But take note! I have now combined this essay with the dissertation that came out of it. The new version is now available in paperback and digital editions under the title A Vision So Noble. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
In my first essay for the unit, I tried to make Clausewitz's triad circular, by applying a Hegelian dialectic in which the final term in each triad begins another, similar, and more elegant round. Thus, Strategy is the thesis, Planning the antithesis, and Tactics the synthesis, which should become the new thesis and be met in turn by a new antithesis. In the end, however, I punted the effort into the future, hoping that the late John Boyd (1927-1997) and his OODA Loop might provide a way to break out of the closed Clausewitzian triad. So it has proved.
A fighter pilot during the Korean conflict, and afterward an instructor at the US Air Force Fighter Weapons School, Boyd wondered why the F-86 `Sabre' had managed to compile a 10:1 victory ratio over the MiG-15 in Korea, despite the fact that the Russian fighter was by most measures the superior plane. It could fly higher and farther, turn tighter, and climb and accelerate faster than its American opponent. Boyd concluded that the F-86's hydraulic controls, which allowed a pilot to transition more quickly from one manoeuvre to another, also enabled him to neutralize and overcome what should have been the MiG's technical superiority. This conclusion led Boyd in turn to a theory of energy as the crucial factor in aerial combat, a finding that is now the basis of fighter pilot training throughout the world. It also guided the development of the follow-on McDonnell-Douglas F-15 `Eagle' and especially the small, lightweight, and comparatively inexpensive General Dynamics F-16 `Fighting Falcon', now flown by 25 air forces.
The American pilot also benefited from the F-86's bubble canopy, which gave him greater situational awareness than his adversary. Not only was his aircraft faster to react, but he was better able to see what the other pilot was doing-an advantage that eventually led Boyd to realize that all combat involves a cycle of Observation, Orientation, Decision, and Action.
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Posted February 2017. Websites © 1997-2017 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.