Cognitive Task Analysis of Improvised Explosive Device Detection and Assessment in Canadian Forces Convoy Operations


  1. Bruyn-Martin, L.
  2. Karthaus, C.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN);Humansystems Inc, Guelph ONT (CAN)
This project was conducted in support of the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Technology Demonstration Program (TDP) on counter improvised explosive device (CIED) technologies, which aims to deliver useable technologies to front-line users to mitigate the IED threat in current Canadian Forces (CF) operations. Two particular areas of interest for improving IED detection and effective threat assessment include understanding the cognitive challenges associated with identifying, interpreting and responding to the presence of IED indicators and how these challenges can be mitigated by pre-deployment and in-theatre training. To these ends, we conducted a Cognitive Task Analysis of IED detection and assessment in CF convoy operations. The CTA enabled us to identify a number of general and specific cognitive tasks and challenges as well as contributing factors. In total, 34 cognitive tasks were identified, nine of which were considered critical tasks. Cognitive tasks were categorized as those relating to coordination, information and communication, perception and interpretation, action, support and backup behaviour and prediction. The following factors were identified as those that make IED detection and assessment challenging: lack of time, information and experience, high workload, complacency, reduced vigilance, equipment limitations and external factors. Based on these cognitive challenges, we have provided a number of recommendations for pre-deployment and in-theat
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-CR-2009-176 — Contract Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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