A Work Domain Analysis of Shipboard Command and Control


  1. Chalmers, B.A.
  2. Burns, C.M.
  3. Bryant, D.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research Establishment Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Waterloo Univ, Waterloo ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
Shipboard Command and Control (C2) presents unique challenges for decision support. Tactical decisions require that the ship's Command Team gain timely access to and comprehend the significance of large amounts of information that may impact on the mission. While operations depend heavily on doctrine and standard procedures, many tactical details must be established in real time, particularly as unanticipated events or anomalous situations arise. This imposes significant cognitive demands on operators for active situation assessment and decision making, where benefits for performance improvements may be expected from incorporating advanced support tools like decision support systems and integrative work aids and displays. Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) is a layered, systems-based analysis framework that specifically addresses system design to support operators in unanticipated situations. Its first layer is a work domain analysis (WDA), which develops hierarchical models representing the intentional, functional, and physical properties of the work domain, at different levels of abstraction, as well as the relations between these levels. In this document, we discuss the results of a year-long study of the application of WDA to tactical C2 for the Canadian Navy's HALIFAX Class frigate. TRUNCATED

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Cognitive work analysis;Cognitive automated systems;Cognitive modeling;Cognitive systems engineering;Cognitive task analysis;Decision Support Systems (DSS);Computer-based decision support;Model-based design;Information requirements;Work constraints;Work domain analysis;Complex sociotechnical system
Report Number
DREA-TM-2001-212 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2001
Number of Pages

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