Guide The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security

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Based on extensive interviews with Boyd and those who knew him as well as on a close analysis of Boyd's briefings, this intellectual biography brings the work of an extraordinary thinker to a broader public. Additional Product Features Dewey Edition. This study is an invaluable contribution to a little known part of our military history. Show More Show Less.


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John Boyd – Misunderstood Genius of Warfighting » Can-Do Wisdom

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He can opt to be somebody - by keeping quiet on reforms and ride on his 'Forty Seconds Boyd' tactical flight success. However, Boyd chose the tougher road - to do important things and make a real contribution to society even if it was at the expense of career advancement. Like his philosophy on manoeuvre warfare, Boyd had to manoeuvre his way through to effect change.

His methods may be unorthodox and impolite but his conscience was clear; he was right and he won. It is interesting to note the fate of the military mavericks like Boyd. Despite his many ground- breaking contributions to the US military, Boyd was never really given due recognition.


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Needless to say, he never rose in the war above the rank of colonel. In the contemporary US military, Boyd is an example of a sidelined maverick; his associates, like Colonel Wyly, were forced into early retirement, because Boyd testified at a Congressional hearing that 'the Marine Corps still had senior officers with an old attrition-war mindset'.

The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security por Grant Tedrick Hammond

Boyd's final advice to the Congress in was that if nothing was changed, "it would inhibit young Marine officers from proposing crucial new ideas and the Marine Corps would be ruled by 'dinosaurs'". Is the military bureaucracy inevitably bound by Manichean politics either blend into the specific strategic culture or 'get out'? These are interesting observations and important questions for the SAF to ponder as it embarks upon its own transformation where change and creativity is not only necessary but also crucial. Perhaps Boyd has his own competitive attitude and aggressive personality to blame for not rising beyond the rank of Colonel.

However, it might precisely be this personality that flourishes creativity and drives change. His contributions are far-reaching but his career advancement does not correspond with his legacy. From this, a contribution-based criterion for military personnel's 'route of advancement' could be inferred and this plausible solution ensures that Boyd's career advancement will be assessed based on his contribution to the overall well- being of the US military and its transformation journey.

In Singapore, civil-military relations, defence diplomacy, technological innovation and strategic aspects of war have taken on a new significance. With a triangulation of both criteria, therein lies the possibility of grooming future John Boyds for the SAF. Besides, one also observes that creativity is his part-time job done at home, in the evenings and early mornings.

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Boyd reads a lot and his creativity comes in sparks. In conclusion, based on Boyd's contributions, there is little wonder why he was the first Air Force pilot to be bestowed the Marine Corp insignia during burial - the highest honour a Marine can receive. Although he deserved more in his career, his contributions to the military are beyond what the highest honour can tangibly reflect. Boyd's life shows that everything is possible with hard work. More importantly, his contributions to the US military and even the business community are more significant than many others who have higher qualifications or IQ.

This is the power of self-motivation, the right attitude towards learning and the effect of constant reading.