Robert Coram highlights the noble life of John Boyd. John
spent a lot of time alone
during his childhood.
He: excelled at swimming and was a lifeguard, enlisted in the
Army Air Corp while at school which rejected him for pilot
training, was part of the Japan occupation force where he swam;
so the US paid for him to attend University
of Iowa, where he: joined the Air Force Officers' training
corps, was accepted to be an Air Force pilot, and got engaged to
Mary Bruce. illustrates the dynamic in
Boyd trained at Nellis AFB to become a
combat ready pilot in
the Korean War.
While the US Air Force focused on
Strategic bombing, Boyd loved
dogfights. His exceptional tactical ability was
rewarded with becoming an instructor. Boyd created new
ways to think about dogfighting and beat all-comers
by using them in the F-100.
He was noticed and enabled by Spradling. As he trained, and defeated the top
pilots from around the US and allied base network, his
reputation spread. But he needed to get
nearer to the hot spring in Georgia, and when his move to
Tyndall AFB was blocked he used the AFIT to train in engineering at
Georgia tech. While preparing to move he documented his FWS training
and mentored Ronald Catton.
While there he first realized the
link between energy
At Eglin, in partnership with Tom Christie,
he developed tools to model the link. They developed
comparisons of US and Soviet aircraft which showed the US
aircraft performing poorly. Eventually General Sweeney
was briefed on
the theory and issues with the F-105, F-4, and F-111.
Sent to the Pentagon
to help save the F-X budget, Boyd joined forces with Pierre Sprey to
pressure procurement into designing and
building tactically exceptional aircraft: a CAS tank killer and a
fighter. The navy aligned with
Senators of states with navy bases, prepared to sink the
F-X and force the F-14 on
the Air Force. Boyd saved
the plane from the Navy and the budget from Congress, ensuring
the Air Force executive and its career focused hierarchy had the
freedom to compromise
on a budget expanding over-stuffed F-X (F-15). Boyd requested to
retire, in disgust.
Amid mounting hostility from the organizational hierarchy Boyd
and Sprey secretly
developed specifications for building prototype lightweight
fighters with General Dynamics: YF-16;
and Northrop: YF-17; and enabled by Everest Riccioni.
announced a budget of $200 million for the services to spend on
prototypes. Pierre Sprey's friend Lyle Cameron picked a
short takeoff and landing transport aircraft and Boyd's lightweight fighter to
Boyd was transferred to Thailand
as Vice Commander of Task
Force Alpha, inspector general and equal opportunity
training officer; roles in which he excelled. And he
started working on his analysis of creativity: Destruction
and Creation. But on completion of the tour Boyd was
apparently abandoned and sent to run
a dead end office at the Pentagon.
The power hierarchy moved to protect the F-15, but: Boyd,
and the Air Force chief of staff; kept the
lightweight fighter budgeted and aligned with Boyd's
requirements in a covert campaign. The Air Force
threw a phalanx of developers at the F-16, distorting Boyd's
concept. He accepted he had lost the fight and retired
from the Air Force.
Shifting to scholarship Boyd reflects on how rigidity must be destroyed to enable
creative new assemblies. He uses the idea to explain
the operational success of the YF16 and F-86 fighters, and then
highlights how the pilot can take advantage of their
infrastructure advantage with rapid decision making he
explains with the O-O-D-A Loop.
Boyd encouraged Chuck Spinney
to expose the systemic cost overruns
of the military procurement process. The military
hierarchy moved to undermine the
Spinney Report and understand the
nature of the reformers. Boyd acted as a progressive
mentor to Michael
Wyly, who taught the
Marine Corps about maneuver
warfare, and Jim Burton.
Finally, after the military hierarchy appears to have
beaten him, Boyd's ideas are tested during
the First Gulf War.
Following our summary of his main points, RSS frames the details from the
perspective of complex adaptive system (CAS) theory. Boyd was Darwinesque, placing the art of
air-to-air combat within a CAS framework.
Barriers are particular types of constraints on flows. They can enforce
separation of a network of agents allowing evolution to build
diversity. Examples of different types of barriers: physical
molecules can form membranes, probability based,
cell membranes can include controllable
leverage membranes, symbiosis, human emotions, chess, business; and
their effects are described. barriers
to: the visibility of