SWJ Blog: Hoffman on Osinga and Boyd

I’d like to highlight a post that, while not part of the roundtable unfolding here, certainly represents an informed and welcome addition to the discussion of John Boyd’s strategic vision as analyzed by Dr. Frans Osinga:

Frank Hoffman, the respected military theorist and contributor to the excellent SWJ Blog has weighed in with a timely review:

Unlocking the Keys to Victory

The intellectual contributions of the late Colonel John Boyd, USAF, have already been the subject of two fine biographies. Robert Coram’s Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War provided a window into Boyd’s life as a fighter pilot, technical innovator and maverick defense reformer. Grant Hammond’s Mind at War John Boyd and American Security summarized Boyd’s main arguments. Both of these efforts are well regarded and helped rectify the limited record Boyd left behind. Regrettably, Boyd’s career is too often truncated into well known “OODA Loop.”

But Boyd had a lot more to offer. His contributions to flying tactics, fighter development, and operational theory are profound. The historical analyses and scientific theories he employed are not well documented nor well understood. This is principally due to Boyd’s reliance on briefing slides. Colonel Frans Osinga fills out our collective understanding with The Science, Strategy and War. In this very deliberate review, the author works his way through the arguments and source material of Boyd’s famous briefs including “Patterns of Conflict” and “A Discourse on Winning and Losing.” He highlights the diverse sources that shaped Boyd’s thinking and offers a comprehensive overview and remarkable synthesis of his work, and demonstrates that Boyd’s is much more comprehensive, strategically richer and deeper than is generally thought.

Read the rest here.