Loopy OODA Loops:
The Triumph of Faith & Interests Over Facts & Reason
May 30, 2004
Comment: # 513
The American strategist Col John Boyd developed the theory of a continuously adaptive decision cycle — Observation / Orientation / Decision / Action Loops — as a means for staying connected to and for overcoming the external threats in a menacing environment. [see Boyd and Military Strategy]
A faith-based decision-making strategy, on the other hand, is driven by a non-adaptive ideology, akin to what Boyd would have called a hard-wired Orientation. In such a strategy, staying on message means that observations are forced through a fixed filter that sees what it wants to see, and consequently decisions and actions are driven more by the internal wiring of the Orientation than by any evolving relationship to the external world. Thus the entire OODA loop turns inside itself, connected to some rigid formality, but disconnected from the environment that loop is supposed to cope with. Remember how faith in a rigid communist ideology disconnected decision-makers in the Soviet Union from events outside themselves.
Boyd's work is crucially important because he showed that the inevitable result of a decision process that loops inside itself is growing confusion and disorder. Under conditions of menace, such a decision process risks escalation into chaos, panic and overload, leading ultimately to paralysis and collapse.
The government of the United States has not reached Boyd's endgame, yet. But the loopy behavior in the attached article, viewed through Boyd's lens, suggests the presence of an incestuously amplifying, self-referential OODA Loop headed precipitously in that direction.
"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison, from a letter to W. T. Barry, August 4, 1822
[Disclaimer: In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.]