Military Science

I’m off to Basic and Officer Candidate School. To friends and family who read this, thanks.


Austin Bay describes the important role of intel in avoiding surprise attacks.

Intelligence is an art — a grand, interpretive collusion of linguistics, geography, mathematics, history, theology, psychology, physics, metaphysics and every other human means of analysis and explanation…

A Schwerpunkt is a focal point, or a center of gravity. This is the “hub of all power and movement” which you must strike to knock the enemy off balance.

So imagine two wrestlers grappling with each other on the floor. They may be doing many things at once, but they primarily exert their physical force upon a single focal point to pin down the opponent. This is a dynamic struggle as each tries to neutralize the other wrestler’s force. They demonstrate an ability to rapidly change focal points to overcome the other wrestler.

Alan D. Beyerchen essay on Clausewitz, Nonlinearity and the Unpredictability of War, is one of the best analyses of Clausewitz I’ve seen. Friction, the Trinity, and the open political system of war create the non-linear dynamics.

Many of his subsequent critics never understood this, and force linear interpretations on Clausewitz’ theory. Clausewitz’s rejection of geometric and linear mathematical models of war are often ignored.

Most murder victims are criminals, not random innocents. In Baltimore 91% of murder victims were criminals. Other cities collected similar statistics.

Most crimes are not random or pointless. Most criminal activity is a violent competitive business – like gangs running drug operations.

OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. Commanders have limited information and limited time in their decision-making process. Col. John Boyd describes a dynamic decision-making (pdf) to outperform your enemies.

OODA is designed to overcome wicked problems relating to friction and enemy action.

Before we get carried away with a wave of “power-laws here there and everywhere!” craziness, we have to stop and test our conjectures. Here’s one paper that tests a large number of conjectures: Power-law distributions in empirical data

Sometimes the data tricks you by creating an illusion of a power-law distribution. This could be the result of incomplete or biased samples, or different mechanisms which produce something that superficially looks like an self-organized power-law but is just random.

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