John Boyd and his Gulf War


  • Anthony Gallipoli University of Alberta



American history, Military history


This paper investigates the critical role that United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd played in the Gulf War of 1991 leading to the Coalition’s swift victory over Iraqi forces. John Boyd’s presentations to U.S government officials several years before the Gulf War would eventually prove to be a critical, if not unheralded moment in the development of the modern American military strategy. Boyd’s theorems about military strategy proved to be revolutionary as one writer has claimed that John Boyd is one of the great military strategists of all time, comparing him to the likes of Sun Tzu and Carl Von Clausewitz. Indeed, Boyd may be partly responsible for injecting the American war doctrine with a fresh perspective following the debacle known as the Vietnam War. Alongside his development of a modern doctrine of war, Boyd was responsible for helping develop the F-15 and F-16 aircrafts. Clearly, the efforts of Colonel Boyd played an important role in the revitalization of the American war machine.