(John Boyd)

Knowledge Center


Information Warfare. Explanation of OODA loop of John Boyd.


  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
  6. Print

The OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act) is an  information strategy concept for information warfare developed by Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997). Although the OODA model was clearly created for military purposes, elements of the same theory can also be applied to business strategy. Boyd developed the theory based on his earlier experience as a fighter pilot and work on energy maneuverability. He initially used it to explain victory in air-to-air combat, but in the last years of his career he expanded his OODA Loop theory into a grand strategy that would defeat an enemy strategically by - psychological - paralysis.

Boyd emphasized that strategy should always revolve around changing the enemy's behavior, not annihilating his forces. The parallel between Boyd's ideas and the masterpiece of Sun Tzu, "The Art of War", are obvious. Both Boyd and Sun Tzu advocate the ideas of harmony, deception, swiftness and fluidity of action, surprise, shock, and attacking the enemy's strategy.

Colonel Boyd viewed the enemy (and ourselves) as a system that is acting through a decision making process. This decision making process is based on observations of the world around it. The enemy will observe unfolding circumstances and gather outside information in order to orient the system to perceived threats. Boyd states that the orientation phase of the loop is the most important step, because if the enemy perceives the wrong threats, or misunderstands what is happening in the environment around him, then he will orient his thinking (and forces) in wrong directions and ultimately make incorrect decisions. Boyd said that this cycle of decision-making could operate at different speeds for the enemy and your own organization. The goal should be to complete your OODA Loop process at a faster tempo than the enemy's, and to take action to lengthen the enemy's loop. One tries to conduct many more loops "inside" the enemy's loop, causing the enemy to be unable to react to anything that is happening to him.

Colonel Boyd stated that the enemy's loop can be lengthened through a variety of means. Boyd's aim is to generate "non-cooperate" centers of gravity for the enemy through ambiguity, deception, novel circumstances, fast transient maneuvers, and the use of Sun-Tzu's idea of Cheng and Ch'i. By isolating the enemy's centers of gravity and developing mistrust and cohesion within the system (making them "non-cooperative"), friction will be greatly increased, paralysis in the system will set in, and the enemy will ultimately collapse. By attacking the thought process of the enemy / competitor, his morale and decision process can be shattered.

Book: Sun Tzu, Gary Gagliardi - The Art of War -

Book: Carl Von Clausewitz - On War -

OODA Loop Forum
  Books on Boyd and his OODA Concept
'The Mind of War' and 'The John Boyd Roundtable' a...
  OODA Loop in Education / Schools
Can anyone illustrate the use of OODA Loop in any ...
  OODA Loop = Competitive Intelligence
In other words, competitive intelligence is: obser...
  OODA Loop & John Boyd
Orientation also involves probing for new informat...
  OODA & Adaptive Enterprise
I was surprised not to see anything about Stephan ...

OODA Loop Special Interest Group

Special Interest Group

OODA Loop Education & Events

Find Trainings, Seminars and Events

Best Practices - OODA Loop Premium

Expert Tips - OODA Loop Premium

Weaknesses of the OODA-LoopSign up

Rousseau and Breton identify some limitations of t...
Usage (application): Limitations of OODA

An Improved Version of the OODA-loop with Feedback and -forward LoopsSign up

Rousseau and Breton developed an extended version ...
Usage (application): OODA-loop, Complex Decision Support, Defense, Best Practices

Resources - OODA Loop Premium

Full 200-slide Powerpoint Presentation by BoydSign up

A monumental look by Boyd at what makes any organi...
Usage (application): Strategy, Conflict, OODA Loop

A Cognitive Version of the OODA LoopSign up

The OODA loop has been proposed to represent the d...
Usage (application): Complex (Military) Dynamic Decision Support

OODA Loop DiagramSign up

Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic...
Usage (application): Competitive Intelligence

Orientation Step in the OODA-loopSign up

This presentation expands on the second point in t...
Usage (application): Orientation Phase, OODA-Loop

News about Ooda LoopSign up


News about Ooda BoydSign up


Videos about Ooda LoopSign up


Videos about Ooda BoydSign up


Presentations about Ooda LoopSign up


Presentations about Ooda BoydSign up


Books about Ooda LoopSign up


Books about Ooda BoydSign up


More about Ooda LoopSign up


More about Ooda BoydSign up


Compare with the OODA Loop of John Boyd:  Deming Cycle  |  Organic Organization  |  Business Intelligence  |  Force Field Analysis  |  Scenario Planning  |  PEST Analysis  |  SWOT Analysis  |  System Dynamics  |  Simulation

Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills  |  Knowledge & Intangibles  |  Leadership  |  Strategy

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group Leader

You here

OODA loop Boyd

Chart adapted from Chester W. Richards, "A Swift, Elusive Sword: What if Sun Tzu and John Boyd did a National Defense review",

Center for Defense Information, February 2003, 22.

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2018 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.1 - Last updated: 18-2-2018. All names tm by their owners.