Monday, February 12, 2024

Using Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop To Survive Civil Unrest and Political Turmoil

By Tim Gamble
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Situational Awareness is essential in dealing with civil unrest and political turmoil. Much more than just being aware of your surroundings, situational awareness means both knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings.

The end goal for situational awareness is correct action. The bridge from simply paying attention to taking correct action is the OODA Loop. OODA Loop is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The Loop aspect is that one should be constantly looping through OODA since situations and circumstances change constantly. 

The OODA Loop Explained

Observe: Paying attention to the environment in which we are operating, noting potential threats and opportunities, in order to quickly gain the knowledge and understanding we need for decision making. Key concept: Observing should be continual, as our environment is constantly changing. 

Orient: The orient phase is where you apply your mental models to what you observe, in order to arrive at your understanding of your situation. Mental models are the way we understand the world; the system by which we think. This is perhaps the most complex, and critical, part of the OODA Loop. It is not the one with the most information that wins, but rather it is the one with the best understanding of the information they have that wins.

Economist Richard J. Maybury explains models this way: "As we go through life, we build these very complex pictures in our minds of how the world works, and we are constantly referring back to them - matching incoming data against our models. That's how we make sense of things."

Many things contribute to the models we use - our family influences, cultural heritage, religious beliefs, education, training, personal experiences,  and so forth. The key to orienting our understanding is to develop many mental models and to constantly refine or improve those models in a process Boyd calls "destructive deduction" - the examining, tearing apart, and rebuilding of those models.  This process leads to improving your judgement.

Decide - In the decision phase of the OODA Loop, you determine your best course of action based on your your judgement (using your mental models) of your observations.  For example, you might decide to continue walking down the street because you observe no potential dangers. Or you may decide to cross over to the other side or even go back based on your judgement that the two thuggish-looking men eyeing you as you approach are potentially dangerous. 

Act - In the action phase, you do something (take an action) based on the decision you made using your judgment of your observations. That action may be continuing to do what you were doing, or it might mean taking a new or different action. 

Act is not the last phase of the OODA Loop (remember, the concept is OODA Loop, meaning you constantly loop through the phases). You may need to adjust your action based on changing circumstances. For example, when you cross the street to avoid those two thuggish-looking men, you may need to immediately take another action if they then cross the street, too, in order to intercept your path.

AD:  Total Resistance - The classic study on resistance & underground operations, by Swiss Major H. von Dach. Recommended by Pastor Joe Fox (aka Viking Preparedness). 

AD:  Resistance Operating Concept (ROC) - Another great resource for resistance & underground operations. Recommended by both Pastor Joe Fox (aka Viking Preparedness) and Bear of Bear Independent. 

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