By Tom Clarke
He then began to apply these universal elements and realize that “time” was a major contributor in terms of how one side of the engagement balanced or used their “time” against the other. The side that was able to keep up the pace of the battle or the side, which set the tempo of the engagement usuallydominated and was triumphant. The concept of time is imperative in regards to the elements of preparation and outcomes of conflict. It can best be described by utilizing what has come to be known as the OODA Cycle. If we continue to explore Boyd’s representation of battle, we can see the importance of time as it relates to conflict by employing the Observation -Orientation – Decision – Action (OODA) Cycle.
Let’s take Observation first. During confrontation, each party makes note of their physical surroundings, the threat, and their own presence within the context of those surroundings then they Orient themselves to the situation. This is to say that they assess and identify the conditions, circumstances, and elements that they must contend with. The brain then analyzes this information and creates a mental image of what is about to be dealt. After our observations and analysis have been completed, we then come to the Decision stage in which all the information has been processed taking into account the situation and your own and/or your unit’s abilities and limitations relative to the situation. Lastly, we must execute thedecision by taking Action. The Action taken depends on all the factors that led up to the execution phase.
The OODA Cycle is continuous and the individual who, can maintain clarity, consistency and speed in the execution of this cycle will have a greater advantage over their enemy. The nature of combat is fluid; it is constantly changing and thus requires constant attention because it istime sensitive. It is simply a tool that when used properly can greatly increase your odds of winning the engagement.