6
Technology for Human Peformance

Introduction

During the next three decades, revolutionary developments are expected in several areas of science and technology that will enhance human performance and significantly benefit the naval forces. The challenges associated with providing the manpower required to conduct naval missions include recruiting competent people, matching talent to tasks, training for utmost proficiency, obtaining optimal performance on the job, maintaining individuals at peak competence, protecting personnel in combat environments, enriching the quality of the Service experience, and retaining highly trained personnel. The following sections discuss anticipated technological developments and how these might be employed to accomplish these tasks.

Among technologies of particular significance are (1) communications, including global access to people and information sources, distance learning, and interactive multimedia information transfer; (2) information processing, including human-machine interfaces, computer-processing speed and memory, intelligent software, modeling and simulation, and embedded information (e.g., smart card); (3) health care, including telemedicine, drug delivery systems, surgical techniques, and disease prevention and treatment; (4) biotechnology and genetics, including gene therapy, human genome mapping, DNA identification and categorization, susceptibility testing, disease diagnosis, and vaccine and drug development; and (5) cognitive processes, including knowledge of brain functions, optimal learning modes, memory expanding drugs, and fatigue management.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 204
6 Technology for Human Peformance Introduction During the next three decades, revolutionary developments are expected in several areas of science and technology that will enhance human performance and significantly benefit the naval forces. The challenges associated with providing the manpower required to conduct naval missions include recruiting competent people, matching talent to tasks, training for utmost proficiency, obtaining optimal performance on the job, maintaining individuals at peak competence, protecting personnel in combat environments, enriching the quality of the Service experience, and retaining highly trained personnel. The following sections discuss anticipated technological developments and how these might be employed to accomplish these tasks. Among technologies of particular significance are (1) communications, including global access to people and information sources, distance learning, and interactive multimedia information transfer; (2) information processing, including human-machine interfaces, computer-processing speed and memory, intelligent software, modeling and simulation, and embedded information (e.g., smart card); (3) health care, including telemedicine, drug delivery systems, surgical techniques, and disease prevention and treatment; (4) biotechnology and genetics, including gene therapy, human genome mapping, DNA identification and categorization, susceptibility testing, disease diagnosis, and vaccine and drug development; and (5) cognitive processes, including knowledge of brain functions, optimal learning modes, memory expanding drugs, and fatigue management.

OCR for page 204
These areas will likely experience extraordinary leaps in knowledge and applicability within the next few years. The forthcoming technological advances could have a profound impact on many aspects of life in the Navy and Marine Corps, especially (1) education and training, (2) operational performance, (3) health and safety, and (4) quality of life. The Navy has placed high priority on reducing crew sizes both aboard ships and on shore. By adapting technology improvements, the Navy will achieve a higher level of manpower readiness than ever before and thereby accomplish its mission with fewer, better-prepared people. Because the most consequential future technology advances will be in computers and the accompanying ease of access and assimilation of information, it is notable that future recruits will be better prepared to employ these advances by being uniformly computer literate and accustomed to learning via computer-aided, self-paced instruction. The aspects of the technologies described in this chapter are limited to those that appear to be relevant to enhancing human performance in the context of the naval force requirements. The intent of this discussion is merely to highlight certain anticipated technology developments and their potential applications. Included is a concise description of the technology, with status and trends; relevance to the Navy and Marine Corps, with likely impact on future naval operations; needed developmental activities in the military and/or commercial sector, with possible time scale for use. The material is grouped into two segments: technologies and applications. Technologies That Will Have an Impact Among the many technologies undergoing rapid and continuous change, the following are thought to be particularly important to enhancing human performance of naval personnel over the next three decades. The intent of this discussion is to illustrate some of the gains that these technologies can provide the Navy and Marine Corps if properly developed and integrated into naval operations. It is noteworthy that the Department of the Navy is adept at keeping pace with technology developments and has continuously applied technology, within the limits of its resources, in a rational and timely manner to improve its effectiveness. This is especially true in regard to systems; it is less so for personnel, although this area has not been neglected. Changes in technology are usually nonlinear and nonperiodic, whether evolutionary, revolutionary, or serendipitous; efforts to predict future developments are generally suspect. Trends can be identified and predictions made based on the knowledge that similar outcomes have occurred in the past. It cannot be known, for example, if gene therapy for hereditary disorders will be perfected as a result of insight gained in human genome research, but it is a reasonable expectation. What cannot be anticipated, of course, are scientific and technological

OCR for page 204
breakthroughs that accelerate the pace of change and redirect the course of future events. Communications Within a decade, most of the world's population will have access to the Internet, and the Internet will access most of the major public databases in the world. This explosion of global information and rapid information availability is already altering, in very fundamental ways, the education process at the elementary, secondary, and college level. Although global station-to-station telephone service has existed for many years, the addition of cellular telephone and paging systems sets the stage for a time when virtually everyone will be instantly available via voice communication, day or night, anywhere in the world. Television transmissions via satellites now cover the globe, and soon interactive audio-video signals will facilitate essentially instantaneous interactive multimedia information transfer worldwide. Each of these modes of communication will continuously improve in access speed, data content, and information value over the next three decades. Today, the idea of creating hundreds of communication satellites in a low Earth-orbit network is only a concept; within 30 years it will be fully operational and readily available to all, friend and foe alike. These developments will have a significant impact on the performance of naval personnel, including improved operational readiness, on-site/on-demand training, and enhanced quality of life. These advances, however, will be driven by commercial applications, independent of military interests, and it will be the responsibility of the Navy and Marine Corps to exploit the benefits of these developments and adapt them to suit their unique needs. The coming age of global connectivity and accessibility will cause a reevaluation of traditional organizational structures that are shaped in part by the traditional means of communication among its members. People will become increasingly able to obtain and act on information individually without need of supervision or organizational infrastructure. Further, the information an individual obtains and the actions he or she takes, or is preparing to take, can be instantaneously shared with many others. This environment lends itself to greater reliance on individual decision-making, aided when necessary by human and/or artificial (computer-based) experts located elsewhere. With the accompanying advances in information processing, the interrelationships and combined effects of multiple individual decisions can be evaluated and assimilated into a comprehensible view of events, thereby facilitating the effective management of extremely complex situations and increasing the value and utility of every individual participating in the process. This is the path to more efficient utilization of naval personnel and eventual reduction of their total numbers.

OCR for page 204
Information Processing The staggering pace of improvement in computer-processing capabilities has been the dominant theme in information processing over the past 40 years, and hardware advances will continue at a similar pace for the foreseeable future. For many years, software lagged far behind hardware, but the advent of user-friendly, menu-driven procedures has given software development increased momentum. There is now an avalanche of new computer software covering an ever-increasing expanse of topics and relevant to an ever-broadening range of applications. This trend will accelerate in the future to eventually provide user-friendly intelligent software systems and a wide variety of expert systems. These improved information-processing capabilities will continue to be important to the Navy and Marine Corps in upgrading the performance of Service personnel, but the current methods of implementing the human-machine interface are a barrier to realizing the ultimate value of this technology. Access via the mouse opened computer usage to many individuals who had difficulty overcoming the keyboard barrier, but the current processes of both computer input and output are inefficient and fail to utilize many human comprehension skills. They are barriers to achieving the maximum value of information-processing technology. Significant advances in human-machine interface speed and efficiency will be forthcoming during the next three decades. The ultimate objective is to transfer human thoughts into digital information, and vice versa, with the least number of transformations and conversions. This problem is being attacked at both the input and output stages. Computer output has been enhanced using audio, graphics, images, and animated presentations, all in readily accessible, menu-driven formats. The next stage will include three-dimensional holographic displays to support virtual-reality simulation and modeling. To date, progress at the input end has been less spectacular. Some technologists forecast a time when there will be direct coupling between the human brain and machines, but that scenario is not a requirement for achieving greatly improved interface efficiency. The development of interface devices using handwriting and/or the spoken word will grow beyond the present notebook stage to provide a new class of input options for manual and vocal data entry. Although speech is generally a less accurate and less efficient means of computer interface, it will soon become a common mode of human-machine communication, particularly for command of relatively simple machine operations. This will open even more applications of digital information-processing technology to enhance the performance of Service personnel, for example, embedded training, intelligent tutors, and robotics. The smart card containing a high-density read-only memory chip is a promising new form of machine output that will serve many personal and commercial functions, including compact personnel records, positive identification, secure money/phone/credit card, and emergency medical records (possibly implanted).

OCR for page 204
The smart card will become a common accessory in all industrialized nations within the next decade because of its convenience, security, and high-information content. As computer speed and capacity have increased, and image and graphical representations have improved, modeling and simulation techniques have expanded into a wide variety of applications. In addition to the obvious value of these techniques for system design and optimization, they will be increasingly employed in decision-making, especially for complex situations. Much has been written about the potential of modeling and simulation techniques for evaluating and managing wartime situations, but the most promising application will be more efficient, cost-effective personnel training that exposes students to up-to-date, accurate, and realistic warfighting scenarios, equipmentand systems-maintenance information, and operation and safety procedures. Health Care Advances in health care during the past decade have been exceeded in magnitude and significance only by advances in information processing. Most notable have been improvements in pharmaceuticals, surgical techniques, and rehabilitation procedures. Future developments will benefit the Navy and Marine Corps not only in improved combat medicine, but also in the operational readiness and proficiency of sailors and marines, reduced health care costs for naval personnel and dependents, and enhanced quality of life aboard ship and on shore. The enhanced effectiveness and applicability of recent pharmaceutical products for treatment of physiological, neurological, and pyschological disorders are impressive even for drug development using conventional chemistry. With the advent of drug development using combinatorial chemistry and genetic-engineering methods, entirely new pharmaceutical products will cascade onto the market beginning within the next decade. The intense concentration on viral infections as a result of the AIDS epidemic has greatly knowledge of cell biology and facilitated customized drug-design procedures that reduce the drug-development task and improve efficiency and efficacy. The development process is further enhanced when modern molecular design and synthesis techniques are employed. Proceeding in parallel are innovative drug-delivery techniques such as microencapsulation, implants, and other controlled-release mechanisms. Currently, these techniques are being applied to deliver existing drugs, but eventually they will be an integral part of the initial drug-development process, thereby reducing the frequency of application, improving the effectiveness of the dose, and facilitating use of an expanded range of chemicals. These techniques will also enable the development of multicomponent, multivalent vaccination systems, including oral vaccines. The rapid progress in drug and vaccine development, with the increased understanding of cell biology and genetics, suggests that many common diseases

OCR for page 204
will be cured or controlled in the near future. HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases will pose far less of a threat. Improved diagnostic tests and treatments will sharply reduce the risk of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Ongoing research indicates that gene-therapy techniques will be discovered within the next three decades to correct certain genetic disorders and/or reduce the onset of hereditary problems. Regardless of the ultimate technical success and social acceptance of gene-therapy techniques, the research is already producing methods to screen for genetic defects that pose health hazards and thereby facilitate early intervention and possible control. Recent advances in surgical techniques have greatly reduced the recovery period associated with traditional surgery. Laparoscopic procedures are finding wide application in internal medicine to lessen the damage and risks involved in abdominal surgery. Similar procedures are becoming routine in orthopedic and cardiovascular examinations and treatment. These techniques, coupled with robotics technology and reliable global communications, pave the way for sophisticated telemedicine to provide higher-quality medical treatment aboard ships using shipboard personnel with less extensive education and training. Organ transplants are becoming routine, and new procedures are under development to reduce the risk of organ rejection with less hardship for the recipient. The problem of obtaining suitable transplant organs will soon be overcome through the use of animal surrogates, artificial organs, and eventually, a cloning or replication technique. Recovery from surgery and other injuries will be quicker and less debilitating because of continual improvements in rehabilitation methods and rejuvenating drugs. An added benefit of these new techniques will be the development of better methods for obtaining and maintaining peak physical conditioning. The ongoing national search for more efficient, cost-effective health care is producing many new procedures and approaches to medical treatment that will ultimately benefit the Navy and Marine Corps. Further refinement of noninvasive examination and diagnostics techniques, e.g., ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), will be particularly important, especially when smaller, portable instruments are developed for use aboard ships. Accompanying these developments will be real-time disease and injury surveillance, more rapid and accurate field diagnostic techniques, and more effective on-site medical treatment (artificial blood, smart splints, and the like). Biotechnology and Genetics ''Genetics is the future of medicine." This was a key finding of a 3-year study conducted for the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army.1 Collection of 1   Surgeon General of the U.S. Army 1996. Consolidated Military Genetics/DNA Program, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., March.

OCR for page 204
genetic information is integral to providing health care today, and the demand for genetic services will greatly increase in the future. Within the next decade, every gene in the human genome will have been mapped and sequenced. Nearly 2,000 genetic disorders have already been defined. The report to the Surgeon General stated: "The opportunities stemming from the new-found knowledge in molecular biology … present military medicine with the chance to affect operational readiness of the armed forces in ways never before possible." At present, clinical genetic laboratories can provide a series of highly specific and sensitive analyses for genetic and infectious diseases using techniques such as the polymerase chain reaction or ligase chain reaction. Civilian medicine has also introduced large-scale efforts for genetic testing for both breast and colon cancer. Other common genetic tests will soon emerge, including tests for hypertension, atherosclerosis, and many types of cancer. Testing for conditions such as cystic fibrosis, factor V (Leiden) mutation, familial hypercholesterolemia, certain metabolic disorders, and diseases of premature neurologic degeneration (Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease) are relevant to the determination of the fitness of military recruits. Conventional approaches toward these tests, however, are labor intensive and expensive. Recent developments in miniaturizing bioanalytical instrumentation will become important in reducing the cost of these tests and therefore allow for the widespread adoption of multiple genetic testing. Knowledge derived from human genome research is particularly important to military medicine with enormous implications for resource allocation, military medical practices, and preventive care. The information and technologies derived from this research are rapidly being developed for health care applications, and they will have an impact on all of medicine in ways not anticipated at the present time. Of special significance will be the development of human gene maps, the discovery of genetic disorders, the ability to conduct rapid and inexpensive genetic tests, the development of inexpensive and portable analytical instruments, and the perfection of technologies to permanently preserve the DNA content of human tissue. The rapid advance of new biotechnology techniques will accelerate during the next three decades. Despite the fact that the level of knowledge in this field is still quite low, there are now several hundred biotechnology companies developing commercial products, and more than 100 genetically engineered products are currently undergoing clinical trials. The recent intense concentration on HIV has, coincidentally, yielded a much greater appreciation of the structure and operation of the human cell. This knowledge, coupled with rapidly improving tools such as computational chemistry, molecular modeling, crystallography, and high-through-put screening, has opened the way to more efficient development of drugs and drug-delivery systems that are customized to specific diseases. The concept of gene therapy remains a promising future possibility at this time, but ongoing research suggests that a proven treatment methodology will exist within a few years

OCR for page 204
and that it will be put into practice for a wide variety of genetic disorders during the next three decades. Cognitive Processes New imaging techniques, analytical methods, and scientific insights have opened the way to fresh paradigms in the study of the human mind and its substrate, the brain. Images of the brain taken from positron emission tomography (PET) scans and MRI have enabled scientists to observe, for the first time, certain brain functions. Enhanced electroencephalogram (EEG) sensor arrays can now detect brain-wave patterns at specific frequencies and locations within the brain. These data are being analyzed using increasingly powerful computational tools to model the workings of the mind to gain understanding of the learning process, memory storage, and many other aspects of the mental process. Rapidly emerging areas of scientific study, such as cognitive neuroscience, could have considerable potential value in several military applications. The U.S. Air Force study New World Vistas2 expresses considerable enthusiasm about the potential for increased understanding of brain function, so much so that it urges a commitment to a consistent level of investment in cognitive science research. The report notes that several recent developments make possible a vastly improved understanding of how people process information. This understanding can be used to better design information and control systems and to select, classify, and train people more effectively. Among these developments are improved methods of observing brain activity by monitoring electrical activity; improved understanding of brain biochemistry and neurology; development of computer models, such as neural networks; and the emergence of interdisciplinary collaboration in the study of the human mind. Within the next three decades, a computational model will be available that accurately simulates many brain functions, particularly the functions of memory storage and retrieval. Some believe this model could become the basis for a new generation of computers that either employ an electronic equivalent to the human neurological process or employ biological systems as computer processors. With this higher level of comprehension of brain functions, the learning process will be better understood and optimum learning modes will be developed. In addition, there will be a substantially increased understanding of the root causes of mental illness, abnormal behavior, mood changes, motivation factors, sleep cycles, and many other personality and attitudinal traits. From this knowledge will flow a 2   U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. 1995. New World Vistas, Air and Space Power for the 21st Century, U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., December.

OCR for page 204
wide range of new drugs and psychotherapeutic agents designed to correct, enhance, subdue, and modulate human performance and attitude, including enhancing an individual's ability and desire to learn, achieve, and relate positively to fellow human beings. These drugs will provide means to enhance information retention, memory recall, attention span, and mental endurance. These technological developments will be especially important to the Department of the Navy's efforts to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of its human resources, especially learning ability, decision-making skills, and memory capacity. Other Relevant Technologies The recent history of rapid technology evolution in areas relating to human performance, comfort, entertainment, education, and training makes it obvious that numerous advances in these fields will occur during the next three decades. Of particular significance to the Navy and Marine Corps will be food and nutrition technologies, environmental-pollution control and waste-elimination technologies, and air- and water-quality technologies. These will be driven by consumer demand and commercial opportunities, and the Department of the Navy will benefit from them by remaining attentive to developments and trends. Robotics encompasses technologies that have considerable potential to aid human performance, but because the cost-benefit ratio remains unfavorable for most commercial applications, the full value of robotics will not be realized in the near future. The opportunity exists, however, to employ robotics in specific, high-value naval applications. The Department of the Navy will have to fund the R&D to develop such devices. Technologies required to better prepare the Navy and Marine Corps to deal with chemical and biological warfare threats will remain dependent on DOD investments. There have been predictions of significant improvements in technologies for personal protection, including the possibility of vaccines. These will likely occur, particularly as a result of advances in biotechnology; however, it is equally likely that the severity of the threat will accelerate at about the same pace as the quality of the protective measures, if not faster. As knowledge of biotechnology and genetics increases, the potential for use of this knowledge to design even more sinister weapons will also increase. This situation will place demands on DOD for continued vigilance and long-term research support. Protective clothing and decontamination methods are the most fruitful areas for research investments. Applications Enhancing the performance of military personnel involves, for example, improving the match of personnel to the job at hand, the competence of an

OCR for page 204
individual to conduct a task quickly and accurately, the quality and reliability of decisions under stress, the survivability of sailors and marines in adverse combat situations, the ease and cost-effectiveness of maintenance functions, and recruiting and retaining competent people. The Navy and Marine Corps have in place an extensive infrastructure to enhance the performance of the people in the naval forces. Future technology developments can be incorporated into this system with relative ease; however, in many instances the full value of emerging technologies will not be realized without a restructuring of the relevant management and delivery methods. The following sections endeavor to forecast the impact of anticipated technology advances on the processes used to enhance human performance. The most significant opportunities will likely be in the area of education and training, but substantial gains are possible in several other areas as well. A supplementary discussion of the application of technology to the performance of Navy and Marine Corps personnel is provided in Volume 4: Human Resources, of the nine-volume series Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force. Education and Training Traditional training techniques have proven satisfactory for preparing individuals to perform specific functions in a manner adequate to their assigned tasks. They are less satisfactory for preparing individuals to function interactively in a group setting and promptly render intelligent decisions, independently or collectively, when confronted with unfamiliar multimodal and complex information. As systems, equipment, and operating procedures become more information intensive, traditional training techniques will become increasingly inadequate. Future training should be organized in a manner that exploits information-processing and cognitive-process technologies to maximize the learning experience. It must be more flexible, more portable, more user-friendly, and more cost effective than present methods. It must place greater emphasis on computer-based, self-paced, on-site training using modeling and simulation techniques, embedded training, and intelligent tutors. Education and training modules must be tailored to the individual or groups by making use of selection, classification, and characterization methods to better match the people to the processes. The advantages provided by the fast, accurate, reliable global communications systems of the future will be employed commercially to make distance learning a routine occurrence. Financial pressures on colleges and universities, plus the increasing scarcity of technically trained teachers, will contribute substantially to enabling distance learning to achieve its long-sought potential. As these methods are developed and refined such that the lecture format is augmented or replaced by a tutorial, interactive, computer-aided instructional for mat, the educational experience will become more flexible and better able to

OCR for page 204
provide the level of education and training needed to supply Navy and Marine Corps needs. Trends in public education, including extensive development of computer-aided, self-paced instruction and interactive distance learning, will not only provide new and improved training tools relevant to naval force tasks, but also will provide a valuable resource for use on an outsourcing basis. Access to formal education in science and technology via interactive distance learning from colleges and universities will ease the problem of preparing and maintaining competent officers. Similar procedures will provide timely, on-site training of technicians by equipment vendors and other specialists. Operational Performance Traditional organizational structures, both industrial and military, were formulated to a large extent on the basis of the need to communicate rapidly and accurately throughout the organization and ensure a timely, reliable response. As communications and information-processing technologies continually improve, and the work force becomes increasingly more adept at understanding and independently applying information to carry out individual and collective responsibilities, industrial organizational structures are changing. Because workers are better equipped to participate directly in decision-making processes, layers of middle management are being eliminated, and productivity and worker satisfaction are increasing. This trend will continue to spur fundamental changes in organizational concepts that will have an impact on all institutions seeking to optimize individual performance. The future benefits to the Navy and Marine Corps from the emerging technologies that enhance human performance can best be realized by creating "smart" sailors and marines and placing them in a work environment that enables them to function at maximum capacity. Industry is finding that achieving that end involves less supervision, fewer layers of management, and the placement of greater responsibility further down in the organization. If the Navy and Marine Corps increasingly incorporate this approach in the future, the operational performance of Service personnel will increase and the number of people required to conduct specific functions will decline. The term "smart sailor" is a convenient descriptor for the ultimate goal of applying technologies that enhance human performance. The smart sailor of 2035 will possess many desirable attributes, including being (1) compatible with work assignments as a result of matching with aptitude and native ability and customizing education and training through sophisticated selection and classification techniques, included genetic markers; (2) adequately prepared to handle new assignments as a result of efficient education and training processes using realistic modeling and simulation techniques, comprehensive self-paced instruction, and multimedia, interactive distance learning, plus the availability of on-site

OCR for page 204
intelligent tutors and embedded training; (3) competent to execute complicated assignments and arrive at intelligent decisions as a result of an abundance of quality information, multimedia presentation and automated analysis methods, expert decision aids, and heightened human cognitive processes resulting from improved training and use of performance-enhancing pharmaceuticals that expand memory, improve sleep efficiency, and reduce stress; (4) equipped to undertake arduous assignments as a result of good health care and excellent physical conditioning, as well as extensive use of work aids and robotic devices; (5) stimulated to conduct routine assignments as a result of having a heightened sense of participation in the decision-making processes, ready access to relevant information, and a broad range of individual responsibilities; and (6) able and available to perform warfighting assignments as a result of effective personal protection and safety equipment, good damage control systems, and the accessibility of high-quality field medicine, including use of a smart-card personal health history, telemedicine, multiple vaccines, and effective pharmaceuticals. Health and Safety Both civilian health organizations and the military will be profoundly affected by advances in genetics. Some believe genetics to be the next major paradigm shift in public health with an impact as significant as the impacts of introduction of sanitary measures, aseptic anesthetic surgery, and antibiotics. Genetic therapy represents the potential to cure, not simply to provide symptomatic treatment of human suffering. Military personnel face exposure to a broad range of physiological situations determined by the nature of military missions and operations. The physiological responses of individuals exposed to different environmental conditions are determined at least partially on a genetic basis, and military personnel could be better protected and trained if they were known to be at risk in certain hazardous environments. For instance, military personnel might be selected for specialized training based on their physiological tolerance for such activities as work at high altitudes, deep-sea diving, or exposure to loud noises such as high-blast over-pressures generated by weapons detonation. Similarly, screening can be carried out based on individual differences in susceptibility to threat agents, toxicants, and other environmental variables. As another example, in job settings requiring exposure to inhalation of dusts, toxic chemical vapors, or allergens, testing for alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency could be used to assess whether the genotype of certain people predisposes them to emphysema or reactive airway diseases. Future military applications include fitness screening, tissue typing, gene therapy, vaccine production, environmental damage assessment, and diagnosis of disease and susceptibility to disease. Given validated genetic markers derived from DNA samples first obtained on entry to active duty, military personnel might be screened for certain demanding

OCR for page 204
types of work or disqualified based on both physical condition and genetic predisposition. Screening based on certain disqualifying military conditions has historically been done by all DOD services and is governed by specific and changing service regulations. Disqualifying conditions with a hereditary component include seizure disorders, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, color blindness, and cancer. Genetic tests for several types of cancer are available and are becoming more widespread. Genetic tests for diabetes and asthma are likely to emerge within the next 2 years. Technologies for performing these genetic tests are continually improving. It is anticipated that the advent of microchip-based molecular diagnosis and inexpensive microanalytical instrumentation will substantially reduce the cost of genetic tests. The future use of genetic screening methods relies on the present authority of DOD to define medically disqualifying conditions for military service for various specialized duties. It is reasonable to assume that future knowledge of genetic markers associated with genetic predisposition will become more important for preinduction and other military physical examinations. Of course, the prospect of rejecting individuals who are genetically at risk raises ethical issues, plus opening the issue of the possible use of genetic information outside the military. Society's views on the use of genetic information, however, will change significantly as the value of this knowledge becomes widely recognized and understood. Within the next 40 years, it would not be surprising if the personal health record of virtually every U.S. citizen were to contain a comprehensive DNA analysis highlighting health risks and genetic predisposition. Quality of Life Several anticipated technological advancements have the potential to significantly improve conditions that determine the quality of life of military personnel. Most notable among these are communications, health care, distance learning, and personnel selection. The ability to rapidly, reliably, and routinely communicate with family and friends from anyplace on the globe at any time of the day or night will greatly reduce the anxiety, stress, and loneliness of military life. The ready availability of excellent health care, including a wider range of vaccines and more effective pharmaceuticals, will ensure more physically fit, mentally alert, and contented personnel. The expanded use of computer-based, self-paced instruction and distance learning will open new opportunities for personal development and career preparation and serve to create a constructive, self-satisfying environment. Improvement in the selection and classification processes will increase compatibility, decrease stress, and improve job satisfaction. In addition to the application of these technologies, Service personnel will benefit from changes in organizational concepts that place greater responsibility on each individual. Increased use of decentralized decision-making, participatory management, and distributed information will flatten organizational structures,

OCR for page 204
reduce personnel, and require a higher level of performance and a greater degree of responsibility at every Service grade. This will produce self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment that will enrich the Service experience and enhance the quality of life at every level. Recommendations Economic and social conditions will force the Navy and Marine Corps to conduct future missions with fewer people and lower overall manpower costs. To accomplish this, the Department of the Navy must achieve higher levels of personnel performance in an increasingly more complex, information-dependent environment. The Department of the Navy should exploit the technology advances in communications, information, health care, biotechnology and genetics, and cognitive processes to enhance human performance through expanded education and training, improved personal health and safety, and enhanced quality of life throughout the Navy and Marine Corps. This effort will require special attention to the following actions: Enhance the capability and competence of personnel through improved education and training using computer-aided, interactive distance learning, intelligent tutors, embedded training, and better selectivity and classification. Upgrade the operational performance of personnel by providing higher-level information and support to all personnel grades, increase participation in decision-making processes, flatten organizational structures, and develop smart sailors serving on smart ships. Improve the health and safety of personnel by ensuring rapid access to personal medical history and exploiting advances in biotechnology and genetics to provide chemical and biological warfare protection, fitness screening, tissue typing, gene therapy, multicomponent vaccines, disease diagnostics, and genetic predisposition classifications. Increase job satisfaction and personnel retention through enhanced quality-of-life factors by providing ready access to loved ones via global communications, supplying comprehensive personal-development opportunities via interactive distance learning, and building self-esteem by granting higher degrees of individual responsibility.