John R. Boyd’s "Patterns of Conflict" Brief

While discussing my attempt to understand PISRR in 4GW, Chet Richards of Defense and the National Interest suggested that I focus on some slides on late United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd’s epic brief, “Patterns of Conflict.” I took about four to read it and left astounded. What Thomas P.M. Barnett’s brief is to globalization, Boyd’s is to war.

I used the reconstructed Powerpoint

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though a facsimile of the slides is also available

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Over the next few weeks I will try to post on topics in Patterns of Conflict, to help me better understand this work.


I also took the the following unsolvable cryptogram of notes. Cryptic, neh?

warning: waterfall of victories creates failure, slide 40
warning: top-down attacks, pg 49
pro-waterfall: pg 65
agitprop/we-can-do-it 68
daily-kos-extremism pg 69
fake orders in politics 71
need for delegation 73
long political training during peace — then what about insurgencies?: 75
Schwerpunkt — Future Worth Creating? or Heart of the Beast?
fractals: 80s
quickly, Blitz 4GW not possible? 88
alien atmosphere, hence syphilis?: 91
need for popular early causes, agitprop, also SC ’00 decision?: 92
Reharmonize population BEFORE victory? Too much “capital” needed?: 96
Was SA guerrilla unsuccessful? How does that effect analysis: 98
similarity between 4GW/NCW: 102
saving delay: 106
need to help Sunnis: 108
my Dean experience: 109
Clinton/DNC as moral counter-guerrilla?/ different from GWs? 111
Kerry v Kos: 116
Overload/strategic despair 118
Human rights / moral conflict 119
similarities / differences to global guerrillas: 121
Parts of moral isolation / Aaron’s nightmare /evolutionary: 123
Kerry v Kos (again) 124
horizontal rule sets 125
FAA = FUD? what about MUM? 126
of DA, in ooda, GPASC 128
SDDOS == PISRR in different order?, Centralize/Decentralize 129
… but what about adversary’s successful? super-enemies? 130
“paths of least resistance” — in Senate, Reid is resisting or attempt to create new channel? 133
how does “moral fiber” relate in corrupt world of politics? 134
“Categories of Ruin” 136
“mop up or absorption” – marginalization or absorption in politics? 137
“penetrate [Pisrr] his being” / Full Spectrum 138
“end conflict” make sense in politics? non-ideological times? 140
PNM Grand Strategy 141
“internal harmony” – Larry’s electron comments 142
is “generous terms” in politics possible? 143
“some unifying vision” A Future Worth Creating / higher level than Schwepunkt 144
conspiracy/”theocracy” theories 149
strengthen channel and filibuster 150
“baited retreats” in politics 152
“senior commanders” is plural — lack of one authority possible/advisable? who are political anti-tankmen? 153
projected mental image/”theocracy” — both form AND temp 156
equilv of Barbarossa mistakes in politics? 171
encourage conspiracy theories 176
implies many technoguerillas? 177
“unsolvable cryptogram” – warns of popularizing strategy (Bush vagueness in GWOT?) 179

Download either the new powerpoint or original pdf, and learn a lot!

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