Accession Number:

ADA374770

Title:

A Critique of The Boyd Theory - Is It Relevant to the Army

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1999-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

73.0

Abstract:

Col. John Boyd, USAF Ret, famous for developing the OODA Observe-Orient- Decide-Act loop model, spent most of his adult life trying to convince the U.S. military establishment of the merits of his theory for maneuver warfare later called the Boyd Theory. With the exception of the Marine Corps, his message found only limited appeal. Most of the services incorporated his four-step model into their doctrine simply to help describe the military command and control process. In contrast, the Marine Corps accepted his completed thoughts as a theory of warfare and adopted it as the basis for their capstone operational philosophy. This paper explores the complete theory espoused by Col. John Boyd in an aftempt to uncover the true meanings behind the famous model. The intent is to determine what it is and whether it has any utility to Army operational philosophy. This monograph begins with an exploration of the first question-what is the Boyd Theory To many it is simply the OODA loop depicting the human behavioral cycle of decision-making. To others it is a description of command and control. To true believers, it is a profound theory of warfare. To answer this question, this study begins with a review of several primary source documents including Boyds 1976 unpublished essay entitled Destruction and Creation to discern the basic elements of his theory. Building on this, the study explores the remaining unpublished primary source writings slide presentations that Boyd developed over a period of approximately 10 years to understand the completed form of his theory. After establishing a base knowledge of his theory, the study measures Boyds ideas against those of several recent critics. The monograph concludes that the Boyd Theory is primarily a conception of human interaction in conflict. As such, his ideas encompass both the process of command and control and the ideas behind maneuver warfare.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE