Colonel John Boyd’s “Patterns of Conflict” Online

Screenshot of Patterns of Conflict presentation by John Boyd

John Boyd’s famous brief “Patterns of Conflict” has had a huge positive influence on both the military and government for several decades. Sadly, it has largely been inaccessible to most people for years because no one had included his visual aids when they recorded him delivering his presentation.

That problem has now been solved. I received permission from the Boyd family to recreate his original slides using modern presentation software and to edit them together with an enhanced version of the original video recording.

The Air Force fighter pilot inspired a generation of Pentagon reformers. His energy-maneuverability discovery in the 1960s fundamentally changed aircraft design. He was also instrumental in the development of the F-15 and F-16 fighter planes. But his greatest work came after he retired in 1975. Throughout his life, he made many observations about conflict and human interaction that he combined with voluminous reading to create a broad theory on warfare, which he turned into “Patterns of Conflict.” This is how he presented to the world his observe-orient-decide-act decision cycle, or OODA Loop, that is so famous today.

To ensure John Boyd can inspire a whole new generation of reformers, I have uploaded the improved versions of the videos—now paired with the slides that illustrate what he’s saying—for all to experience.

Photo of Dan Grazier

By: Dan Grazier, Jack Shanahan Military Fellow

Dan Grazier is the Jack Shanahan Military Fellow at the Project On Government Oversight

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