Showing all posts tagged #grand-strategy:


Dogfight Tacks Can Win Big Wars, Preaches Pilot Turned Tactician clipping

Posted on May 11th, 2020

January 4, 1981 Among fighter pilots, "getting inside" of an opponent in a dogfight often means the difference between life and death. Getting inside means turning and maneuvering more quickly than the enemy so you can fix your guns on his plane before he gets a good look at you. For 25 years, John Boyd, once a topnotch fighter pilot and now a retired Air Force colonel, has wrestled with ideas about how to make that simple-sounding...

John Boyd on Al Qaeda's Grand Strategy clipping

Posted on May 10th, 2020

Col. John Boyd (he died in 1997) is considered one of America's best military thinkers. His thinking dramatically influenced the plan of attack in the first gulf war. Boyd's thinking also serves as a good basis for a deeper understanding 4GW (fourth generation warfare). Grand strategy, according to Boyd, is a quest to isolate your enemy's (a nation-state or a global terrorist network) thinking processes from connections to the e...

Michael Nylan Interview on new Art of War translation clipping

Posted on August 26th, 2019

As we approach Sonshi.com's 20th anniversary on August 12, 2019, there is no better way to celebrate than to highlight a brand new Art of War translation by a woman scholar of the highest order, Michael Nylan. Dr. Nylan is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. She earned her PhD from Princeton University in East Asian Studies. The China Story Journal aptly describes her as one of the foremost historians tod...

The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation clipping

Posted on June 27th, 2019

The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth GenerationWilliam S. Lind, Colonel Keith Nightengale (USA), Captain John F. Schmitt (USMC), Colonel Joseph W. Sutton (USA), and Lieutenant Colonel Gary I. Wilson (USMCR) Marine Corps Gazette October 1989, Pages 22-26The peacetime soldier's principal task is to prepare effectively for the next war. In order to do so, he must anticipate what the next war will be like. This is a difficult ...

Deconstructing Conflict clipping

Posted on June 26th, 2019

Editor's note: The following paper is an example of what John Boyd called a "snowmobile," a synthesis of ideas from across a variety of domains (interested readers can see see how Boyd develops the notion of "building snowmobiles" in his briefing, Strategic Game of ? and ?, available here on DNI, then scroll down.)Snowmobiles result from analyses combined with trials at a synthesis. Since it is virtually imp...

The Myth of Grand Strategy clipping

Posted on June 26th, 2019

Summary: What would a grand strategy for America look like? This critiques our current policies and Barnett’s proposals in terms our limited wisdom and power. It ends with recommendations for design of a modest but functional strategy for America.ContentsIntroductionWhat is grand strategy?Primal StrategiesGrand Strategies are a ChimeraBarnett’s Grand StrategyWhy do Grand Strategies Fail?America’s Need for a Humble Grand StrategyNatur...

Zen and the Art of Business Books clipping

Posted on March 24th, 2019

This is Tokyo, circa 1832. The print is "Nihonbashi no hakuu" by the Ukiyo-e master Andō Hiroshige. Many years ago, my wife found a copy in a consignment store in Atlanta. I don’t remember what she paid for it, but she assures me that framing it cost many times the purchase price. Since we’ve been here in South Carolina, we’ve had it reframed to show off the stamps and writing around the borders. Intro to Chapter 6, Surprise and An...

Is it agility or adaptability? clipping

Posted on December 21st, 2018

I tend to think of "agility" as adaptability with a time dimension, that is, the ability to adapt more rapidly to new situations than can competitors or opponents. That may not, however, be the only or even a very good way to think about these concepts. Here’s an alternative view:AQ is hot right now – but is it the Adaptability Quotient or the Agility Quotient?Kristopher Floyd Founder and CEO, TeamMate AINovember 13, 2018 Originally...

What was Boyd Thinking? clipping

Posted on May 21st, 2018

What was Boyd thinking and when did he think it?In his own words:For the interested, a careful examination will reveal that the increasingly abstract discussion surfaces a process of reaching across many perspectives; pulling each and every one apart (analysis), all the while intuitively looking for those parts of the disassembled perspectives which naturally interconnect with one another to form a higher-order, more general elaborat...

Aiming at the Center

Posted on April 3rd, 2018

Mount Kailash, depicting the holy family: Shiva and Parvati, cradling Skanda with Ganesha by Shiva's side. This image represents the Axis Mundi, or the Cosmic axis, which represents the "connection between Heaven and Earth" or the "higher and lower realms". Notes The Story of Jacob The story of Jacob, later Israel (he who struggles with God). After serving his time with his uncle Laban, and being deceived by him in the most karmic o...

John Boyd’s Art of War clipping

Posted on April 22nd, 2017

Why our greatest military theorist only made colonel. John Boyd during the Korean War Off and on for about 20 years, I had the honor of working with the greatest military theorist America ever produced, Col. John Boyd, USAF. As a junior officer, Boyd developed the energy-management tactics now used by every fighter pilot in the world. Later, he influenced the designs of the F-15 and F-16, savin...