Automation Technology and Human Performance: Current Research and Trends

By Mark W. Scerbo | Go to book overview

Automation and Human Performance: Considerations in Future Military Forces

Thomas Mastaglio Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center

The United States Military is committed to applying information system technology to enhance the effectiveness of its combat systems and aid the performance of its soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. The Department of Defense has undertaken several experimental and demonstration programs to determine the best approach to applying and integrating information systems to achieve this goal. These advanced technology demonstrations include the Army's Force XXI experiments, its Army After Next war games, the Navy's Smartship initiative and its efforts to build an Arsenal Ship. Some of these programs are ongoing, others completed, and some discontinued.

The lessons the military is learning in terms of how to design their systems, automate existing operational procedures, and when to replace them with new ones can be of use to the nondefense sector confronting similar challenges. A panel of experts who have been involved in these technology development and demonstration programs will address the challenges in dealing with these automated information and command and control systems. Topics will include: information overload, decision making using information presented using virtual displays, interacting with computers under stressful conditions, team cohesion, data visualization, and determining a suitable organization structure with clearly defined roles for all its members.

The central issue for this panel is the military's new awareness that the demands and stress of a combat environment impact human performance in ways that have not been predicted or considered in the past. Automation brings new capabilities, but associated new challenges for managing combat operations and training operators to work effectively. We will also allow time for interaction with the conference audience for questions and comments regarding ways the military can take advantage of knowledge gained through research and industry efforts to automate their operations.


U.S. ARMY FORCE XXI PROGRAM: SOME HUMAN DIMENSIONS

Richard E. Christ U.S. Army Research Institute

During the 1990s the Army dedicated a massive effort toward beginning the development of a digitized land combat force. This effort was fostered by anticipated leaps in the capabilities of communication and information technology. Its application to the domain of military operations was further stimulated directly by a pamphlet published by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Force XXI Operations. The developmental effort was supported by large-scale experimentation with digital technology, focused largely on issues related to the operation of a wireless tactical internet, and on the integration and performance of various hardware and software systems. As experimentation continues, a knowledge gap has been recognized in areas related to the human dimensions of digitization.

My presentation will provide a very brief description of the objectives of and the methods used by the Army during a series of Advanced Warfighting Experiments and an equally brief summary of the official results of those experiments. Then, as a stimulus for expanding the scope of issues that are considered by this panel and the conference, I will provide a summary description of three quite different research programs with which I have been associated. These research programs, identified below, taken together with others described at this conference, underscore clearly the need for more research designed to identify and to recommend responses to the new capabilities and challenges brought to the domains of human and

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