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The End of Defense and the National Interest

Dr. Chet Richards announced that DNI is set to adjourn sine die.

DNI set to close 

 Probably on Monday, November 23, depending on how my travels work out. Please go ahead and download any thing you’d like to keep — I’d particularly recommend Boyd’s briefings and the 4GW manuals. I have great faith in the growing number of bloggers and commentators who cover many of the same subjects we did – check out a few of them in the “Blogs” and “Other Sites” sections on the right.

DNI started in March 1999 with a grant from Danielle Brian and the folks at the Project on Government Oversight. Its original purpose was to house the growing collection of Chuck Spinney’s commentaries on the foibles of our defense program (when you read these, keep in mind this was during the Clinton era.  We were not associated with any political party).  If you’re interested in strengthening our position in 4GW, I’d suggest a generous donation to POGO.  You could also run for office.

I’d like to thank Danielle, Chuck, Marcus Corbin (our original project officer at POGO and the person who commissioned A Swift, Elusive Sword), Ginger Richards (who designed and operated all the various versions of the site), Bill Lind and all of our other contributors, and all who have taken the time to compose comments.

Chet Richards,


This is a shame, but everything has its time.

DNI served as an important counterpoint to the “conventional wisdom” in military affairs long before the growth of the now influential  defense/.mil/intel/COIN/national security blogosphere. In addition to hosting the entertaining jeremiads of William Lind, Dr. Richards was the steward of the legacy of the great American strategist Colonel John Boyd and the benefactor of the 4GW School of strategic analysis. DNI was not only a resource for scholars and strategists interested in Boyd’s theories, it was a forum for vigorous debate at a time when unconventional views on military reform were unpopular as well as obscure.

Personally, I have learned much from both DNI and from Dr. Richards whom I had the pleasure of meeting in 2007, at the Boyd Conference at Quantico ( where I met other blogfriends and readers including Shane DeichmanDan TDAXPShlok VaidyaJohn RobbAdam ElkusDave Dilegge, Frank HoffmanDon VandergriffFrans Osinga, Ski, Isaac and Morgan). This event subsequently led to much good reading, writing, discussion and still more new friends now too numerous to mention here.  The keynote speaker that day was Col. Frans Osinga, whose magnum opus  Science, Strategy and War: The Strategic Theory of John Boyd is still the most comprehensive and detailed text on John Boyd’s strategic thought that we are ever likely to see.

Consequently, as a regular reader, I would like to thank Chet both for his hard work over the years as editor of DNI and for his occasional advice and contributions to various projects and discussions that have occurred in this section of the blogosphere. Dr. Richards appears to be very busy with his business consulting these days and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.

DNI will soon be gone, but it will not be forgotten.


Joseph Fouche is a step ahead on the Boyd downloads

Here are the 4GW manuals (temp).


James Fallows on Chet Richards and DNI

Planet Russell on John Boyd and DNI

31 Responses to “The End of Defense and the National Interest”

  1. Shlok Vaidya’s Thinking » RIP D-N-I Says:

    […] has the eulogy. The entire site, not just the downloads, needs to be preserved. Subscribe to comments Comment | […]

  2. Ski Says:


    I have talked with Bill and another well known 4GW blogger about getting all of Boyd’s and Lind’s historical documentation saved onto their site.   If all goes well, Bill’s columns should also appear on that site in the future as well.

    Hopefully there is an announcement early next week.

    You also may want to save all the historical work on this site. 

    Losing DNI is tragic, but once Chuck Spinney retired out of the Pentagon, the writing was on the wall.  The 9/11 attacks gave the site another decade of relevance because of the 4GW material.

  3. tdaxp Says:

    Sure hope everything is saved. The site is very valuable.

  4. YT Says:

    F*** me! No more discources ‘tween Lind & the Kaiser. Tragic…

  5. PlanetRussell.net | Michael J. Russell » Blog Archive » Boyd, DNI and Closing the (OODA) Loop Says:

    […] Safranski, editor of the John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy and War, has written  a homage to the DNI site. var addthis_pub = ‘planetrussell’; var addthis_language = ‘en’;var addthis_options = […]

  6. Lexington Green Says:

    Saved it all.  I like the old versions done on typewriter.  You feel closer to Boyd himself.

    This trove should all be posted somewhere accessible.  SWJ?

  7. Joseph Fouche Says:

    I’d second SWJ unless there’s some sort of irreconcilable schism between the 4GWers and the COINdinistas.

  8. Dan Ford Says:

    Good grief, that’s the second time the Boyd files will have have gone missing. (They used to be on belisarius.com if I spell it correctly.) For less than fifty bucks a year, the site can continue to the end of time ($7.95 for the domain name at Hostway.com, say $30 for hosting.) Why let it expire? Think of all the links and bibliographic references that will break! Blue skies! — Dan Ford

  9. J. Scott Says:

    Dan, I was thinking the same thing…maybe Chet should solicit donations…(and you got the spelling correct)At any rate, I saved the files some time back.

  10. Lexington Green Says:

    "For less than fifty bucks a year …"

    If someone with the minimum necessary tech expertise set up a site and a tip jar and agreed to keep the whole of DNI online as an archive, what would be the downside?  Whoever did it would very quickly have plenty of money to do so. 

  11. Shlok Says:

    I’m thinking about buying ColJohnBoyd.com and placing his archive on there. Would really like to make that a community project though. Anyone have any ideas on that? 

    BTW – The blog stuff is more complicated but it looks like Ski’s on top of that. 

  12. Joseph Fouche Says:

    Of course the real question is under what conditions Boyd’s work is distributable…

  13. Ski Says:

    That’s an interesting question, Joseph.  I’ll have to make a couple of phone calls to see if there are any intellectual patents associated with Boyd’s material.  I don’t think so but it is certainly possible.

  14. zen Says:

    For The John Boyd Roundtable, permission was sought and granted by the Boyd Estate for use of Boyd’s materials and photographs. This was handled by Chet.
    Non-commercial use is a different story. DNI has made the briefs available for public use for years and Chet gave his explicit permission to download in his last post and I’d say implicit permission to host. That said, an "official" Boyd site should seek the written permission of the Estate before representing themselves as such. One because that’s likely the legal way to go about it and secondly because it is the right way to do it. Chet’s advice here would be best.
    If approvals are granted, I’d be happy to pitch in and help Shlok or whomever else is involved but not run/direct such an org.

  15. morgan Says:

    I’m a complete computer idiot, so I would be useless re: the site except I would gladly contribute some bucks to get it going/keep it. Sorry I’m such a computer clown but will pitch in with a contribution on a regular basis while I’m still on the right side of the grass.

  16. Isaac Says:

    A shame indeed.  It’s always been a frequent read of this lurker…
    I’m down to contribute.  Hope you all (the ‘gang’ at lunch in Quantico) are well.

  17. zen Says:

    Well we have Scott, Shlok and John Robb interested in preserving DNI’s archives and folks able to pitch in or contribute. We just need to discuss the "how".

  18. J. Scott Says:

    Zen, I posted a note to Chet yesterday, but I’m guessing he’s traveling. Please keep me in the loop if you hear anything. Many thanks in advance

  19. Ed Beakley Says:

    You have my basic game plan on a FB comment for a "Boyd/4GW/Richards" page on Project White Horse as a non-every-day  webster. Intent would be to provide links to those who take this project further. As others have said, keep me posted and I’ll certainly contribute/support.

  20. Dan Ford Says:

    John Boyd or his heirs gave his papers, including most or all iterations of the Discourse, to the Marine Corps, and they are now shelved at the Gray Research Center at Quantico VA. I was assured by the center’s director that as a condition of accepting the collection that it be in the public domain. So I reckon that whatever Boyd wrote and is in the DNI collection is fair game for re-posting … and I have done just that with respect to the versions of the monographs and briefings in the Discourse for the very good reason that I am about to submit my MA dissertation on Boyd, and I don’t want my tutor checking an url and getting a 404! I do not yet have an index page to the collection but will likely do so if they aren’t otherwise available on the web.

    There are other publications on DNI and chetrichards.com that may well be copyright, as for example Grant Hammond’s ‘The Essential Boyd’ and of course Wm Lind’s various monographs and screeds. I will be seeking permission to post a couple of these that I likewise cite in my dissertation.

    Most obviously (to me, anyhow), the mock field manuals from the Fourth Generation Seminar ought to have a continuing home. I’m not up to that, unfortunately. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

  21. Rob Paterson Says:

    I am in – I am no techie but can help with a bit of $ and a lot of work

  22. zen Says:

    Ok, I will send out a coordinating email to all interested parties – however, I need email addresses for Ski, Rob and Dan Ford first. Send to:

  23. J. Scott Says:

    Lynn Wheeler compiled the archive here:http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.d-n-i.net

  24. J. Scott Says:

    Lynn Wheeler posted a note on LinkedIn that he had compiled the archive data. 

  25. drdoug2 Says:

    Is anyone keeping a signup list of volunters to help maintain or support d-n-i? My guess is that lots of us are willing to chip in one way or the other.

  26. zen Says:

    Hi drdoug2,
    This comment section is serving as a partial list, Ed Beakley of PWH is keeping track of others. Shoot me an email if you would like to lend a hand.

  27. oaktree Says:

    You’ve no idea the incredible sinking feeling I had as I looked up a reference in my Air Command and Staff College book and realized d-n-i had been replaced by a two bit porn site.

    Please add me to the list for any and all support to a new online Boyd reference site.

    Will there still be Boyd conferences?  I have been meaning to go.  I only just got to visit Ft. Myer for the first time recently.

  28. zen Says:

    Hi oaktree,
    John Robb and Ed Beakley have created pages at their sites to make the briefs of Col. John Boyd available:
    "Joseph Fouche" of The Committee of Public Safety Blog has a collection of Boyd and Boyd-related material at his site:
    Unfortunately, I do not anticipate there will be more Boyd Conferences in the near future but never say never.

  29. oaktree Says:

    My thanks.

    For what it’s worth:

  30. zen Says:

    hi oaktree,
    Some good news – the archives of DNI are now available at a new url:


    Defense and the National Interest

  31. mac Says:


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