Three Letters Re: How to Win with Asymmetric Warfare, by Robert R.

Dear JWR,
I would like to share some links and great references from a survival lecture and slide presentation given by one of the most important (yet non-acclaimed nearly enough) contributors to our US Strategic Warfare Development by John R. Boyd, Col. USA, deceased 1997. See this PDF of a slide presentation

I had to chuckle when I read a follow up tactical criticism submitted in an article to SurvivalBlog and to the attempted re-writing and improving potential maneuverings for chapter scenario enhancements in excerpts from your revised “Patriots” novel. I so much enjoy this novel and consider it a great reference on survival tactics. I think many people are seeking printed tactical doctrine but instead are searching in printed dogma. This is the true beauty of Boyd’s, OODA and Conceptual Spiral Processes in strategic maneuvering applied in tactics–they are not static and limited only to the user’s ability to apply the processes. Your individual outcome is personalized by your individual input. I hope this information will assist us all to reach out to study and think and respond outside of the doctrine box. Even now his concepts are being adapted for use in the realms of world business applications.
Here is my analogy of OODA and Conceptual Spiral in its sublime offensive performance in survival strategic applications. As is said in [the movie] The Matrix: “There is no spoon.” – KBF


Hey Jim,
Let me fist say, as an outdoorsman and someone who has always felt the need to be prepared. I love your site. Tons of great info, great ideas and lots of different topics. That being said I would like to encourage you and your readers to keep things in perspective. I think we all agree that hard times are inevitable for this country and the world. We all “feel” it. But we do not know how severe, how long, how dangerous, or how chaotic the theoretical “hard times” can or even will be! I feel the need to prepare, but I pray that I never need to use it.
That being said, [Robert’s article] would have been great food for thought if it had been left at “consider going on the offensive and here are some of Sun Tzu’s thoughts”. 1 – 3 great points! But next we have some guy walking around with a suppressed pistol whacking people and shooting pre-placed sheds full of chemicals that explode.

From what I understand, you’ve written a great novel (I haven’t read yet “Patriots”) but this kind of stuff gives us a bad name. I have referred several people to this site and I pray they did not read that post. I would encourage people to be very careful when developing hypothetical situations in their heads. They have no proof that it will happen, or how bad it will be.

We need to promote preparation, protection, self-sufficiency, educate your family, squirrel away some food! Preparation means being prepared for a whole host of situations, not writing the sequel to “The Postman” movie. Thank you for my favorite site on the Internet! – Pathfinder

JWR Replies: I agree that there is a risk of letting one’s imagination run wild, or unbridled “what if” conjecture. But I also agree with Robert that flexibility and the ability to venture and out and then employ time-proven “offense is the best defense” axiom. That flexibility would be desirable in “worst case” situations where law enforcement is non-existent and your retreat might come under a lengthy siege–a situation where you are completely on your own. Granted, the chance of an extended breakdown of law and order is small, but it is impossible to rule it out.


I also have read “The Art of War” and have been in battle more then once. I agree on some of what was said but there are some things that I have used as many have in times of battle 1) you should never go into a battle without four weapons A) your main battle weapon (your brain ) B) your main battle rife C) your backup weapon [typically, a handgun] D) your back-up rifle. I will further explain: no matter what else you carry into battle is your brain–outwitting your enemy is the first thing you must do. B) your main battle rifle whatever floats your boat and become good with it until its just a another limb on your body. C) You should also become as good with your first backup weapon as your primary. (B). D) depending on what my mission was I would carry [in my vehicle] a sniper’s rifle or if it was not part of the mission requirements it would be whatever the enemy was mostly carrying and 9 out of 10 times it was the AK-47. The reason we were trained to do that was because when running low on ammo you could always get it from enemy KIAs.

Now that you have mentioned Jim’s novel, in the part of the rescue traveling by night would have been smart but also a forward scout like on a trail bike or something of that nature also would have helped and is what I would have done for several reasons. One of them not putting all my eggs in one basket (as in man power ), next is the threat of ambush, and last a forward scout would have also be handy in the ambush for flanking those problems.

Now I have blogged before about “tree tuxe”s (Ghillie suits) before. Instead of wearing multi-colored BDU or digital [pattern ACUs] both in warm weather and cold weather a ghillie would work much better. In most cases is a better camo then anything else. Even if your enemy has night vision gear, you are hard to find [when in a ghillie suit]. Next, since any people cannot get [Federally registered, $200 transfer tax] suppressors [since they are banned under separate state laws] it is a little more close up but Robert did not say anything about a knife, tomahawk , axe, or even a compound bow which all with some practice are all very good silent killers. – CDR

JWR Replies: I agree with most of what CDR wrote, except that arrows are not usually silent killers. They kill by bleeding out an opponent. If you hit a man with an arrow–even in the heart–he’ll scream bloody murder until he bleeds out. (Typically one to four minutes.) The chances of getting a perfect spine shot–and instantaneous incapacitation–are very small.

As background, I should mention that I have an acquaintance that was a medic on a CIA covert operations team in the late 1970s. On one mission, against his advice, the team leader tried using a 200 pound draw weight crossbow for taking out a sentry. The sentry screamed and yelled so loudly that he woke everyone up for a long distance. So much for “covert”. A tomahawk, a short axe (such as a miner’s axe), or a even a short-handled two-pound sledge hammer to the back of the neck or base of the skull is far superior for sentry removal.

I also agree that ghillie suits are a good option, in most circumstances. Two exceptions: Very brushy terrain where they can easily get snagged, and very hot weather, when wearing a Ghillie suit could quickly turn you into a heat casualty.