On the heels of the resignation of Claudine Gay as the head of Harvard University there is opportunity to continue to gain ground. Traditionally there’s a lack of strategy among those that are in opposition to this woke cultural revolution. Counter-revolutionaries would be well advised to look to Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop concept — Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act — to maintain their momentum. By continuously observing vulnerabilities, orienting strategies to the evolving narratives, deciding on targeted campaigns based on vulnerabilities, and acting decisively to influence public opinion and policy, they could continue to shape the discourse effectively. If applied rigorously, this method could ensure that their recent victory is not a standalone event but a stepping stone for further influence.

The OODA Loop Strategic Framework

For those that may not be familiar, Col. Boyd’s concept of the OODA Loop is a decision-making process originally developed for military combat operations. As previously mentioned, OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act, and the loop represents a continuous interaction process with the environment. Here’s a breakdown of each stage:

  1. Observe: This involves gathering information from the environment. It’s about understanding what is happening around you. This might mean identifying the enemy’s position, strength, and activities in a military context. In political warfare, this stage is crucial for understanding the political dynamics, allies and adversaries’ moves, and public opinion shifts.
  2. Orient: This is the analysis and synthesis stage. Here, the information gathered during observation is processed. It involves contextualizing the data, considering different perspectives, and understanding the implications. One’s cultural traditions, previous experiences, and new information influence this. In political warfare, it includes understanding the ideological, economic, and cultural factors that influence decisions and outcomes.
  3. Decide: Based on the orientation, the decision-maker decides the best course of action. This involves selecting a plan from a range of options.
  4. Act: Finally, implementing the decision. In a military context, this might be initiating a combat maneuver. In business, it might be launching a new product or changing a marketing strategy. In political warfare, this could mean executing a policy, starting a diplomatic initiative, or launching a counter-information campaign.

The key to the OODA Loop is speed and adaptability. The faster and more effectively you can move through the OODA Loop, the more likely you will get ahead of your opponent and gain a strategic advantage. Often called “getting inside” the adversary’s OODA Loop, meaning you can make and implement decisions faster than your opponent can react. 

Boyd emphasized that the OODA Loop is not a linear process but a continuous and evolving one, where the stages feedback into each other, creating a dynamic cycle of action and reaction. This concept has become a significant part of strategic thinking in various fields, promoting agility and effective decision-making under rapidly changing conditions. Counter-revolutionaries need to understand it as a crucial concept within warfare.

Applying the OODA loop, the counter-revolution can capitalize on this win by swiftly adapting to counter-strategies and maintaining the initiative in the ideological and political battlefield. This ongoing adaptability and being proactive are key to sustaining their influence and achieving further objectives.

The Tactical Application for the Counter-Revolution

In the wake of recent victories, it’s crucial for the opposition to not only celebrate their successes but also to capitalize on them to maintain momentum strategically. Too often, opposition groups fail to follow through, leaving them at a perpetual disadvantage. To ensure sustained influence, adopting a multi-pronged approach is essential to keep opponents constantly on the defensive. So what does the counter-revolution do what it’s inside the opposition’s OODA loop? 

Firstly, identifying new vulnerabilities is vital. A detailed analysis of an opponent’s position, policies, past statements, and actions can reveal areas of weakness or potential controversy. These vulnerabilities relate to public sentiment, legal inconsistencies, or internal contradictions within the opposition’s stance. Once identified, these weaknesses become the new targets of an ongoing campaign.

Expanding the battlefield is the next strategic move. Instead of focusing solely on initial success, broadening the scope of engagement to include new vulnerabilities can stretch an opponent’s resources and attention thin. This dilution of focus can weaken their overall defensive posture, making them susceptible to errors and missteps.

Speed and surprise are critical in this phase. By moving quickly to exploit new vulnerabilities, one can maintain the psychological upper hand, keeping the opponent reactive rather than proactive. Rapid, unexpected shifts in focus can disrupt and disorient, leading to a slower response time and less effective counter-strategies from the opposition.

Coordinating attacks is another key tactic. Working with allies or sympathetic groups can amplify the campaign’s impact. This coordination might involve synchronized media releases, public demonstrations, or legal challenges, creating a multi-front pressure that takes time to counter effectively.

However, it’s crucial to maintain the initial line of attack. Maintaining pressure on the original front ensures that past gains are not lost, and the opponent remains under constant stress. This balance of old and new fronts can create a cumulative strain on resources and morale.

As new fronts open, preemptive defense becomes necessary. Anticipating counter-attacks and preparing responses ensures that one’s vulnerabilities are protected. This might involve shoring up public support, clarifying positions, or readying legal defenses.

The situation will invariably evolve, requiring an ability to adapt and innovate. Staying attuned to shifts in the political or ideological landscape allows for quick adaptation, ensuring that strategies remain effective and relevant. As new opportunities or challenges arise, being ready to pivot ensures sustained advantage.

Psychological warfare is an underlying theme in this strategy. They are masters at this, and the counter-revolution needs to become better. The continuous pressure, especially on multiple fronts, can exacerbate internal divisions and weaken the opponent’s coordination and morale. This breakdown can make further attacks more effective and lead to a loss of public support for the opposition.

Finally, set the agenda; this is a powerful aspect of this strategy. By continuously introducing new issues or angles of attack, the campaign can control the narrative, focusing public attention on chosen topics. This keeps the opponent reactive and shapes the public discourse favorably.

The bottom line is that if opposition groups want to turn the tide of this insurgency, they need to take an aggressive, adaptable, and coordinated approach that keeps the opponent perpetually on the defensive and can turn a single victory into a sustained campaign of influence. To ensure a long-term victory with a lasting impact on the broader political or ideological landscape, one must continuously identify and exploit emerging vulnerabilities, broaden the scope of engagement, sustain pressure, and prepare for any counter-attacks while strategically setting the agenda for future discourse. This approach will secure enduring success and influence over extended periods.