OODA Orient: the 2nd O in Acronym is the Beginning of Mindset

OODA orient: the 2nd letter of John Boyd's acronym

Today we’re looking at one of the letters in John Boyd’s borderline-eponymous acronym. The “OODA O”. 

OODA: Observe, Orient, Decide Act

The second O in OODA stands for Orient. It’s not an antiquated and prejudicial reference to something Asian, as a couple of outraged social media commenters somehow contrived to interpret. Orient, in this case, has a directional context. 

The second O in Boyd’s famous acronym is “OODA Orient”. It is the beginning of mindset, and arguably the most important part of the loop.

Orientation is the foundation of mindset.

“Your orientation is the collection of building blocks that construct your mindset. It is made up of all of the values and perceptions that you will process your decisions through. How you feel about violence culturally, what your personal values are, the attachments that drive your mission, the parameters of your mission, your experience level and your confidence are all what make up your orientation. It is vitally important to understand how these values, beliefs and perceptions shape your  decision making, because decision making is the product of mindset

It is also critical that you apply the two-way principle here: what governs you is what also governs the enemy. They have an orientation as well, that is built by  the same components.”  

Varg Freeborn


David Reeder’s Wu Tang name is Lucky Prophet. He is a retired AF veteran, former Peace Officer, and current Tier 2.5 writer-operator. Over the course of his career, he has worked a variety of military and lE billets, served as an Observer-Controller at the National Homeland Security Training Center, a MOUT instructor, and an MTT tracking instructor – all of which sounds much cooler than it really was. Although he only updates his website once in a very great while, he can absolutely be relied upon to post to social media (@reederwrites) at least once a month. -Ish.