Boyd & Beyond 2013 Retrospective Day I

“I was an up-and-comer in the Air Force. I was selected early for Major. I was selected early for Lieutenant Colonel. And then I met John Boyd….”

– Jim Burton

In terms of depth and intellectual firepower, Boyd & Beyond 2013 was among the best of the conferences dedicated to the memory and strategic legacy of Colonel John Boyd. Every presentation was good and at least four ventured into the realm of outstanding.  Spanning two roughly twelve hour days, there was enough time for speakers to engage in a genuine give-and-take with the audience and for general debate to flow.  Conference organizers LTC  Colonel Stan Coerr and J. Scott Shipman deserve thanks and recognition for the success of the conference that saw participants from all service branches, the intelligence community, the defense industry, academia, the professions, scientists, private sector, retirees, students and special guests Col. Jim Burton and Mary Ellen Boyd, daughter of Colonel John Boyd.

See a superb photographic presentation of Boyd & Beyond 2013 by John Davis here.

The two day agenda:

0730 Introduction – Stan Coerr, master of ceremonies…. 

Stan kept everything focused and moving, kept us fed and did much of the behind the scenes trouble-shooting

0800-0900 Michael Niehuser  ” The Colonel John R. Boyd Oral History Project”

Photo: Dr. Michael Niehuser "do something strikingly original"

“Do something strikingly original…”

This was a fantastic kick-off to the conference. Niehuser is interviewing Boyd acolytes, associates and adversaries and creating transcripts of their recollections of John Boyd as a theorist, fighter mafia guru and military reformer. Niehuser discussed his interviews and then let the stories speak for themselves.  This needs to become a book!

0920-1020 LTC Francis J. H. Park, PhD ” How the USMC Came to Maneuver Warfare” 

Photo: Maneuver warfare and Gulf War I.

“Maneuver warfare is a religion….”

Park, an active duty US Army strategist spoke for an hour plus without notes on the evolution of maneuver warfare in the USMC from an idea to an insurgency by the “Dirty Dozen” ( a group including presenter Bob Weiman and future General James “Mad Dog” Mattis) to doctrine. Then came the test of battle – coalition operations during the Gulf War – and the degree to which a Boyd influenced concept was involved in the first defeat of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. A tour de force brief!

1040-1140 Col. Jim Burton “Recollections of John Boyd”

Photo: Col. Jim Burton" [John Boyd] made generals very nervous"

[John Boyd] made generals very nervous” 

Col. Burton is the man who famously challenged the Pentagon over the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and whose dramatic resignation in protest caused Congress to force a re-design on the Department of Defense so that the carrier would be something more than a rolling crematorium for the men inside. A close associate of John Boyd and the subject of nightly Boyd phone calls, Burton spoke on the occasion of his donation of  his private papers to the John Boyd Archive located at the Al Gray Center.

1215-1315 Michael Moore “Boyd and the Big Picture”

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