We have mentioned Col. John Boyd's name before, but I don't think we ever emphasized the true significance of his legacy.
Robert Coram, who wrote the biography of John Boyd, considers him the greatest military theoretician since Sun Tzu. In many respects, he is absolutely correct. Boyd thought first and foremost of his country, his fellow citizens, and his country's security. Personally, I consider him my hero. I can count more fingers in one hand than the number of individuals I would call a hero.
Therefore, I think it's a disgrace the US Air Force largely discredited him (fortunately, the US Marine Corps later adopted him). It bothers me when people steal his ideas and don't cite him. It also bothers me when people still do not know who he was and what he did; every American should know who he was, what he did, and his life story.
I won't list his life accomplishments -- he died in 1997 -- though they are numerous. The purpose of my post is to urge you all to read more about Col. John Boyd and to talk with the people who were closest to him.
You should start with Robert Coram's Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0316796883/qid=1128312397/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-7164526-3004732?v=glance&s=books) (paperback). Here it is in hardcover (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0316881465/qid=1128313174/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/104-7164526-3004732?v=glance&s=books). I have read many biographies -- this is the best one. Amazon's customer reviews can back up my assertion.
Below are what I consider John Boyd's <b>official</b> Web sites (hosted by Dr. Chet Richards):
Defense and the National Interest - http://www.d-n-i.net
War, Chaos, and Business - http://www.belisarius.com
A pure Warrior.
It is breathtaking that his insights and unrivalled understanding of his subject has gone almost completely unnoticed by most people as it is relevant to every aspect of human endevour. Even more remarkably, it has gone unnoticed by most military institutions particularily outside the States.
10-07-05, 04:07 PM
John Boyd's influence is no longer confined to the US alone. Insurgents, such as the Kurds in Turkey (their website and the quoted article below can be found here (http://www.dozame.org/article.php/20050810083318103)), have taken his teachings seriously:
EDITORIAL: Emergence of a better Kurdish 4GW frightens Turkey
Wednesday, August 10 2005 @ 08:33 AM CDT
August 10, 2005
The increase of remote-controlled bombs used by HPG (People's Defence Forces) forces in northern Kurdistan has apparently frightened the Turkish General Staff. Writers in the Turkish media are equally scared. Why? The 'notion' of the Turkish army being 'supreme and almighty' is being shattered for every bomb set off by Kurdish HPG guerrillas, traumatizing the Turkish state and its followers.
A whole new Kurdish guerrilla army has evolved itself to a modern and better 'Fourth Generation Warfare' (4GW) force. The prominent American military analyst homepage 'Defense and the National Interest' defines 4GW as "...all forms of conflict where the other side refuses to 'stand up and fight fair' [...] In 4GW, at least one side is something other than a military force organized and operating under the control of a national government, and one that also transcends national boundaries [...] One way to tell that 4GW is truly new is that we don't even have a name for its participants—typically dismissing them as 'terrorists,' 'extremists,' or 'thugs.'" ('Defense and the National Interest', http://www.d-n-i.net)
Even though HPG has long been a 4GW force, their latest developments have made them evolve into a better and modern 4GW force capable to wreck havoc and fear in the Turkish military ranks merely with a force of 2,000-something in an area where the Turkish army has at least 300,000 soldiers. (Even lately extending this area from Kurdistan to the Black Sea provinces of northeastern Turkey.) What also differs HPG from the earlier and less effective ARGK (the People's Liberation Army of Kurdistan, which was later formed into today's HPG) is their successful 'phantom' attacks on Turkish forces in urban areas. Their ability to move in and out of and even stay in urban areas has also eliminated the need of logistic support in the rural areas, which was the former ARGK's lifeline. Logistic support can also therefore now be attained in the urban areas of Kurdistan which gives the HPG a chance to prioritize military development.
The emerge of 'new' military technology used by the HPG has also earned them a prominent place among professional 4GW forces. Remote-controlled explosives which was a luxury for the former ARGK has now been used on almost daily basis by the HPG. Techniques and technologies have been filtered through practice since 1984. The new era of Information Technology has given HPG a broader range of technology to experiment with. They have apparently successfully deployed the new technology, thus scaring the hell out of the Turkish generals.
An interesting observation is that HPG is now playing by all the rules set up by international conventions, treaties and war-laws [Jus in Bello] (which ARGK unfortunately occasionally broke). People in the military or with a military background will definitely see why HPG now is using remote-controlled bombs instead of anti-vehicle and anti-personnel landmines. The reason is the 'Ottawa Treaty'. According to the 'Ottawa Treaty' (banning landmines) a landmine is defined as "primarily designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate , injure or kill one or more persons". Which means that if a mine sets itself off automatically by the presence, proximity or contact of a person, it is forbidden to be used by the countries signing the treaty.
Taking the US military 'Claymore' mine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claymore_mine) as an example could explain why HPG is not breaking this treaty. The Claymore mine ceases to be a "mine" if the mechanism (in this case, a wire connected to the detonator) is activated manually by a soldier. That is, if the wire is pulled by a soldier when his counterpart approaches the ambush. When the Claymore is set off manually, it ceases to be a mine and is instead defined as a support weapon used for ambush. Same concept is valid for remote-controlled "mines". If they are set off manually by an attacker, it becomes a support weapon instead of a landmine.
Writers in the Turkish media, such as Mehmet Ali Birand, calls HPG's use of remote-controlled bombs a "terrorist campaign" and they are, as they always do, claiming that such a mindset (they mean, using remote-controlled bombs) is going to be the "end of the PKK".
Which brings us to another interesting fact. That HPG has not signed the 'Ottawa Treaty' and even though the ICBL (International Campaign to Ban Landmines, http://www.icbl.org/) has not listed HPG as an "NSA" (Non-State Actor), the group is still abiding the treaty by transforming mines into support weapons and setting them off manually with a remote-control.
But Turkey reacts, realizing that eliminating a 4GW, a modern and 'boundary ignoring' fighting force, is impossible unless you weaken its base of support. The late American strategist Col. John R. Boyd suggested a “Grand Strategy” for an America in war, which the Editor of the 'Defense and National Interest', Dr. Chet Richards, thinks is also relevant in a war with a 4GW force. (The referral to the 'adversary government' can be changed to 'adversary organisation'). This is what Col. Boyd suggested:
* With respect to ourselves, live up to our ideals: eliminate those flaws in our system that create mistrust and discord while emphasizing those cultural traditions, experiences, and unfolding events that build-up harmony and trust. [That is, war is a time to fix these problems, not to delay or ignore them. As an open, democratic society, the United States should have enormous advantages in this area.]
* With respect to adversaries, we should publicize their harsh statements and threats to highlight that our survival is always at risk; reveal mismatches between the adversary's professed ideals and how their government actually acts; and acquaint the adversary's population with our philosophy and way of life to show that the mismatches of their government do not accord with any social value based on either the value and dignity of the individual or on the security and well being of society as a whole. [This is not just propaganda, but must be based on evidence that our population as well as those of the uncommitted and real/potential adversaries will find credible.]
* With respect to the uncommitted and potential adversaries, show that we respect their culture, bear them no harm, and will reward harmony with our cause, yet, demonstrate that we will not tolerate nor support those ideas and interactions that work against our culture and fitness to cope. [A "carrot and stick" approach. The "uncommitted" have the option to remain that way—so long as they do not aid our adversaries or break their isolation—and we hope that we can entice them to join our side. Note that we "demonstrate" the penalties for aiding the enemy, not just threaten them.]
Boyd says that the uncommitted and the potential adversaries have “often been slighted or even antagonized in modern warfare” and they are prioritized in his ”Grand Strategy”. He says that in order to “influence the uncommitted or potential adversaries so that they are drawn towards our philosophy and are empathetic toward our success”, one must show: “appreciation for the underlying, 1) self interests, 2) critical differences of opinion, 3) internal contradictions, 4) frictions, 5) obsessions, that we as well as the uncommitted and any potential or real adversaries must contend with”, which Dr. Chet Richards calls: “Sun Tzu's admonition to 'know the enemy and know ourselves' a step or two farther: to know potential opponents and the uncommitted as well as we know the enemy and ourselves.”
Strikingly, these are the techniques that Turkey has always used. They only fail the advice to “eliminate those flaws in their system that create mistrust and discord while emphasizing those cultural traditions, experiences, and unfolding events that build-up harmony and trust.”
As in the 80's and the 90's, Kurdish civilians (the PKK's base of support) are attacked and the attacks blamed on the PKK. As in the 80's and the 90's, Turkey get help from other Kurdish circles that are willing to call the PKK a "terrorist organisation" and willing to be used as 'alibis', nodding in response to every ridiculous claim uttered by the Turkish state (they are the “evidence” that the uncommitted and the potential adversaries can find credible). Some are as always directly and militarily involved and are called para-military Village Guards (which they use to show that “real Kurds” are also fighting “these so-called Kurds”) and some always pose as prominent civilians, 'politicians and intellectuals', the 'true voice' of the Kurdish struggle (as they are defined by a Turkish media posing as the Kurds best friend, as in the 80's and the 90's).
So an observer who has had the opportunity to follow PKK's struggle against the Turkish state in the 80's and the 90's realize that nothing is new in Turkey's approach. The only thing new is a treaty-abiding Kurdish resistance movement which has successfully shown initiative, innovation, adaptation and evolved itself to a better movement and has also done what Turkey should have done a long time ago: “Eliminated those flaws in their system that create mistrust and discord while emphasizing those cultural traditions, experiences, and unfolding events that build-up harmony and trust.” And the Turkish media barking hand-in-hand in unison with its Kurdish collaborators won't change that fact.
10-08-05, 02:02 AM
Certain to WIn by Chet Richards is without a doubt one of my top picks among my library of strategy books. Not only a book with a wealth of knowledge, but also a new perspective on strategy.
Mr. Richards does an exceptional job of applying Boyd's theories to business and everyday life. I have read it and reread it several times. Something new presents itself with every reading (remind you of another strategy book?). Seriously, a must read for any strategist . :thzup:
Might I also suggest a reading of Sonshi's interview with Mr. Richards?
Richards interview (http://www.sonshi.com/richards.html)
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