The preference for violence of action is not one that comes naturally to me, and I had to have it hammered into me as an infantryman, but luckily, I can pretty well turn it on when I need to still.

That being said, I had an insight when I was reading about mental models and decision-making: generally speaking, the strong preference for speed of decision and vigor of execution makes the most sense in situations where the payoff is characterized by satisficing, but becomes less useful in situations where the payoff can be maximized.

It makes sense that the military would develop a strong preference violence of action: almost every single decision has a payoff judged by satisficing, and further, since so much of the uncertainty is shaped by agents in conflict, there's often intrinsic value just in being the one to change the situation proactively.

On the other hand, situations where the more right you get things, the better the payoff, maybe even exponentially better, tend not to have as tight time windows, and the uncertainty is far more often due to the other factors you named, like complexity.

Anyhow, the only point of raising this is that I always had a sense that "violence of action is always best" was a heuristic with limitations (like all heuristics), but this distinction helped me figure out what those were. Hope it's interesting and useful to some others.

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FWIW - mostly because this is a contrarian view by someone who's had expertise and skin in the game, and makes at least a few good points :


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The OODA Loop isn't strategy. The OODA Loop is tactics. As strategy the OODA Loop doctrine is worse than useless.

Notice what's missing from the OODA Loop doctrine, any notion of thinking more then one OODA Loop ahead. In a strategy context getting inside your opponent's OODA loop means being more short sighted than your opponent.

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If all of Philosophy is "mere footnotes to Plato", then all Modern Military Theory are "mere footnotes to Colonel Boyd & friends". The past few decades of advancements in doctrine have cemented this.

The Decomposition of the OODA-loop is precisely the reason why the new "MAD[->E]" (i.e. Missiles, Artillery, Drones [-> Escalation]) are pursed by Murica's adversaries.

In a way, even though they have long since disrupted one or more elements of said acronym, they have been unable to go out of said framework.

This is because the OODA loop best describes (as neatly & succinctly as possible) the role of Human Agency & Volition in warfare; something which the European writers (like Clausewitz & friends) forewent in favour of larger, more Deterministic & 'aloof' factors BEYOND said things.

The New MAD has decomposed the OODA-loop in the following manner:

1] Regarding "Observation" - As Martyanov notes in "The Real Revolution in Military Affairs", you cannot "stop that which you cannot see" (paraphrasing). Enter Hypersonic Glide Vehicles; low orbit, invisible to radar munitions that cannot be "Seen" by most conventional means. This is "M".

2] Regarding "Orientation" - Drones & Loitering munitions in general have made conventional notions of "Orientation" useless. The Human mind can only be 'fully alert' for a limited period of time. Drone Swarms, timed & executed at proper time intervals means a rupture in said feeble mental orientation. "You can't orient if you cannot steel your nerves".

3] Regarding "Deciding" & "Decision" - Stalin's observation that Artillery is the 'god of war' has only been cemented further by advances in Russian doctrine. Today's Russia (and to a smaller extent China & Iran) can *disrupt* wholly or in part most Ground based decision making using Heavy Artillery. Likewise, strikes to air & naval facilities can disrupt in whole or part said areas.

4] Regarding Action - The final variable... namely "[->E]"!

The idea here is that given sufficient leaps in Missiles, Artillery & Drones and their effective use on the field (qualitative & quantitative), All meaningful avenues of Action are constrained & cut off. In Chess terms, the Foe/Enemy is in "Zugzwang" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang )

This is "Escalation Dominance" of a particular sort. The "[]" mean 'YIELDED' so "MAD[]" read "Missiles, Artillery & Drones YIELDED". The "->" is just "Resultant". So... "MAD[->E] reads "Missiles, Artillery & Drones YIELDED resultant Escalatory Dominance".

So this is the step above merely "Material" Escalation Dominance (which is primarily regarding logistical & related concerns pre-battelfield); this is "OODA-defeasible" Escalation Dominance. Or to put it in less jargon filled terms... "De-feasing" Escalation Dominance.

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A more easily readable "OODA Loop" figure is available here: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OODA.gif

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“When you have a flamethrower, the plate level of your enemy is irrelevant.”

-Sun Tzu (maybe)

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This OODA loop seems to be an explication of the intuitive tactics of brown-eyed organisms that Morgan Worthy describes (one of which, fittingly, is the peregrine falcon): to act with all swiftness and adjust one’s approach as observations accumulate, immersing oneself in the feedback so that cognition, intuition, and reaction are congruent. Interestingly, the very first thing Boyd mentions in his 5-slide presentation is “genetic heritage.” Boyd seems to have had brown eyes too.

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Is this directly related to those "more pressing matters" you mentioned in the October 18th post - https://treeofwoe.substack.com/p/the-theology-of-the-hypsistarian :

"Next week we will turn our attention to other, more pressing, matters. Having stated last month that we had a mere 16 months until the end of the world as we know it, I now believe I was overly-optimistic." ?

Asking just for context.

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The US Military: taking childishly simple concepts and turning them into acronyms. Join today!

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Thanks for the heads up on Boyds book, I will make it my next listen.

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