by CDR. Henry Phillips, NAWCTSD

In early May, the Department of Defense Human Factors Engineering Technical Advisory Group (DoD HFE TAG) held its 69th meeting, where 188 Human Factors & Human Systems Integration (HSI) professionals attended a total of 21 different sessions and special events over five days. Naval Support Activity Orlando hosted the meeting on behalf of Dr. Patrick Mason, Director, Human Performance, Training, and BioSystems Directorate, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD(RE)).


Lt. Cmdr. Dr. Jeff Grubb, PMA-205, participates in an augmented reality firefighting demonstration by Design Interactive, Inc.

This year’s meeting, “The Relationship of Training Requirements and Technology to Mission-Level Capabilities,” introduced several new activities in support of this theme, including a special session on Training and Simulation applications in medical systems; a training/tutorial session on Modeling and Simulation (M&S) complete with a panel featuring service and agency M&S representatives; and an overview of the Chief of Naval Operations’ Rapid Innovation Cell by its director, Cmdr. Ben Salazar.

The meeting also kicked off the TAG Mentors project, where senior members are matched with junior TAG members to help foster their professional development. The event was led by Allison Mead, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, and had 33 enrollees.

The chair of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Human Systems Division (NDIA HSD), HSD President, Dr. Chris Nemeth, also led a session designed to highlight the capabilities and best practices of NDIA HSD constituents, and the parallels between that organization and the TAG. It featured presentations from Dr. Nemeth, Cognitive Solutions Division, Applied Research Associates; Dr. Kelly Hale, Technical Operations, Design Interactive; Jean Castonguay, CogniSens; and Jeff Lyons, Virtual Heroes Division, Applied Research Associates.

A technology demonstration and poster session, highlighting government and industry capabilities relevant to the conference theme and TAG areas of practices, was organized by NDIA Central Florida Division President Joe O’Connell and Vice President Trevor Huth.

Government capabilities displayed included the Multipurpose Reconfigurable Training System (MRTS) developed by NAWCTSD, the Augmented Reality Sand Table (AReS), digital holograms, and other medical simulations developed by the Army Research Lab Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC). Industry partners that featured technologies included Soar Technologies, Serious Simulations, GameSim, Design Interactive, Rockwell Collins and partner CogniSens, Cubic and partner Intific, and Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training.

This session was followed by two capability overview tours. The first was the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) Weapons Simulation and Integration Laboratory which highlighted current augmented reality and virtual environment training development efforts, marksmanship and use of force trainers, and additive manufacturing capabilities.

The University of Central Florida Institute for Simulation and Training (UCF IST) was the second tour and highlighted medical simulation work, physiological data capture and analytic capabilities, interactive avatar research efforts, and virtual environment training capabilities developed under the Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) program for use in training paramedics, firefighters, and students.

The TAG chair position rotates annually among the Navy, Army, and Air Force, and includes representatives from all DoD services, FAA, DHS, and NASA who assist with hosting and governance. At the conclusion of the meeting, this year’s chair, Cmdr. Henry Phillips, NAWCTSD Military Deputy for Research and Technology, turned over the responsibilities for next year to Dr. William Kosnik, Material Branch Chief of the Air Force Human Systems Integration Directorate , 711th Human Performance Wing. TAG 70 will be hosted jointly in May 2016 by DHS/NASA at Langley AFB, and the call for proposals for will be released online early in 2016.

Attendance at TAG meetings is available at no cost, and is open to all government employees and active duty military, employees of National Laboratories or Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), students majoring in human factors and related disciplines, and official technical society/industrial association representatives. Others may attend by written invitation of the conference chair.

The meetings provide an excellent opportunity for government scientists and engineers from around the country, and industry partners, both local and nonlocal, to strengthen their professional networks, research efforts, and acquisition capabilities and products as a result of their involvement.

Notes: The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Department of Defense or its components. All photographs are cleared for release Distribution A. Modified versions of this article also appeared in the May 2015 issues of the Naval Aviation Enterprise SitSum; Call Signs, A Publication of the United States Naval Aerospace Experimental Psychology Society; and the Human Performance, Training, and Biosystems Newsletter.

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