THEORY - Maneuver Concepts
02.07.00 The need for external environments.

Perhaps the easiest way to imagine this is to think of sensory deprivation tanks where a person is deprived of all 5 senses. Without any external stimuli the human brain quickly short circuits and begins a quick slide to insanity. In Boyd’s words:

“We need an external environment, or outside world, to define ourselves and maintain organic integrity, otherwise we experience dissolution/disintegration-i.e., we come unglued.”(9)

From a strategic perspective Boyd summarizes this as:

“A game in which we must be able to diminish adversary’s ability to communicate or interact with his environment while sustaining or improving ours.” (10)

9. Patterns of Conflict. John Boyd. Available at
10. Patterns of Conflict. John Boyd. Available at