Two of the best disruptive strategists in the modern era, TE Lawrence and COL. John Boyd, understood that a state of mind could defeat the mind of state, unless that state was prepared to adapt in unconventional ways and means. GEN Allenby got it, and let Lawrence create his own insurgency that became like an unpredictable human sandstorm in the desert.
While our government leaders tell us they are innovative and forward looking, the very nature of Government is to be stable, administrative, predictable, highly risk adverse and reactive. This is incongruent to an adversary with a state of mind that is unconventional, dynamic and free from bureaucracy. As COL Boyd argues in Patterns of Conflict, defeating our enemies requires creating fear, anxiety, and alienation in order to generate many non – cooperative centres of gravity as well as subverting those that adversary depends upon thereby magnifying internal friction. It is this state of mind that will defeat our enemies but cannot be massed produced through rigid templates.
Winston Churchill said, “The wars of peoples will be more terrible than the wars of kings.” Could he foresee not only the kind of wars we have had to fight manipulated by a state of mind with no geographical boundary?
The recruitment, planning and act of terrorism are ultimately human events, and transcend through individuals or groups with a particular mindset. Without this, the consumers of salafi-jihad would not become producers. Defeating this state of mind requires an asymmetric mindset to exploit weaknesses in the terrorist’s moral, social, cultural, economic, religious and psychological drivers – we must destroy their fantasy. COL. Boyd’s OODA Loop provides a framework to help us degrade and destroy terrorists and this can become an even more powerful tool through good-old down and dirty human intelligence.