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QPME: Warfighting: History of the MCDP, Roots of Maneuver Warfare, and the Doctrine in Action

Warfighting: History of the MCDP, Roots of Maneuver Warfare, and the Doctrine in Action explores the development of the Marine Corps capstone publication MCDP 1 - Warfighting.

Warfighting Panel - Intellectual Renaissance

Intellectual Renaissance

The post-Vietnam era was a period of reformation within the U.S. military establishment. The Marine Corps, facing close scrutiny, experimented with various exercises while searching for and developing the niche it would serve for the nation. As the video clip shows, this period of activity could best be described as an "intellectual renaissance" within the Marine Corps. 

Read transcript (see p. 7) Watch full video Video credits

Context & Background


John R. Boyd (1927-1997)

United States Air Force pilot, military strategist, originator of the OODA Loop decision-making theory, and co-creator of the Energy-Maneuverability (E-M theory) of aerial combat.

Boyd gave his Patterns of Conflict briefing at Quantico's Amphibious Warfare School (AWS) in early 1980.

His OODA loop theory influenced the "intellectual renaissance" of developing and changing ideas on warfighting in the Marine Corps. 




Energy­­-Maneuverability Theory

Boyd recognized victory in aerial engagements did not go to the faster or higher-flying aircraft, instead, the victories go to the pilot whose aircraft had superior sustained turn performance, allowing maneuvers behind the prey.


Boyd perceived four elements of command and control. These functions form the core of Boyd’s research of commanders and armies at war. In a dynamic environment, competitors with superior OODA capability out-think and out-maneuver lesser opponents. The model applies to fighter aircraft, military organizations, and private business.

  • Observation: New information
  • Orientation: Comprehending data
  • Decision: Validating the orientation
  • Action: Implementation


  John Boyd's OODA loop

Click on the image to open a full-sized version in a new window.  


About Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997)

From Erie to the Air  

For Erie, Pennsylvania, native John Boyd, an early career as an Air Force pilot led to greater renown as a military strategist. For more information on the life of Col John Boyd watch the following video by the Erie Hall of Fame.

Maneuver Warfare Handbook

About William Lind


William Sturgiss Lind, Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, is a native of Cleveland, Ohio.  Born on 9 July 1947, he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1969 and received a Master's Degree in History from Princeton University in 1971. He worked as a legislative aide for armed services for Senator Robert Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 through 1976 and held a similar position with Senator Gary Hart of Colorado from 1977 through 1986. He joined Free Congress Foundation in 1987.

Mr. Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook (Westview Press, 1985); co-author, with Gary Hart, of America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform (Adler & Adler, 1986); and co-author, with William H. Marshner, of Cultural Conservatism: Toward a New National Agenda (Free Congress Foundation, 1987). 

Mr. Lind co-authored the prescient article, "The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation," which was published in The Marine Corps Gazette in October, 1989 and which first propounded the concept of "Fourth Generation War."

William Lind







William S. Lind


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