Hitler lives??

In Hell? In Chile? (which, I understand, is actually rather nice):

I was watching this parade, when all of a sudden, they break into a goose step and begin playing the Badenweiler March. Note the uniforms, with Fritz helmets, and the UN designation on the vehicles. WTF? Time warp? I’ve read the comments, but can anybody can shed more light on this?

There’s some controversy over whether the Badenweiler March was actually Hitler’s favorite, but as the Wikipedia article notes, there was an order in Nazi Germany that it be played only when Hitler was present.

Bigger than all of us

Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?

There was a time when companies were urged to set overarching goals to inspire the troops. In many of these companies, though, the troops noticed that when tough decisions needed to be made, considerations like “Don’t embarrass your boss” and “Pump up the CEO’s bonus” seemed to be the real guiding principles.  In other words, instead of inspiration, employees got hypocrisy.  At the very best, they got platitudes, akin to “We want to do good while making our employees happy and providing a superior return to our investors.” Kumbaya.

Boyd, oddly enough, liked the idea of a higher guiding principle. He wrote:

A review and further manipulation of the ideas and thoughts that make up these different ways suggest that for success over the long haul and under the most difficult conditions, one needs some unifying vision that can be used to attract the uncommitted as well as pump up friendly resolve and drive and drain away or subvert adversary resolve and drive. In other words, what is needed is a vision rooted in human nature so noble, so attractive that it not only attracts the uncommitted and magnifies the spirit and strength of its adherents, but also undermines the dedication and determination of any competitors or adversaries. Patterns of Conflict, 143.

It turns out Boyd may have been on to something. A recent article in Quartz references a new book, Peak Performance, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness:

While researching their book, Stulberg and Magness interviewed countless scientists and world-renowned athletes. They found that people who exhibited this kind of “superhuman” strength were able to do so only when they chose to focus on a purpose greater than themselves.

Continue reading

Hitler lives?

In Hell, anyway, in Martin van Creveld’s new novel, Hitler in Hell.

Van Creveld asks: What might Hitler’s world view have been in order for his actions to have been logical and reasonable?  And then he proceeds to answer. Briefly, the two main pillars of his Weltanschauung, were:

  1. In order to survive, Germany must expand its territory to the East.
  2. Jews (racially defined) are inherently evil and must be driven out of German-controlled territory or, if that proves impossible, eliminated.

Pretty much all of Hitler’s actions, including the war, the invasion of the Soviet Union, and the Holocaust follow from these, as van Creveld’s Hitler relates over the course of some 390 pages.

Continue reading

Just for the record

I am not the “Chet Richards” who writes for the web site “American Thinker.”  For one thing, I rarely write on hardware issues (“People, ideas, and hardware in that order — I don’t seem to ever make it past ideas.) For another, a quick glance will show an obvious difference in both style and viewpoint.

There is also a “Chet Richards” who is / was a screenwriter in Hollywood. It is possible, I guess, that he is now writing on defense issues.

Also for the record, I am not associated with the web sites d-n-i .net or belisarius .com. Although I started both of those, they got hijacked by hackers and so I shut them down. I understand that someone else has taken over those domain names — visit them at  your own risk.  The Project on Government Oversight maintains a time capsule of the original Defense and the National Interest at http://www.dnipogo.org, and you can also download the most recently edited copies of Boyd’s materials from our Articles page.

 

Power tends to corrupt

And absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Yada, yada …

Three things about this quote:

  1. It’s usually misquoted by leaving out the “tends to,” without which it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
  2. Nobody argues against it.
  3. We know that it only affects other people.

The reason for number three is that we possess superior insight and such elevated moral character so that we can detect and avoid sycophancy, as in the emperor’s new clothes syndrome. People tell us the truth, not simply what we want to hear. Continue reading

Book Review: Patterns of Strategy

Patterns of Strategy
Patrick Hoverstadt and Lucy Loh
Routledge (London & New York) 2017
368 pages

Patrick Hoverstadt and Lucy Lot (H&L) have written an excellent addition to the library of anyone trying to apply Boyd’s concepts to business. The authors are experienced consultants with an enviable client list, so I don’t intend to critique their strategies, some 80 of them, or even their concept of “strategy.” They work for them, so more power to them.

HoverstadtAndLohCoverHowever, they do cite Boyd as one of five “geniuses” who “brought new thinking that has depth, rigor and has radically challenged the conventional thinking in their respective fields.” (xvi) So I will make a few observations on their use of Boyd’s material.

One area where purists might question their understanding of John’s ideas might be in their use of a multitude of strategies, which they at one point characterize as “strategy recipes” that “you can follow, or at least start to recognize.” Your first impression might be that such an approach would not have sat well with Boyd, who detested recipes and checklists of any kind when it comes to human conflict. There are, however, productive ways to use long lists. One of Boyd’s favorite books, for example, was Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, which offers some 25 strategies and 20 tactics for the aspiring samurai. In Boyd’s philosophy, Musashi’s strategies and tactics might best be considered as parts for your snowmobile or maybe even ideas for prototypes. You still need to build your own, but you can pick up a lot of ideas from Musashi. Continue reading

Masters of the Snowmobile: Musashi, Boyd, Musk

In 1645, as he was looking back at his long and successful career as a samurai, where a single loss often meant death, Miyamoto Musashi concluded that although rigorous sword practice was essential, it wasn’t enough. At the end of the first chapter of A Book of Five Rings, he also admonishes aspiring warriors to “Cultivate a wide variety of interests in the arts” and “Be knowledgable in a wide variety of occupations.”

Similarly, Boyd, who was was a keen student of Musashi, described his method as looking across a wide variety of fields — “domains” he called them — searching for underlying principles, “invariants.” He would then experiment with syntheses involving these principles until he evolved a solution to the problem he was working on. Because they involved bits and pieces from a variety of domains, he called these syntheses “snowmobiles” (skis, handlebar from a bicycle, etc.) Continue reading

Beakley reviews Gully Dirt

[Ed Beakley is a retired Naval Aviator with 170 combat missions in the A-7 Corsair during the war in Vietnam; all total, he has over 3000 hours in 20 different military aircraft. In his last military tour he was Test Director and Lead Project Test Pilot for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program.

Ed is a 1968 NROTC graduate from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, a graduate of the Naval Post Graduate School with a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering, and a graduate of the Flight Research Inc. Test Pilot and Flight Test Engineer Course. He is a member of the International Test and Evaluation Association, Naval Institute, the Association of Naval Aviation, and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

He founded and manages Project White Horse, exploring leadership in the post 9/11 world.]

Recommendation for my Nashville, Litton HS, Vandy, and generally below the Mason Dixon long time friends:

Don’t know if you’re familiar with author Robert Coram out of Atlanta. Fiction writer but his last four books prior to Gully Dirt were biographies of military folks — all of which I highly recommend, not because of military or war connection, but because of the story telling of some really great, brave, and unique Americans. See: http://robertcoram.com/portfolio/# Continue reading

United Air Lines – an OODA loop perspective

In other words, what’s their orientation?

I’m not too good at reading minds, much less corporate minds, but one thing stands out: For all practical purposes, domestic airlines in the US today are monopolies. They have left just enough market share at their primary hubs to avoid the threat of federal action, and this limited capacity means that open skies treaties won’t significantly increase competition.

When your orientation says “monopoly,” you act like a monopoly. In particular, without the threat of the marketplace, you have a lot of flexibility in the levels of service you provide — your quality — and in what you can charge. Play this game well and you can maximize the amount of money to be paid out to the the people who control the organization and to those who can fire them. Continue reading