Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997) was a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, combat instructor and co creator of the Energy Maneuverability theory of aerial combat. Boyd, who actively studied Sun Tzu and his Art of War, was a legendary strategist whose ideas and methodology have had great influence and lasting impact on everything from military to corporate strategy. While an instructor pilot, Boyd was so confident in his theories on air warfare, that he had a standing bet that he could defeat any pilot in air combat maneuvering in less than forty seconds from a starting position of disadvantage. Boyd’s foremost strategic concept was the OODA Loop. A conceptual cycle for understanding the decision loop one goes through when reacting to an event. Boyd reasoned correctly that he who can decide and act effectively first, will win in any combat situation (or any type of confrontation/challenge for that matter).
The inevitability of an adversaries defeat when cycling through the decision loop at a slower rate is that one is caught responding to situations that have already changed, thereby catching one unaware, confused and vulnerable to destruction. Boyd also summised that if one was aware of the key principles of the “decision cycle” or OODA Loop and truly understood its implications, then one would not only focus on taking productive action faster, one would also infiltrate the decision making cycle of his opponent and attempt to misguide or disrupt it, causing his adversary to choose incorrectly and act in error, thereby leading to his defeat.