Why Boyd is Agile

More analysis on Boyd’s theories from Chet Richards in his latest post at Fast Transients, Why Boyd is agile: Keep in mind when Chet speaks of agile, fast transients and adaptability, he is speaking to the not only the physical dimension but the moral and mental dimensions of conflict as well. Often times when we cops read “operate at a faster tempo or rhythm” we focus on the physical aspect of speed and begin to rush things, such as; pursuing a person who is fleeing or out drawing someone with our firearm. It is important not to get lost in the physical only as we think about agility and begin to understand mental and moral aspects and their affects on outcomes and the aftermath of our responses.

The physical is important in executing actions, but the mental and moral helps us, gather information and knowledge that becomes actionable, as we interact and opportunities present themselves. If we are positioned (set up) advantageously  the physical maneuvers for action become fast, agile or adaptable not just through physical speed of movement but through positioning and help us reach the outcomes we seek. Positioning or setting up can have a profound affect on deescalating incidents as an adversary sees no other way out but to comply. If de-escalation fails you and other resources are positioned in a way where the actions you decide to take puts all at less risk. As Sun Tzu says; Some may see how to win. However, they cannot position their forces where they must. This demonstrated limited ability.

The concept of Agility is important to modern day law enforcement. Let’s take a look at what Chet has to say and attempt to get a deeper understanding as its benefits will have a profound affect at the street level.

Why Boyd is Agile:

Boyd virtually never uses the word “agile,” but it’s hard to read any of his presentations without running across concepts that seem like agility.

For example, you’ll find this right at the beginning of Patterns of Conflict:

Idea of fast transients suggests that, in order to win, we should operate at a faster tempo or rhythm than our adversaries—or, better yet, get inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop. (5)

“Fast transients,” “operate at a faster tempo or rhythm,” “get inside adversary’s observation-orientation-decision-action time cycle or loop” (whatever that means) certain have that agile feel.

Then a few pages over:

It is advantageous to possess a variety of responses that can be applied rapidly to gain sustenance, avoid danger, and diminish adversary’s capacity for independent action. (12)

“A variety of responses that can be applied rapidly,” sounds pretty agile (note that it is the application, not the responses themselves, that is rapid).

Boyd is closely associated with the style of combat known as “maneuver warfare.” Although that term doesn’t appear in Patterns, he does discuss a category that he calls “maneuver conflict.” and one of its components is:

Fast transient maneuvers: Irregular and rapid/abrupt shift from one maneuver
event/state to another.

Near the end of the theory section of Patterns (what follows is “Application”), in the “Theme for Vitality and Growth,” we find:

Adaptability: Power to adjust or change in order to cope with new or unforeseen circumstances

Continue reading Chet's analysis here:

Stay Oriented!