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Brilliant Presentation of the Wisdom of 2,000 Years
on February 20, 2007
Col Richards walks the reader through how Sun Tzu and John Boyd might have assessed 4th generation warfare and the world in which we find ourselves. His presentation is thought provoking to say the least.
Sun Tzu's wisdom has survived 2,000 years of study by people from a young Mao to the United States Marines. Sun Tzu is all about winning the battle before the battle begins. His wisdom is durable beyond expectations,
" Those whose generals are able and not constrained by governments are victorious ."
Sun Tzu speaks of "The Way" where there is unity of purpose between the ruler and the population. By inference a goal is to break that bond.
John Boyd, cigar chomping fighter pilot turned student of war. His early studies focused on why one side won aerial combat in the jet age. After annoying the Fighter Mafia of the USAF to no end he was sent off to an obscure Pentagon office, hidden exile. However, Boyd used the time to launch a study of Patterns of Conflict, which turned into a monumental brief. Out of this effort also came the OODA loop which stressed the importance of maintaining an advantage by processing information and operating on a faster cycle than the opposition.
Boyd's greatest contribution was not to the USAF but rather to a fundamental restructuring of the Marine Corps battle doctrine. After the 1991 Gulf War the Marine commandant gave Boyd much of the credit for helping to achieve what many pundits believed to be impossible, rapid movement through the heavily armed Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait.
Again and again Sun Tzu, Boyd and Richards stress the importance of non combat war. Victory, not slaughter is the goal.
During the early days of the war in Iraq the press was filled with reports of very tired US troops, often so far beyond their supply lines that they were short on food, yet they continued on. Why, too often the Generals are seeking near perfect preparation while Boyd and others understood that the ability to act is a way that kept the enemy off balance was the quickest and lowest cost way to victory. Richards seeks to restructure the military along the visions of Boyd and Sun Tzu.
Richards acknowledges that he goes far beyond his mentor, John Boyd, in his recommendations for an overhaul of the US military from top to bottom. Richard's ideas are bold and near revolutionary, reduce the officer ranks, close the service academies, promote officers from the ranks of the enlisted, fill pilot slots in the AF, Navy and Marines with non officers. The list goes on.
Col Richards has produced a highly readable book, filled with wisdom of the past 2,000 years along with his own ideas. Highly recommended.