Variations of the OODA Loop 5, Post-Boydian Loops

Note: This is a selection from Variations of the OODA Loop, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06

Recognizing the validity of the Boydian OODA Loop, several authors have moved beyond it. At the simplest level, this may be for ease of modeling – for instance, combining Orientation and Decision in a calculation implementation operation.45 Likewise, De Vin et al have taken the naive Boydian loop, renamed “Orientation” to “Interpretation,” and declared the loop a model of “information fusion.”46 This fusion approach is expanded by the “Omnibus Model,” which describes itself as an “extension of the OODA control loop” and adds “fusion” steps after each of the four naive OODA processes, and discusses the four naive stages in more detail.47


The next degree of complication are those authors who incorporate the OODA loop into something grander. For instance, tdaxp has argued that the OODA Loop and the Boyd’s PISRR stages of victory together form a social cognition loop.48 Developed independently of the OODA-PISRR loop and its waveform implications,49 “Tactical Battle Rhythm” subsumes the OODA loop as just one axis of freedom in a multidimensional wave.50

More radical modifications seek to change the OODA loop itself. Again, not all variations are equally revolutionary. The Iterative OODA Loop is merely a naive OODA loop that allows feedback between orientation and observation51 – it can be viewed as a compromise between the naive and sophisticated Boydian loops. This and other variants are described by Rousseau and Breton in their paper on the Module OODA loop,52 which focuses on sub-processes and

is a modification of the classical OODA loop. The modular architecture refers to the organisation [sic] of a set of modules to model the OODA loop. In the M-OODA loop, the specific modules are defined by the four high-level processes of the OODA loop.

The authors of Module OODA later revised their work.53 This new version, the Cognitive OODA loop, accepts MOODA’s basic assumptions while attempting to reduce distortions that may have entered the model. Another alternate model, along with another admirable literature review, accompanies a description of a “Dynamic OODA Loop,”54 which its eight steps of gathering, finding, assessing, laying, deciding, planning, writing, and monitoring.

The ECOM loop, which beings with “events/feedback” and concludes with “produces,” is a radical reinterpretation that “has its roots” in the naïve OODA loop.55

Other variations have sought to improve the practical interpretation of the OODA loop, typically taking the naïve loop as a starting point. Bryant devised the CECA (Crique-Explore -Compare-Adapt) loop56 to be more precise for military needs and emphasize pro-active behavior. Another naïve-derived loop, Collation, Processing, Analysis, and Distribution, has a similar origin.57 Similarly, Boehm and Turner believe a spiral interpretation would increase agility,58 while Ehresman and Frantzen wish to integrate the naïve OODA into the U.S. Navy’s maneuver board process.59

Variations of the OODA Loop, a tdaxp series:
Variations of the OODA Loop 1: Introduction
Variations of the OODA Loop 2: The Naive Boydian Loop
Variations of the OODA Loop 3: The Sophisticated Boydian Loop
Variations of the OODA Loop 4: Pseudo-Boydian Loops
Variations of the OODA Loop 5: Post-Boydian Loops
Variations of the OODA Loop 6: Bibliography

2 thoughts on “Variations of the OODA Loop 5, Post-Boydian Loops”

  1. Dan,

    The fact that I’ve been frigging busy at work, (an actually facing a civil rights group investigation), combined with the fact that commenting on blogspirit was out of whack from my location, prevented me from commenting heartily on this series of posts. I think the problem is solved now. Have you seen the OODA Cable? I think you might be interested in this paper by some fellow officers.

    I was an assessor in a C2 exercise earlier this year and came up with some insights on the OODA “Loop” as it pertains to our targeting cycle. Which, BTW it worked wonders against AMZ. I am working on a post based on the deliberate planning process and how it relates to the OODA Loop particularly the feedback aspect of it. In my opinion, most of our work needs to be done in the feedback aspect of the “loop”. Sometimes, we can get in a “feed the beast” mentality and lose sight of the feedback necessary to adapt and adjust our position. This is particularly important at the operational level where the feedback is not immediate and sometimes has to be seek out aggressively. Take care, dude.

  2. Sonny, thanks! Your comment is just the reason I posted this online — excellent feedback that makes me learn more about OODA.

    The article you mention, “A Decision for Strategic Effects: A conceptual approach to effects based targeting” by Tighe, Hill, and McIntyre, which I hadn’t found on my own, describes the naive OODA loop iterating. The graphics for this are very clear. The Clausewitzian OODA trinity sure is an interesting variation!

    Thanks again!

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