Active Shooter Training and the OODALoop Theory

Active Shooter Training and the OODALoop Theory

Col John Boyd, an American fighter pilot, developed a theory called the “Combat Operations Process.”

Active Shooter Training and the OODALoop Theory - Active Shooter and School Shooting Prevention Specialists

Active Shooter Training and the OODALoop Theory – Active Shooter and School Shooting Prevention Specialists

This theory involves the following actions: Observing, Orienting, Deciding, and Acting, or OODA. Boyd hypothesized that pilots in air combat constantly repeat a recurring cycle of observing, orienting, deciding and acting. Boyd believed that whoever can process this cycle and react the quickest would win the battle. He partly based his theory on two mathematical theories. The first was Godels Incompleteness Theorem, which states that any logical model of reality is incomplete and must be continuously refined and adapted because new observations are constantly being presented. The second was Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle which states that there is a limit on one’s ability to observe reality with precision. Boyd later further developed his theory and it became known as the OODA, or OODA loop. Boyd’s OODA loop has been applied to all sorts of endeavors outside of the military, and simply stated the OODA is a process by which an individual can defeat an adversary by outthinking his opponent and reacting quicker in an ever changing environment. How can Boyd’s OODA loop theory help save your life in the event of an Active Shooter?

Active Shooter Training and the OODALoop Theory

Active Shooter Expert Chris Grollnek

Active Shooter Prevention Expert Chris Grollnek Shifting the Paradigm

An active shooter is already in the fourth step of Boyd’s OODA cycle. An active shooter has already likely begun to Observe their selected target prior to the act of violence. The active shooter has most likely spent time surveilling their target, noted the target location’s security protocols and procedures and become familiar with any regular day to day activities. The active shooter has most likely also made a plan based on the their observations, and has begun to Orient themselves according to their plan. During the orient phase, active shooters have probably made a decision on which weapons they think they will need, which entrances they will enter, and how they will deal with security. At some point, an active shooter will Decide that they will act on their observations and orientation, and they begin to take steps to further the plan.

Finally, the active shooter Acts, and begins to commit senseless violence. At this point, the active shooter is three steps ahead of you in the OODA cycle. So if an active shooter is already three steps ahead of you in the OODA cycle, is there anything you can do? YES! There are a couple of things you should do to catch up in the OODA cycle. First, take some time to Observe your surroundings at work, school, church, and in public. When at work, school, church or in public, take a few moments to find entrances, and exits. Try to pay particular attention to emergency entrances and exits. When in public places, try to notice who is around you, their behaviors, and take note of anything that you think is odd about them. In places you frequent like work, try to take note of the exits, especially emergency exits, daily or frequently.

Orient yourself and know how you can get to the exits from your desk, office space, or the hallways and bathrooms. Know where the fire alarms are, and locate potential shelter in place locations. These observations should only take a few seconds and require little effort. If nothing else, if gives you a break from a tedious 8 hour day.

After Observing your surroundings and Orienting yourself to them, Decide what you would do in the event of an active shooter. Take a few seconds and plan your shelter or escape. Ask yourself what would you do in the event of an emergency? How quickly could you get to the emergency exits? If you had to shelter in place, where would you do it? If you are with your family in a public place, where could you evacuate? Conducting these simple mental exercises takes only seconds. Soon, after running this mental drill over and over, it will become easier to do and it will be committed to memory.

Finally, once you have observed, oriented, and decided the only thing left to do will be to act. And in the event of an active shooter, or other emergency, observing, orienting and deciding in advance will put you ahead of the game, and could possibly save your life, or the life of your family. Conducting these simple exercises weekly, or monthly takes less time than updating your Facebook page or twitter account. It isn’t being paranoid, it is being prepared. So this New Year, make a resolution to think like a mathematician and a fighter pilot and resolve to out think a bad guy, and hopefully increase your chances of surviving a critical incident. Hopefully, none of us will ever be in an active shooter incident. But we owe to ourselves and our families to be prepared.

Active Shooter Training and the OODALoop Theory

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Active Shooter Prevention Experts

School Shooting Research and Prevention Strategists

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