploded. We were generally blind to the passage of guerrilla forces moving about Bagdad and other heavily populated areas. We frequently mis-observed wedding parties and other non-military activities as being military activities, destroyed them by air or other attacks, and then created and reinforced the very factors that lead to insurgency. We can't even reliably observe movements of insurgent troops from bases over the border in Pakistan.
Being inside somebody's OODA loop means going from "observe" mode to "act" mode, back to "observe" and through to "act" again before one's opponent can deal with the consequences of one's first action. A commonplace example is one of the tricks used by terrorists. One bomb is exploded. It results in some casualties and lots of confusion. The local authorities react by rushing in emergency vehicles to care for the injured and search for the perpetrators. At that point a second, larger, bomb goes off.
At an even faster tempo there is an example in one of the Japan Karate Association videos. It shows a series of matches between the best black belts in that organization. In one match an attacker moves in on his opponent and in quick sequence aims two punches at his head. Each attack is picked off by blocking, so both the hands of the defender are above his head and his attention is drawn upward. Attack three come in the form of a kick at the solar plexus level (or maybe a little lower than that. The defender cannot defend against that attack because he is still dealing with attacks 1 and 2.
On a much slower tempo, an attack might begin with the assassination of a national leader with planted evidence to convince one ethnic or religious group that the attack came from its counterpart. One result might be that populations would draw together in preparation for a feared civil war. The second step in the attack would involve release of two plagues, one kind for concentrations of one group. The third step might be the destruction of the communications infrastructure by missiles or guided bombs. A fourth step might be the arrival of "pacification" forces from a "friendly" nearby nation. While the population was absorbed in the recent death of their president or prime minister and preparing for a civil war, they would discover that many of them were dying of some plague, and they would attribute this event as fitting into the narrative of the leader being assassinated by one group or the other. Destroying the communications infrastructure would severely affect any attempts to draw the country back together again by anybody who might have figured out that the killer of the leader was not a local group, and that both sides were really being affected by different plagues. The attackers might even succeed in splitting the armed forces into opposed forces grouped along religious or ethnic lines. The hope of the attackers would be that their main work would be to bring the plagues under control with stockpiled inoculations, dispose of the dead, and install a puppet regime. If the sequence were to be properly timed, then there would not be time enough to work out the identity of the real assassins before the country started to split along religious/ethnic lines. While that misapprehension still persisted, the two groups would experience themselves as being targeted by biological attack from the other side, and before any clear thinkers could succeed in communicating with a meaningful fraction of the population, the means of mass communication would all disappear.
The idea that "getting inside the opponent's OODA loop" can be done merely by a sequence of seemingly random actions, or randomized actions, is not anything that Boyd ever advocated. Furthermore, such a plan could not be justified on Boyd's principles because that course of action wastes both time and energy/resources to no gain. P0M (talk) 07:16, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

More uncited text:

"the enemy aircraft comes into radar contact, more direct information about the

speed, size, and maneuverability of the enemy plane becomes available, unfolding circumstances take priority over radio chatter. A first decision is made based on the available information so far: the pilot decides to "get into the sun" above his opponent, and applies control inputs to climb. The pilot then observes whether the attacker begins reacting to the change of altitude?..."


Wrong 1995 was when he got his B.S. P0M (talk) 04:23, 13 September 2008 (UTC) (talk) 16:16, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

This is really weird. I remember writing the following text. I always write first draft out of my head, and I never read Bailer's article. Are you sure that it was from 1995?

Before the enemy airplane is even within visual contact range, the pilot will be absorbing any new information about the nationality of the attacker. He will be reviewing his own previous experience that tells him what groups might attack at this time. If the pilot has any indication of the likely identity of the attacker he will be considering any information he may have pertaining to the cultural traditions that may come into play. Perhaps the likely genetic heritage of the presumed attacker will make the pilot consider possible issues of body mass, reaction to lower than normal levels of oxygen, etc. So even before the enemy comes into view, the pilot is looking at several scenarios that suggest themselves and forming analyses and syntheses. The pilot at this point has the leisure to be somewhat contemplative, but also needs to keep alert to his radio for outside information and keep a weather eye for unfolding circumstances.

When the enemy aircraft comes into radar contact, more direct information about that speed, size, maneuverability, etc. of the plane becomes available; Unfolding circumstances become very much more the center of attention than chatter from home base, and it becomes imperative to make a first decision based on the hypotheses that are forming on the likely national identity of the attacker, the flight characteristics of the aircraft if it has been identified visually or otherwise, etc. Perhaps the pilot decides that it should be possible and reasonably safe to "get into the sun." Back to observation: Is the attacker reacting to my change of vector? Back to orient: Is the pilot reacting characteristically, i.e., does it look like my original attempt to orient to the situation is panning out? Or is this pilot acting like a lost student pilot or a semi-conscious pilot? Then feed forward to action: Go for the sun! Unfolding interaction with environment: What is the reaction of this pilot? Observation: This plane is at least 10% faster than anything I've seen before. Outside Information: Call back to base: "Who in blue blazes flies fighters that can top my speed?"

When the enemy aircraft comes into dogfight range there is really not much time to devote to orienting unless some new, and stunning, information pertaining to the actual identity of the attacker comes into play. At this point, the information is a cascade in real time, and the pilot, if he is to survive, is primarily depending on fingerspitzengefühl, the ability that Rommel seemingly had to have his mental fingers on the pulse of all of his troops and all of the enemy's troops. Observe by eyes, seat of the pants, instrument panel... Decide, but not on a discursive level because if you slow down to think it out in words you've already been hosed. Act. and with no perceptible time lag you are observing the result, and deciding, and acting...

If the pilot's opponent is any good at all, he is going through the same cycle. How does one interfere with one's opponent's OODA cycle? How does one interfere with the enemy's fingerspitzengefül? One of John Boyd's primary insights in fighter combat was that it was more important to be able to change speed, direction, and altitude more rapidly than one's opponent than it was to simply be able to fly faster than one's opponent. If one's opponent was coming up from behind, that meant that your plane was in his gunsight. It might be possible to accelerate and put greater distance between the two fighters, but machine gun bullets and guided missiles can fly even faster than either plane. It is better to be able to turn faster than your opponent can turn, and therefore to be able to get behind him, or to be able to decelerate so rapidly that the opponent cannot follow suite and therefore run out in front of you. That is one meaning of the phrase "getting inside one's opponent's OODA cycle." The other meaning, the other application of the OODA cycle, derives from the military strategies first developed in Sun Tzu's Art of War. The other meaning involves almost literally getting inside the cycle -- getting into one's counterpart's thinking processes by creating opportunities for one's opponent to see what one is or what one is doing as though it were something else, and therefore reacting inappropriately in the conflict situation. As one of Boyd's collegues, Harry Hillaker, put it in his article, "John Boyd, USAF Retired, Father of the F16,":

The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.

I suppose it is possible that somebody read the above, cut out some of the good spots, edited the rest, published it... Who knows what the exact sequence was without doing a lot of double-checking.P0M (talk) 19:10, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Either I have esp or the above text could be used to replace whatever was written by the other author. Note how the text (actually from on or before 15 June 2007) text shortens the text I wrote in 2005, e.g. "Unfolding circumstances become very much more the center of attention than chatter from home base,Unfolding circumstances become very much more the center of attention than chatter from home base," becomes "unfolding circumstances take priority over radio chatter." A further point of evidence is that I made an improved chart (I think the original one just had four "balls", O, O, D, and A, and I bolded the points in my text that echo labels on the diagram. I seem to remember changing the original GIF or PNG into an SVG and putting it on Commons at some point. P0M (talk) 20:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Before you accuse people of plagiarism you should check out the dates carefully. P0M (talk) 20:02, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

Check out this diff: by Keno.

Then look at the previous version by KAM:

The stuff that was copied from the 2007 dissertation was inserted by Keno.

It was my text, written in 2005 that was replaced by text written on or around 15 June 2007. The author of that text got his B.S. in 1995.

See the archived version of 3 June 2005:
I wonder who the author of the articles cited above might have been. Both URLs are dead now, no? P0M (talk) 00:46, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

See the archived version of 3 June 2005: All the other versions showed up in 2006, no?P0M (talk) 04:53, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Ties to philosophy[edit]

The Orient stage is equivalent in philosophy to ontology. People believe certain things exist and certain things don't, and they also believe they function and interact in certain ways. That determines what they believe is possible and impossible, likely and unlikely, and so on. Thus, the guerilla warfare of the American Revolution was difficult for the British to overcome because that's just not how armies are supposed to act. On September 11, 2001, the world realized that boxcutter knives and jetliners were lethal weapons when combined; until that point, the ontological implications were not considered a security threat.

Philosophical postmodernism thrives on redefinition or reconceptualization, and as such, operates in the Orient stage by changing the operational ontology. In The Matrix, for example, it took knowledge from outside the system to deny the apparent reality of the artificial sensory data and step outside the rules of the arbitrary physics simulation. -- (talk) 02:32, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

The postmodernist stuff comes out of Heidegger, and before him (but probably unacknowledged, from Edmund Husserl and his phenomenology. Those 20th century developments arose out of Kant's attack on naive realism. The ancient Chinese philosophers were ahead of the lot of them about 2000 years ago. John Boyd was explicitly indebted to the work of Sun Zi and Sun Zi was close to Lao Zi (i.e., the philosophy of the Dao De Jing.
Part of the modern art of war has to do with creating "realities" for the enemy to see. In the lead up to the invasion of Nazi dominated Europe from Great Britain, there were enormous efforts made to create by prestidigitation (well, slow motion prestidigitation) the appearance of troop movements that would indicate a target for beach landings that was not actually the one chosen.
Creation of a "reality" for the enemy to see and react to is one part of the art of war. Deconstructing the "reality" that one's enemy has made, tearing away the disinformation, is another part of the art of war.
Recently, scientists interested in perception have been asking magicians how they perform their illusions. It turns out that the more one attends to one thing the less one is able to attend to something else, so one of the prime techniques of the illusionist is to get the audience to devote lots of CPU time to something that is not relevant. One of the things that Boyd talks about is total situational awareness. Another of the ideas that come up, at least in the discussions of people who have their own take-offs on Boyd's work, is that one will intensely concentrate on one's opponent in a dogfight. The first thing wrong with the idea of total concentration on the adversary at hand is that his friend may be drawing a bead on you from a distance. The second thing wrong with this total concentration on what reason or lore says is important may be that the enemy is doing something crucial out of your awareness.
Back to the original topic -- the tradition that Sun Zi was close to teaches a mental discipline that Americans frequently have only seen in Michael Jordan's "getting into the zone." P0M (talk) 21:59, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

opening sentence[edit]

The italicized words in the opening sentence are not all formatted the same - please look at that and fix it, I don't know how. (talk) 07:48, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The initial letters of four words are put in bold text because they form the acronym OODA. Is that what you are talking about? It's intentional.P0M (talk) 09:11, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Linked website closed[edit]

The d-n-i dot net website that the links go to seems to have closed down, although it was online two weeks ago. But much of the stuff from the website can be recovered through the Wayback machine. Perhaps someone more interested in the material than me could put them on another website somewhere? May be a good idea to bundle the documents yup in an archive file for easy downloading. (talk) 21:31, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

They have been replicated on a number of websites. Is this still an issue? Eschatologicalguy (talk) 18:58, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
It would be nice if the files could be loaded into Wikipedia Commons. Some things probably are U.S. government properly, just as are the NASA photos. I think that would be the case if Boyd was working on the clock when he published them. On the other hand, he did not stop writing after he retired, so his estate would have the copyrights to those documents.
One of the good things about the printed word is that even if what someone has written has only been published in journal articles it can still be found is libraries here and there. Technology really matter to the preservation of information. Books printed around 1200 are still is almost like new state in China because the paper that they were printed on has not deteriorated with age. Books published in the first half of the 20th century often crumble in the reader's fingers because the paper was made with an acid process that decomposes the paper over the course of a few decades. Electronically published stuff could theoretically disappear as the result of one flash of lightning. And of course there are those of us with data stored on 8" floppy disks... P0M (talk) 00:19, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

-- None of the links work now.. Emsed1 (talk) 19:59, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

fig: feedbacks identical here, pls chk func.[edit]

i saw another ooda fig. from smt? net where one feedback line is from decision to second o. will someone doublecheck?! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:40, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

It would help if you could give us the URL of the diagram you saw. To me it seems unlikely to be accurate, but perhaps I am guessing wrong about how the line was drawn.P0M (talk) 03:15, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

The OODA loop diagram is missing links, has one arrow in the wrong direction. Please see page 344 of Robert Coram's 2002 book BOYD: THE FIGHTER PILOT WHO CHANGED THE ART OF WAR. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:43, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

Fixed.P0M (talk) 22:44, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

needs a criticism section[edit]

While there has been a lot of positive spin on this, its application to land battles has been criticised

cheers Greglocock (talk) 01:37, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

I wonder how this is a thing? To me it seems like a rather theoretical bunch of obvious things and ancient wisdoms packed into a approach\doctrine\scheme. It becomes interesting when concrete, applicable, non-obvious\trivial consequences are derived. The article must hint at these. --Moritzgedig (talk) 14:37, 4 February 2015 (UTC)