Why Does Understanding The OODA Loop Matter to Cops?

Don Vandergriff of Adaptive Leader talks about John Boyd's OODA Loop, why it matters and the implications and opportunities for adaptive leaders in any organization, including the police.

"Machines don’t fight wars. People do and they use their minds. You must get into the minds of humans for that’s, where the battles are won."~Col John Boyd

So what can we do better to gain the advantage and keep it throughout our interaction with a suspect?

How do we continually improve our situation awareness so we can manage things safely and effectively?

The answer lies within the concept known as the OODA Loop aka—the Boyd Cycle.

Col John Boyd discovered that conflicts are competitions between you and the suspect(s) using Observation, Orientation, Decision, and Action. These cycles known as OODA Loops, divides understanding into FOUR processes each feeding the next.4

1) OBSERVATION: what we see through all of our senses, including our, sixth sense,

2) ORIENTATION: your understanding of what’s happening NOW,

3) DECISION: what do we DO, and


The idea of the OODA loop is that the advantage goes to those that can complete the decision cycle fastest. It stresses that situation awareness allows you to set the tempo by creating friction, or, slowing down a suspect(s) decision making cycle. This suggests that disrupting a suspect(s) thinking process and improving your own, is the crux to winning.

How to think through problems, adapt and solve problems is what the OODA Loop is all about. It's a famework every cop should know!

You can read more about the OODA Loop and its application to Law Enforcement and Security by reading Don Vandergriff and I's new book; Adaptive Leader Handbook: Innovative Ways to Teach and Develop Your People.

Stay Oriented!