Cheetahs — inside your OODA loops

Bad news if you’re an antelope, but in that case, probably something you already knew.

It isn’t just speed. Sure, the cheetah is the fastest mammal, but its 60 mph dash capability primarily gets it into position, into the envelope. If speed were all there was to it, there would be a lot of overshoots.

The key to the endgame is agility. As the New York Times explains it in “Cheetahs’ Secret Weapon: A Tight Turning Radius“:

But it turns out that speed is not the secret to their prodigious hunting skills: a novel study of how cheetahs chase prey in the wild shows that it is their agility — their skill at leaping sideways, changing directions abruptly and slowing down quickly — that gives those antelope such bad odds.

In Boyd’s framework, a tight turning radius per se would be “maneuverability,” not agility.  But terms like “abruptly” certainly add a flavor of agility, which more properly is the ability to transition from one maneuver to another more rapidly than an opponent.

But are cheetahs operating inside antelopes’ OODA loops? Are they changing the situation more rapidly than antelopes can comprehend, thereby achieving the intention of Patterns 132:

Generate uncertainty, confusion, disorder, panic, chaos … to shatter cohesion, produce paralysis and bring about collapse.

I don’t know. Guess we’ll have to wait for more research.


2 thoughts on “Cheetahs — inside your OODA loops

  1. After observing an antelope chasing a coyote across a irrigated pasture, with the coyote kicking it into high-gear and just getting missed being stomped to death as he made it under the wire fence, a successful kill also take a healthy dose of understanding whose the prey and whose the predator.

    As I understand it, coyotes have been known to work as teams with one distracting the doe as the other goes after its young, but in this case the antelope definitely had the advantage over the coyote.

    But then that is the problem with strategy, it is not always successful. The herd later came and picked up this antelope and her little one.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.