News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

N. Human Systems Interface

1. Scope

Army requirements on the individual combatant are increasing as never before as new technologies are being integrated into the soldier’s role. The end of the cold war as well as societal and budgetary concerns have served to downsize our fighting forces. At the same time, night vision technologies allow us—and force us—to "own the night"; this also requires us to "staff" the night for round–the–clock operations. Technologies also allow us to increase the operating tempo of combat with faster, longer range weapons and vehicles such as a 45–miles per hour (mph) tank and the electronic corollary to "faster, longer," the digitized battlefield. Thus, our soldiers must work faster to engage fully the benefits of these technologies, and they must do so at more consistent and sustained peak levels, for there is no longer much time to ponder or to easily retrieve commands. This section is allied to the Human Systems Interface program in the DTAP, but the Army deals most critically with a variety of mission and environmental conditions not encountered by the other services or industry. The Human Systems Interface program encompasses information display and performance enhancement (ID&PE), design integration and supportability (DI&S), warrior protection and sustainment (WP&S), and personnel performance and training (PPT). The ID&PE and DI&S activities are presented here, while the WP&S and PPT research are discussed in Sections IV–F and IV–O, respectively. ID&PE and DI&S technologies seek to enhance the processing and delivery of task–critical information to individuals and groups, aiding the functional operation and logistical support of weapon and information systems, and the integration of crews with weapon systems for maximum mission effectiveness, survivability, and supportability.

2. Rationale

The key to force lethality, survivability, and unit efficiency is the effective use of human resources. People are the most critical component of weapon systems. They are also the most costly component. Personnel and related costs exceed $70 billion annually. There is an additional $20–30 billion spent on training, not all of which currently hits the mark. Part of the HSI mission is to lower this training burden while extending training effectiveness. This expenditure represents about 40 percent of the $241 billion FY97 defense budget. The Human Systems Interface S&T program directly contributes to all Joint Staff future warfighting capabilities by optimizing the use of the DoD’s most critical resource—its people. The impacts of these technologies include:

Substantial increases in unit readiness through lowered training requirements via optimized task, tool, and equipment redesign, as well as more robust training techniques where that training is most needed—while reducing costs.
Improved mission performance—lethality and survivability—through more effective information displays and decision support systems.
Casualty reduction from early warning, enhanced protection and escape systems.
Enhanced mobility from better logistics, lowered physical requirements, and other troop sustainment technologies.

Combat systems will be designed to capitalize on human strengths and mitigate weaknesses while simultaneously improving sustainment and support of warfighting systems. Advances in warrior protection systems address concerns about casualties in conflict. By providing the personal protection and life support necessary to meet current and future threats, these technology efforts make the individual warrior more effective and achieve force multiplication. With fewer soldiers executing the mission, we decrease the tax burden and put fewer warfighters in harm’s way while still achieving mission objectives. Advances in human systems interface technologies are essential for the services to meet their global commitments in combat and peacekeeping roles.

Human Systems Interface technology takes a unique, multidisciplinary approach to the human role in combat operations. Our collective capability to draw on the physical, biological, biomedical, and behavioral sciences to support the core of human factors engineering S&T is more critical than ever. Instead of facing a single massive threat, the warfighter is also challenged by the potential of simultaneous, multiple, low–intensity conflicts. A force with new and larger weapon systems with increasing speed, range, and firepower is now joined by a smaller force with fewer weapon systems but with more functionality, fewer hands–on training hours, fewer people, less acquisition, and aging systems that must be maintained. This change in focus places a growing demand on the human, who is in the loop of every weapon system.

To achieve this, a more affordable, yet more broadly deployed, more "ready" force, the services must increasingly emphasize "force–multiplying" weapon systems and training and retention of qualified people and their personal protection, sustainment, and survival during operations. For the full range of weapon systems, Human Systems Interface technology is integral to major gains in operability, effectiveness, availability, and affordability. Over a weapon system’s life cycle, the cost of the people to operate and maintain the system typically is significantly higher than the cost of the system’s hardware. Through vigorous application of Human Systems Interface technologies to current and future weapon systems, we can achieve gains such as 50 percent reductions in average crew size, 25 percent reductions in physical, perceptual, and cognitive workloads, 15 percent or more reduction in the weight of personal equipment, 30 percent overall weight reduction in ballistic protection while decreasing casualties, doubling critical decision making accuracy and reliability, quadrupling overall crew member situation awareness, and achieving a 50 percent reduction in total life–cycle costs.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Information Display and Performance Enhancement

Goals and Timeframes

ID&PE aims to enhance soldier capabilities for both cognitive–perceptual and physical–physiological task demands. For the near term, in both cases the first tactic is to lower requirements through "human friendly" design of interfaces, tasks, and equipment. Extensive remapping of our understanding of these interactions is necessitated by the extremely rapid response needed to take advantage of force–multiplier technologies. Further, a good deal of work is needed to extrapolate beyond guidelines from the private sector and academia, where demands are not at militarily significant levels.

For the mid to far term, full–time, real–time situation awareness is the core challenge for cognitive S&T research. Information technology developments are critical to making available to the soldier the information potential lurking on the digitized battlefield of tomorrow. The primary route is through human engineering and integration of emerging sensor, display, and processor technologies to organize, identify, manage, and present critical combat data. Next, we must enhance mental performance via complementing human processing strengths and weaknesses, including lowering cognitive and perceptual demands under conditions of extreme physical demands and other stressors. Night vision devices, 3D auditory displays, and ergonomic design of tasks and tools will lead the way to enhanced performance for the 21st century soldier (see roadmap for timelines).

Major Technical Challenges

Challenges include presenting information (visual, aural, haptic) to the warfighter using robust displays that remain friendly even under combat stress conditions. Stressors range from those of jungle combat to those of rotorcraft warfare. New ways are needed to represent and visualize information extracted from the buzz and fog of war. How to use multimodal control and input methods such as touch, speech, eye tracking, and natural language requires a serious S&T mentality.

A second challenge is to extend the soldier’s physical, cognitive, and psychological capabilities. This involves a core human factors task—that of merging and extending existing models of biodynamics and ergonomics with emerging models of human cognition, decision making, and human stress. Once this is done, no time can be wasted in a transition to integration with weapon systems models, C3I models, and realistic soldier–in–the–loop mission scenarios.

b. Design Integration and Supportability

Goals and Timeframes

The overarching objective here is to improve weapon system effectiveness, availability, and affordability throughout development, fielding, and life cycle. DI&S goals include:

Developing a national (for selected aspects, international) technology base in human performance modeling and assessment.
Designing tools and equipment for physical accommodation
Devising efficient, robust methods for human error assessment, prediction, and avoidance.
Developing tools, such as integrated manpower and personnel integration tools of integrated MANPRINT (IMPRINT) and individual unit solder simulation (IUSS), for estimating and evaluating human performance requirements for a given system design.
Developing tools to both streamline and enhance the weapon system support infrastructure.

Major Technical Challenges

Earlier in this chapter, complexities brought about by emerging technologies was discussed. While the massive amount of human performance data collected over the past few decades could help reduce the effects of these complexities, the data are not always retrievable or transformable into in a form useful to efforts toward future human–system integration. A penalty is that the soldier’s need often is addressed too late in the design and even fielding phases. Largely due to human variability, even linking the best of these data to CAD/computer–aided engineering (CAE) tools is considerably more difficult than when using data for physical systems.

New methods are needed to help share data among diverse disciplines and platforms, to extrapolate currently known human performance data into the 10–15 year future system, and to use the proper metrics for measuring progress.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for the Human Systems Interface is shown in Table IV–28.

5. Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

The influence of this technology area on TRADOC FOCs is summarized in Table IV–29.

Table IV–28.  Technical Objectives for Human Systems Interface

Technology Subarea

Near Term FY98–99

Mid Term FY00–04

Far Term FY05–13

Information Display and Performance Enhancement (ID&PE) Context–sensitive intelligent interface

Implement cognitive decision aiding tools in simulation use

Develop algorithms to support commanders for on–the–move (OTM) operations

Refinement of "audio icon" and integration in simulation platform

Develop database of soldier clothing and equipment compatibility information

Refine assessment techniques for national and international (joint coalition force) soldier modernization programs

Establish reach, vision, and strength criteria for female crew

Develop prognostic model of intelligence production and fusion

Develop "precursor" performance metrics and markers for team unit

Indicators and warnings for dismounted soldiers

Distributed interactive simulation for the individual soldier

Command OTM controls and layouts

Develop information engineering guidelines for information rich environments

Develop flight and other symbologies for enhancing helmet–mounted displays (HMDs)

Aiming accuracy, recoil mitigation, and indirect fire for small arms

Strength augmentation and sensory enhancement

Ergonomic design model for reducing soldier lift, carry, push, and pull loads

Performance related model of injury–stress relationship

For teleoperations, develop aids to provide textural and distance information, and to minimize attentional fixation

Multimodal interactive sensory displays

Individual soldier simulation network (SIMNET) individual soldier’s portal (I–PORT)

3D audio and video immersion displays

3D volumetric and immersion devices

Tri–service commonality on performance aiding, system supportability, and design integration

Develop human factors design guide for HMD

Integrate personal performance enhancement of hardware and weapons

Links to AI attributes, neural networks

Release graphic soldier model with reach, vision, and strength database

Design Integration and Supportability (DI&S) Human resource cost models relative to IEW, C2 vehicle (C2V)

Integrate models and databases for human factors, manpower, personnel, and training (HMPT)

Task performance models for expanded mission areas (C2, maintenance, etc.)

Evaluation of alternative system designs at notional system stage

Mission reconfigurable crew station

Teleoperation crew station layout

Full integration of generic algorithm for cockpit optimization (GASCO) into the man–machine integration design and analysis system (MIDAS) tool suite

Simulation–based determination of training and system support concepts, requirements, and resources

Database matrix for soldier system technologies for future system design evaluation

HMPT analysis tradeoff tool for system redesign options

Integrated real–time and predictive system supportability and operational readiness assessment capability

Full, synergistic, analysis capability from concept through prototype and from detailed interface specifications through force–on–force simulations

Diagnostic links to system design, design costs, tactics, and training


Table IV–29.  Human Systems Interface Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

Technology Subarea

Integrated and Branch/Functional Unique Future Operational Capabilities

Information Display and Performance Enhancement (ID&PE) TR 97–002 Situational Awareness
TR 97–012 Information Systems
TR 97–016 Information Analysis
TR 97–018 Relevant Information and Intelligence
TR 97–023 Mobility—Combat Dismounted
TR 97–054 Virtual Reality
TR 97–057 Modeling and Simulation
Design Integration and Supportability (DI&S) TR 97–001 Command and Control
TR 97–004 Tactical Operation Center Command Post
TR 97–014 Hands–Free Equipment Operation
TR 97–018 Relevant Information and Intelligence
TR 97–048 Performance Support Systems
TR 97–053 Embedded Training and Soldier–Machine Interface
TR 97–057 Modeling and Simulation

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