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Application of Boyd’s OODA loop to emergency response

David J. Tanui, DSc, MSc, BEd (Hons)


Emergency management is a dynamic task that requires constant evaluation and research so as to improve processes and systems. Most importantly, the rise in emergencies has led to increased costs of managing them. These cost increases are happening at a time when US government agencies are experiencing budget-cuts. Therefore, a search for solutions to improve emergency management is critical, especially in the emergency response phase. The emergency response phase is particularly important because studies show that due to the confusion and panic caused when a disaster strikes, failures in command and control often lead to delays in action and increased operation costs.

This article argues that Boyd’s OODA loop, a command and control concept used by the US military for several years, presents opportunities as an off-the-shelf resource that can be adapted by nonmilitary response organizations at federal, state, local, and agency level. The study is an important contribution to the ongoing discourse on emergency management policy and practice in the United States.


emergency management, emergency response, Boyd’s OODA loop, command and control

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