Decisions in War

We will explore how deceit leads to poor decisions.

Sun Tzu

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. post

The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent. post

Does it really make a difference, in the end, that I am the first woman to translate The Art of War? post


War is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means. We deliberately use phrase ‘with the addition of other means’ because we also want to make clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something different. post

It can be argued that technological movement and acts in the realms of cyber and disinformation are fundamentally incompatible with Clausewitz’s theory of war. post

Cyber warfare appears to satisfy a major element of what Clausewitz considers to be war, the coercion of the enemy to one’s will. However cyber-attacks fail to meet the requirements that precede Clausewitz statement about the compulsion of the enemy. post

The idea that hybrid or contemporary warfare more broadly is conducted in a ‘grey zone’ is not an incorrect statement to make but is also a deeply un-Clausewitzian assertion which neglects the central role politics plays in war and its conduct. post

John Boyd

The OODA loop is the cycle observe–orient–decide–act, developed by military strategist John Boyd who applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the operational level of military campaigns. wikipedia

Boyd's loop is portrayed less as a linear cycle and more as an ongoing, interactive analytical process, a cybernetic process with multiple built-in feedback loops. post

While the OODA loop is highly effecting in confrontational settings, Matthew Syed asks whether this form of thinking works when co-operation, rather than domination, is the name of the game. bbc