Center for Strategic Communication

“I was an up-and-comer in the Air Force. I was selected early for Major. I was selected early for Lieutenant Colonel. And then I met John Boyd….”
– Jim Burton

In terms of depth and intellectual firepower, Boyd & Beyond 2013 was among the best of the conferences dedicated to the memory and strategic legacy of Colonel John Boyd. Every presentation was good and at least four ventured into the realm of outstanding.  Spanning two roughly twelve hour days, there was enough time for speakers to engage in a genuine give-and-take with the audience and for general debate to flow.  Conference organizers LTC  Colonel Stan Coerr and J. Scott Shipman deserve thanks and recognition for the success of the conference that saw participants from all service branches, the intelligence community, the defense industry, academia, the professions, scientists, private sector, retirees, students and special guests Col. Jim Burton and Mary Ellen Boyd, daughter of Colonel John Boyd.

See a superb photographic presentation of Boyd & Beyond 2013 by John Davis here.

The two day agenda:

0730 Introduction – Stan Coerr, master of ceremonies…. 

Stan kept everything focused and moving, kept us fed and did much of the behind the scenes trouble-shooting

0800-0900 Michael Niehuser  ” The Colonel John R. Boyd Oral History Project”

Photo: Dr. Michael Niehuser "do something strikingly original"

“Do something strikingly original…”

This was a fantastic kick-off to the conference. Niehuser is interviewing Boyd acolytes, associates and adversaries and creating transcripts of their recollections of John Boyd as a theorist, fighter mafia guru and military reformer. Niehuser discussed his interviews and then let the stories speak for themselves.  This needs to become a book!

0920-1020 LTC Francis J. H. Park, PhD ” How the USMC Came to Maneuver Warfare” 

Photo: Maneuver warfare and Gulf War I.

“Maneuver warfare is a religion….”

Park, an active duty US Army strategist spoke for an hour plus without notes on the evolution of maneuver warfare in the USMC from an idea to an insurgency by the “Dirty Dozen” ( a group including presenter Bob Weiman and future General James “Mad Dog” Mattis) to doctrine. Then came the test of battle – coalition operations during the Gulf War – and the degree to which a Boyd influenced concept was involved in the first defeat of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. A tour de force brief!

1040-1140 Col. Jim Burton “Recollections of John Boyd”

Photo: Col. Jim Burton" [John Boyd] made generals very nervous"

[John Boyd] made generals very nervous” 

Col. Burton is the man who famously challenged the Pentagon over the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and whose dramatic resignation in protest caused Congress to force a re-design on the Department of Defense so that the carrier would be something more than a rolling crematorium for the men inside. A close associate of John Boyd and the subject of nightly Boyd phone calls, Burton spoke on the occasion of his donation of  his private papers to the John Boyd Archive located at the Al Gray Center.

1215-1315 Michael Moore “Boyd and the Big Picture”

Photo: Michael Moore. "Magicians fool us when we accept their starting points..

“Magicians fool us when we accept their starting points. Boyd was not fooled; he did not accept that the superior MiG15 was beaten by the F86 because of some ‘magic’. Boyd dug. And he came up with the OODA. With one way of re-picturing the OODA, we can go beyond what Boyd has left us…” 

British psychologist Michael Moore’s presentations nudge his listeners to insight, parceling out clues modeled on Boydian theory, moving from physical periphery to moral center.

1335-1405 LTC Andrew Dziengeleski “Operational Planning in Afghanistan or How John Boyd Rolled Over in his Grave”

Photo: LTC Andrew Dziengeleski "what we have done in Afghanistan has made zero difference....our orientation was wrong..."

“What we have done in Afghanistan has made zero difference….our orientation was wrong…”

In what was the most controversial address of the conference, LTC Dziengeleski spared no one in his blistering critique of American failures in Afghanistan and it’s costs, including himself, apologizing at one point to the audience for not having been able to have done more. His examples were legion and the debate provoked was the most vigorous of the conference and continued online.

1420-1450 Mark Hart “A Graphics Version of Operating Inside Adversary’s OODA Loops”

Photo: Mark Hart discussing part of his upcoming book, Developing Winners

This was different.Previously, use of Power point had been strongly discouraged at Boyd & Beyond but here Hart used animation to elucidate aspects and dimensions of the OODA Loop, including the famous aerial maneuver used by “Forty Second Boyd” to best adversaries in dogfight practices. Hart has an upcoming book soon to be published, Developing Winners.

1605-1650 Alexander Olesker ” Counter-Deception in the Information Age

Photo: Alex Olesker "deception and counter-deception are the same....channels are really important"

“Deception and counter-deception are the same….channels are really important”

In a brief about the principles of deception in the cyber world, Alex discussed “Hacking the OODA Loop” with unexpected inputs, influencing action,  ”Bending the map” and the deception cycle, illustrating his points with humor and case studies.

End of day 1 – more to come!