Fingertip Feeling: A Synthesis of Ideas from Maneuver Warfare, 4GW, the OODA Loop, and Ender’s Game

Dr. Jamie Schwandt
28 min readJan 24, 2019

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card offers one of the best, if not the best, guides for understanding modern warfare. I encourage you to read the novel to see if any of the ideas mentioned here come to light. I used Ender’s Game to synthesize three specific concepts in warfare: Maneuver Warfare, Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), and Colonel John Boyd’s OODA Loop (which is fundamental to the understanding of the first two concepts).

This discussion will proceed as follows:

First, a brief discussion of the SEE model. Second, a discussion of the three concepts mentioned above. Third, a final discussion on how I used Ender’s Game to synthesize these ideas.

SEE: Changing the Rules

image created via Thortspace.com

“You didn’t come here to make the choice. You’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it.” — The Matrix

Fingertip feeling (Fingerspitzengefuhl) is intuitive knowledge. As discussed in The Ultimate Guide to the OODA Loop, fingertip feeling is most easily understood as intuitive skill or intuitive knowledge — where the value of fingertip feeling in terms of OODA (Observe — Orient — Decide — Act), is that it collapses the Orient and Decide stages down to nothing so you can go through the loop faster and more easily get inside your adversary’s OODA Loop. You go straight from Observe to Act.

image via Wikipedia.org

I propose we use Holcocephala (aka the killer or robber fly) as a model for intuitive decision-making, similar to the OODA Loop. Holcocephala possesses a visual targeting and intercepting system allowing it to make lightning-fast actions. In A Novel Interception Strategy in a Miniature Robber Fly with Extreme Visual Acuity, the authors of the study discuss its visual system. They found that, when an object is far away, the…

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Dr. Jamie Schwandt

Dr. Schwandt (Ed.D.) is an American author, L6S master black belt, and red teamer.