I'm currently reading Tempo by Venkatesh Guru Rao and thoroughly enjoying it. I'm going to review it at some point, but I wanted to muse briefly on one of the themes of the book, that of being aware of this key factor and it's dual role. As I've not finished the book please forgive me if I'm about to read this, but here we go.
Rao's book tries to make the reader more aware of one critical aspect of tempo, the context of the environment in terms of it's tempo, how are things progressing, how fast, why? What are the implications of this?
Secondly of course, tempo is critical to operating within an OODA loop, Rao's thesis puts it alongside factors such as cultural heritage, previous experience, and the other factors which those who have seen the loop will be aware of. But controlling tempo is critical for the OODA loop.
So, tempo has a dual role. It is something which the operator must seek to control, because without control of tempo you have no control of the situation. But it is also important to understand the natural tempo of the situation, and the tempo which your opponent(s) are trying to impose on it. If they are trying to go slow, why is that? If they're speeding up, does it indicate confidence? Recklessness? Do you go with it, or impose your will on the situation?
Ultimately, controlling the tempo is what's important, because you are better able to orient yourselves if you know and can lock in the tempo at a pace you decide is right. Your opponent's will to control the pace should be seen as a random factor which requires elimination or at least suppression at the earliest point possible. Allowing your opponent to have any significant impact on the tempo of events is pretty much the same as admitting they are inside your loop.
And that is enough uses of the word "tempo" for the day.