BOYD 2007 WAS A BLAST!
Just returned from the Boyd 2007
conference at Quantico
and I have to say that I felt the conference was immensely rewarding on both an intellectual as well as a social level. Dr. Chet Richards
and Mr. Bob Howard
are to be commended for their organizational efforts in putting Boyd 2007 together with additional thanks to the United States Marine Corps
for allowing the use of the Gray Center for the event, which seemed to have been enjoyed by all. If you missed out this year, I highly
recommend trying to reserve a slot for Boyd 2008. It's well worth it.
I thought I would give a review of the conference in two parts and, to paraphrase Colonel John Boyd
, " People and ideas...in that order!". First the people.
The official conference presenters were outstanding; they included noted authorities on John Boyd, 4GW , COIN and defense policy, such as Colonel Dr. Frans Osinga
(Science, Strategy and War
), Dr. Chet Richards
( Certain to Win
), Colonel T.X. Hammes
(The Sling and the Stone
), Colonel Eric Walters
, William Lind
(Manuver Warfare Handbook
), Frank Hoffman
(Decisive Force: The New American Way of War
), Don Vandergriff
(Raising the Bar
) and Bruce I. Gudmundsson
). Robert Coram
, the biographer of Colonel John Boyd
, was also on hand throughout, signing many copies of Boyd
and talking to his readers.
The conference also featured a discussion panel of very distinguished retired generals, General Anthony C. Zinni
, Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper
and General Alfred M. Gray, Jr
., the former Commandant of the Marine Corps after whom the Gray Center was named. General Van Riper in particular, impressed me with the acuity of his intellect, though each managed to project some of their formidible personalities that made them influential senior leaders of the American military. Dan of tdaxp
saw some of these generals in action up close during a break-out session while I watched William Lind and T.X. Hammes debate 4GW/5GW.
The audience was, as one might expect, heavily populated by military personnel (active, former, retired and SOF in mufti), especially Marines, along with some defense scholars, military contractors, academics from nearby universities, grad students and a scattering of bloggers. Everyone seemed friendly and deeply engaged in the topics at hand; books were signed and business cards and email addresses flew fast and furious in the corridor inbetween the sessions.
Speaking of networking, it was a delight to meet so many individuals in person with whom I have interacted online as well as new friends. A few ppl, like Isaac
came up to me and said " Hey...Zenpundit!" which was amusing (More amusing was the confusion of Colonel T.X. Hammes when I had to explain to him that I was not
in special forces but that I taught history and "blogged" - I'm not entirely sure he knew what that was) . It was a particular pleasure for me to meet Dr. Richards of DNI
and Dave Dilegge
of the SWJ,
which was well represented at Boyd 2007, additionally, by Ski
and Frank Hoffman
Lunch was fantastic - Shane Deichman
, Dan of tdaxp
, John Robb
and myself discussing 4GW, physics, platforms, books, careers and such over steaming bowls of pho saigon (thanks Dan ! The charge of "cheap bastardy
" is hereby removed). Shane's son, Deichman the Younger
, who is about the same age as the Son of Zenpundit
, not to be left out of the grown-up talk, entertained us with his original theory of the "Jedi Ninja", which should probably be filed under at least "5GW".
The socializing continued after the conference at the officer's club ( where I managed to lose my cell phone - requiring that Dan and I make a late night return drive to Quantico - sorry, Dan!) with A.E
. , Gustave
and others. Chet Richards graciously invited us to dinner but we (Shlok,Dan,Isaac and myself) continued our bull session for several more hours before adjourning to a nice Italian restaurant where we narrowly missed connecting with Shane thanks to my lost phone.
It was a great, great, time marred only by my consistent inability to navigate the highways and roads of greater Washington, DC - give me a grid, my kingdom for a grid!
Next, PartII: The Ideas and (hopefully) a few Pics.
Labels: boyd 2007