From Korean War To Data Science and Analytics

I’ve found out about dog fights in Top Gun for the first time. Surprisingly, challenging story about a dog fight strategy developed by a pilot who fight in Korean War is mentioned related to marketing at the keynote of Rob Walker at Pega World 2014. Actually, the story resembles to the lifecycle of Data Science and Analytics.


OODA Loop is a concept mooted by John Boyd who is former US Air Force fighter pilot. Basically, it is decision making approach for fighter pilots in combat. The term is the acronym for Observe – Orient – Decide and Act. John Boyd observes the dog fights and realizes that energy manoeuvrability provides much more advantage than speed or power.

Colonel John Boyd

A pilot who observes his enemy, orients depending on the enemy’s location, decides the appropriate choice and then acts the decision rapidly stays one step ahead. The enemy cannot be located at the behind of the one who applies the OODA loop and could not shoot. So, the design of F-16 is arisen according to this concept.

360 Degress (or 6400 NATO Mils) Observable Cabin of a F-16 Jet Plane

So, what is the relation between OODA Loop and Analytics process? Let’s look at the sub-processes. Firstly, observation is about collecting data with various attributes to be thought as correlated with the result. This stage could be called as Descriptive Analytics. Secondly, orientation is about analysis of the collected data. This could be handled by modeling the problem and classifying / clustering it. This step could be named as Predictive Analytics. Thirdly, decisioning is about evaluating predictions of the previous step and determining how to benefit from predictions. After then, acting is about evaluating how applying the decision impact anything else. The final two steps would be defined as Prescriptive Analytics. Finally, the concept proposes to repeat this process until succeed because of the term loop. In other words, prepare yourself to fail.


Adaption of military strategies into the daily life would really amaze me. Would not you?


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