Advanced Research Workshop 2008
Human Systems Integration to Enhance Maritime Domain Awareness
for Port/Harbour Security Systems
Opatija, Croatia (December 8-12)

Background > NATO ARW

In 2005 the members of the organizing committee of this ARW organized the ARW 981703 ( held in Tallinn, Estonia. The ARW was mostly focused on building an understanding of policies for technology experts and an understanding of technologies and methodologies for building systems to support situational awareness for the harbor protection. The ARW identified a number of issues/topics that need to be investigated further, human-system integration being one of the more significant ones. This ARW will continue discussions initiated in 2005 in Tallinn while the focus will be shifted to the problems of the human-system integration.

Traditionally, Systems Engineering has mostly focused on the technological aspects of system design, such as hardware, software and automation, while often ignoring the fact that these systems will ultimately be used in the service of humans to meet the demands of work domains. Human Factor perspective helps to ensure optimal performance by applying principles of human physiology and cognition to the design of tools, systems, procedures, and work environments. Human Factors asks not only 'What do you need?' but also 'How do you need it?'.

Port Security is achieved through joint operations of a large number of systems and technologies. With time these systems and technologies become more and more complex to be able to deal with more and more complex security threat situations. In order to help the operators to cope with the data overload in such systems and to increase the performance, there is a growing need to provide them with automated support systems. Nevertheless, many automated systems are being developed without sufficient consideration of human factors issues. Hence, the deployment of automated systems does not necessarily simplify the user's task and guarantee a better performance. Moreover, it can create several types of uncertainties and can lead to catastrophic errors, especially in complex environments where multiple dynamic components are present. In order to adapt the new automated systems to human operator the cognitive engineering techniques should be integrated into the process of system development, i.e. there should be integration between cognitive engineering and system engineering. To optimize human performance within any system, it is important that systems designers adequately address human issues early and often in the design and development of that system. Systems engineers must work hand-in-glove with human factors engineers.