09 June 2015


Long time readers of the Blaster are familiar with strategic theories of Colonel John Boyd (new readers will find a variety of references to them at this link).   I am pleased to announce that Marine Major PJ Tremblay’s thesis, Shaping and Adapting: Unblocking the Power of Colonel John Boyd's OODA Loop, has won the The Colonel F. Brooke Nihart Writing Award for 2015. 

This award is endowed by Colonel and Mrs. F. Brooke Nihart, USMC (ret), and presented in honor of the late Colonel Nihart to the Marine infantry officer at Command and Staff College whose Master of Military Studies paper demonstrates the greatest depth of scholarship, clarity and originality.  In my opinion, Major Tremblay has made a significant contribution to the growing corpus of analyses and writings aimed at fleshing out and evolving Colonel Boyd’s ideas.  

Tremblay's thesis was written in partial completion of a masters degree, and I think it  provides an excellent and readable introduction to the use of Boyd's OODA Loop as a frame of reference for examining the tactical level of combat.  Tremblay goes further, however: he introduces general frame of reference for incorporating Colonel Boyd’s ideas more effectively into the Marine Corps education system, from junior to senior levels and from the tactical to the strategic level of combat.  Tremblay actually used Boyd's ideas in both the planning and execution of a stunningly successful tactical assault by a reinforced infantry company in Afghanistan.