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You Need to Tighten Your OODA Loop on the Coronavirus/COVID-19

Twenty-two years ago tomorrow, Colonel John Boyd died.  Boyd is the creator of the OODA Loop, for which this humble site is named after.

If you are unfamiliar with the OODA Loop, there are dozens of articles and books available through a simple Google search, but here is how it is summarized on Wikipedia.

“The OODA loop has become an important concept in litigation, business, law enforcement, and military strategy. According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe–orient–decide–act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.”

On this 22nd anniversary of Boyd’s death, our adversary is the Coronavirus and it is manifesting itself through predictable models that should be informing our decision process and invoking certain actions. 

In this particular pandemic, you need to tighten your OODA Loop and make impactful decisions quicker.  In fact, you need to make them right now.

We are conditioned to analyze data for our decisions and to wait for more data to emerge before making decisions, but in this crisis, indecision is action in itself and time is not on our side.  One need simply look at the situation in Italy to understand what will happen in other areas (including the US) if we don’t act now. Today, Italy saw a 20% increase in cases and a 25% increase in deaths.  They experienced nearly 200 deaths in one day and the medical infrastructure can not handle the new case capacity. Patients are being actively triaged for pre-existing conditions and lives that could have been saved are being lost.

Today’s essential read on this topic is a data driven plea to enact mass social distancing now.

This is not a time to panic.  It is a time to lead with measured actions that might seem difficult now (closing schools, events, etc) but are manageable when contrasted with the impact of a national health crisis where we don’t flatten the curve. 

Tighten your OODA Loop.  ACT now.

Matt Devost

Matt Devost

Matthew G. Devost is the CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC. Matt is a technologist, entrepreneur, and international security expert specializing in counterterrorism, critical infrastructure protection, intelligence, risk management and cyber-security issues. Matt co-founded the cyber security consultancy FusionX from 2010-2017. Matt was President & CEO of the Terrorism Research Center/Total Intel from 1996-2009. For a full bio, please see