In a comment to an earlier post, Duncan Kinder had suggested that: Broken OODA loop = madness. This got me to thinking about what a “broken OODA loop” might be. Could Kinder be right? [Readers not familiar with the concept might want to glance over “Boyd’s Real OODA Loop,” available from the Articles page at Fast Transients.]
Boyd never used the term “broken OODA loop,” but he did outline what he expected OODA loops to do, on page 1 of The Essence of Winning and Losing (also available from the Articles page.):
Without OODA loops, we can neither sense, hence observe, thereby collect a variety of information for the above processes, nor decide as well as implement actions in accord with these processes.
Or put another way:
Without OODA loops embracing all of the above and without the ability to get inside other OODA loops (or other environments), we will find it impossible to comprehend, shape, adapt to and in turn be shaped by an unfolding evolving reality that is uncertain, everchanging, and unpredictable
Then, on page 3:
Also note how the entire “loop” (not just orientation) is an ongoing many-sided implicit cross-referencing process of projection, empathy, correlation, and rejection.
A “broken loop” would imply a process that is no longer “ongoing, ” no longer performing its functions of “projection, empathy, correlation, and rejection.” The upshot is that we can no longer “comprehend, shape, adapt to and in turn be shaped by an unfolding evolving reality that is uncertain, everchanging, and unpredictable.” “Madness” is most apt.
For More Information (and a picture of a OODA loop)
Special Note: The artwork image: “Deligthful Madness” by Cyril Walker, oil on canvas.
(a) Other posts about OODA loops:
- Boyd’s Real OODA Loop, Fast Transients.
- John Boyd, Conceptual Spiral, and the meaning of life, Fast Transients.
- The lowdown on OODA Loops.
- How OODA loops break.
(b) Posts about America’s broken observation-orientation-decision-action loop (OODA loop)
- The housing crisis allows America to look in the mirror. What do we see?, 8 March 2009
- The magic of the mainstream media changes even the plainest words into face powder, 24 April 2009
- The media – a broken component of America’s machinery to observe and understand the world, 2 June 2009
- We’re ignorant about the world because we rely on our media for information, 3 June 2009
- A great, brief analysis of problem with America’s society – a model to follow when looking at other problems, 4 June 2009
- Does America have clear vision? Here’s an “eye chart” for our minds., 15 June 2009
- The weak link in America’s political regime, 16 September 2009
- DoD did not consider troop levels when devising our latest Af-Pak war plans, more evidence that their OODA loop is broken, 8 October 2009
- Attention fellow sheep: let’s open our eyes and see the walls of our pen, 16 October 2009
- America’s broken OODA loop in action: a swarming attack by ankle-biters in our intelligentsia, 26 February 2011
- Today’s geopolitical analysis. Let’s laugh while America’s wealth flows down the drain., 11 August 2011
- A look at an enemy of America, and a discussion about the execution of al-Awlaki, 13 October 2011 — Facts are less important than our tribal loyalty.
- Facts are an obstacle to the reform of America, 20 October 2011
- Chuck Spinney explains our broken OODA loop, 25 September 2012