John Boyd and “4GW”: GMW and xGW Approaches

Curtis has an amazing piece that starts out on the difference between GMW (the “4GW” of William Lind) and xGW (the 0GW,1GW,2GW,3GW,4GW,5GW work that’s been done online). It beings:

Triangulating Clausewitz and Boyd – Dreaming 5GW
Recent discussions re: “GMW vs xGW” [1] [2] [3] suggest that William Lind’s Generations of Modern Warfare model is insufficient and that the newer model xGW proves more useful for understanding warfare in our present era — as well as in previous eras.

In point of fact, Lind’s model has often caused dispute, particularly on the forth tier, that is with regard to the prognostication of 4GW. Useful or not, the first three generations are descriptive of what has already occurred in our modern era and so are “pre-verified”. The fourth generation is a guess of what is to come, which has been partly verified by current conflicts but was left open enough to suggest all future conflicts.

The fact that Lind’s GMW leaves “fourth generation warfare” open to becoming whatever happens in the future — the definition is vague and fluid enough — severely limits the usefulness of GMW. What are we to learn from GMW that will benefit us, whether as a state or as individuals engaged in conflict? By leaving no room for the development of a “fifth generation of warfare” that could defeat a “fourth generation warfare”, we are left no recourse in GMW except the ability to describe: Having described 1GW through 3GW, we come to “4GW” which we can use to tag all future events. What we are to do about those events doesn’t matter and is conspicuously absent from the GMW model.

Curtis then moves on to examining John Boyd in the context of the importance and limitations of descriptions. An amazing post, and one reason I am so happy that GMW is being ditched as the empty pseudo-hegelianism that it is.

2 thoughts on “John Boyd and “4GW”: GMW and xGW Approaches”

  1. Glad you liked it!

    Much of the groundwork has been done here at tdaxp, and elsewhere, over the last couple or three years. Recent discussions here and elsewhere helped to bring it back in focus for me.

  2. Dreaming 5GW is an invaluable resource.

    Perhaps some of us should offer to visit the so-called “5GW” Boyd Conference in Canada this year, if there is a presentation session on xGW?

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