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number of manned defense systems, embedding training in the equipment itself, and emphasizing support systems for making decisions: all three trends will need innovations based on human factors.

Several government agencies—including the Department of Defense, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Aviation Administration—have adopted regulations or procedures that require decision makers to consider human factors. The Navy, for example, has made interdisciplinary management an institutional requirement for advanced programs, and it is a procedure in which human factors expertise has provided critical support. Although these regulations ensure that human factors will receive some type of attention, they do not guarantee that decisions will be made by human factors experts or that involvement will amount to more than checking off a box. Human factors professionals still must articulate and demonstrate the value of bringing in the right kinds of people and effectively using their expertise.

The rest of this section identifies key points drawn from workshop discussions regarding resource commitments, resource mobilization, strategies for advancing human factors, and packaging the outputs of human factors; it ends with a note on continuing issues in the field.

Resource Commitments

Human factors research and development can produce numerous benefits for individuals, business, government, and society. The workshop discussions focused on some of the most compelling reasons that industry and government should invest in human factors.


A strong case can be made that investments in human factors improve health and safety. Companies that do so also signal that they have positive values: they care about the health, safety, and well-being of their employees and the consumers of their products.

One factor that persuaded the military to fund ergonomics research after the Vietnam War was the number of American casualties attributable to our own errors, including such highly visible errors as blowing up an ammunition dump or shooting a rocket into one of our own tanks. The airline industry also

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