New Meaning for ‘OODA Loop’.

By Geoff S. Fein

Military intellectuals no doubt are familiar with the term “OODA loop,” coined by the legendary U.S. Air Force Col. John R. Boyd, who helped design the F-16 fighter in the 1970s.

OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) is a catchphrase for “getting inside the adversary’s decision cycle.” Operating inside the enemy’s OODA loop theoretically is what makes it possible to outmaneuver military foes.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, British commanders—known for their sharp wit—came up with an updated definition of the OODA loop: “Observe, Overreact, Destroy and Apologize,” according to a senior U.S. naval aviator who participated in the war planning.

“The Brits were fun to work with in the CAOC,” he said.

The CAOC is the Combined Air Operations Center, the war-planning hub for all air operations during the conflict.


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