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Leadership – Apply the components of the decision cycle (OODA) process

Apply the components of the decision cycle (OODA) process
Training Support Package (TSP) for the USMC Battle Skills Test (BST)

TASK: Describe the components of the decision cycle (OODA) process
CONDITION: Without the aid of references
STANDARD: To achieve a decision with a bias for action
ESTIMATED TIME TO TRAIN: 10 minutes
ESTIMATED TIME TO TEST: 1 minute per Marine

PERFORMANCE STEPS:

1. Describe how to observe the situation
2. Describe how to orient to the situation
3. Describe how to decide on a course of action
4. Describe how to act on the decision
5. Describe repeating steps 1 through 4

REFERENCES:

1. MCDP 1 – Warfighting
2. MCIP 3-02. – Combat Hunter
3. MCTP 3-01A – Scouting and Patrolling

SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS: NA

INSTRUCTOR NOTE: While not required, instructors can provide their Marines with a tactical situation to further enhance the instruction.
Boyd’s Decision Cycle.

Boyd’s Decision Cycle is the constantly revolving cycles that the mind goes through when dealing with tasks that range from the mundane to the most complicated. This cycle follows the pattern of observe, orient, decide, and act (OODA). Boyd theorized that each party to a conflict first observes the situation. On the basis of observation, one orients; that is, makes an estimate of the situation. On the basis of the orientation, one makes a decision. Finally, one implements the decision—acts. Because thier action has created a new situation, the process begins anew. Boyd argued that the party who consistently completes the cycle faster gains an advantage that increases with each cycle. The enemy’s reactions become increasingly slower by comparison and therefore less effective until, finally, the enemy is overcome by events.

PERFORMANCE STEP 1: Observe the situation.

Observation, the first step in the OODA loop, is a search for information relative to the tactical situation. Information could include the environment, enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures. It is an active effort to seek out all the available information by whatever means possible.

PERFORMANCE STEP 2: Orient your mental process to the situation.

During orientation, the Marine uses information to form an awareness of the circumstances. As more information is received, the Marine updates the perceptions as needed. Orientation helps to turn information into understanding. It is understanding that leads to making good decisions.

PERFORMANCE STEP 3: Decide on a course of action.

This is a conscious activity following orientation. The decision is based upon your perceived observations, training, experience, ROEs, orders, and directives. Through repetitive training, some decisions can become automatic or reflexive.

PERFORMANCE STEP 4: Act on the decision.

An act is the implementation of the decision. It is crucial to understand the action taken will influence the environment, potentially changing it. This change in the environment will require that Marine to recycle through the OODA loop process. Instead of remaining fixated on the object, the Marine reassesses the situation.

PERFORMANCE STEP 5: Repeat steps 1 through 4, as required.

Repeat steps 1 through 4, as required.

Apply the decision cycle (OODA) process
EVALUATION CHECKLIST

MARINE BEING EVALUATED:

EVALUATOR:

DATE:

SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS: NA

EVALUATOR NOTE: Evaluators should guide the Marine being evaluated through the steps listed below by asking questions. While not required, evaluators can provide their Marines with a tactical situation in order to further enhance the evaluation.

Performance Step Instructor Notes Pass or Remediate
1. Observe the situation 1. Marine should gather information about the environment such as enemy tactics, weather, a local situation
2. Orient your mental process to the situation. 1. Marine should use information to form an awareness based on perceptions, experience, and education
3. Decide on a course of action. 1. Marine should determine a course of action. This is a conscious activity informed by observation and orientation. Through training, some decisions can be come automatic or reflexive.
4. Act on the decision 1. Implementation of the decision
2. Actions will influence the environment requiring the Marine to recycle through the OODA loop.
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4
1. Actions will change the situation requiring the Marine to cycle through the OODA loop.

Training Support Package (TSP) for the USMC Battle Skills Test (BST)