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UPA Joins in Urging Maintenance of Critical Human Engineering Standard

June 17, 2005

Mr. Gregory Saunders
Director, Defense Standardization Program Office
8725 John J. Kingman Road
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6211

Dear Mr. Saunders,

It was a shock to learn that the Department of Defense (DoD) will no longer support the maintenance and technical upgrades to MIL-STD-1472, Human Engineering. This statement was made at the most recent meeting of the Department of Defense Human Factors Engineering Technical Advisory Group (DoD HFE TAG) held May 23-26, 2005.

MIL-STD-1472 is the pre-eminent human engineering document in the world, not only within DoD, and is often referenced by government agencies, contractors, and other nations. It is the base document for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Human Factors Design Standard, the Department of Energy’s Human Factors/Ergonomics Handbook for the Design for Ease of Maintenance, and the British Defense Standard 00-25, Human Factors for Designers of Systems. MIL-STD-1472 is acknowledged worldwide as the authoritative source for human factors requirements and design criteria. So much so that even in these times of acquisition reform, government agencies and contractors are requesting waivers to use MIL-STD-1472 as a requirements document for programs.

You may remember that in August 2004, you received a letter from the Government Electronics & Information Technology Association (GEIA), which expressed concern that MIL-STD-1472 had not been updated since 1999, and has not had a thorough technical update since 1989. The letter identified three areas that required immediate attention. The letter was forwarded to the Human Factors Lead Standardization Activity (LSA), the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) in Huntsville, AL. Of course, without a source of funding, there is little that can be accomplished by the LSA.

The current situation is even more critical. By abandoning participation in and support of standards activities, the DoD would be abandoning its position of serving as a premier human factors organization. The DoD will no longer be perceived as the “foremost authority” because, in essence, DoD is suggesting people go elsewhere for their human factors guidance.

Participation in standards work is not a casual activity; it requires a serious commitment as well as an investment of time and resources. It is extremely disappointing to hear that the DoD chooses not to make neither this investment nor this commitment. The impact of this decision will most likely precipitate cost increases far beyond what it will cost the DoD to maintain MIL-STD-1472 properly. Without MIL-STD-1472 government agencies and contractors will have to invest time and money on a program-by-program basis to determine which standard to apply and/or what data/findings to use to update the standard of their choosing. The use of MIL-STD-1472 as a stalwart of HFE requirements insures consistency and compatibility across systems; without it, insuring the same consistency and compatibilities of systems potentially built to different standards will be timely and expensive if not impossible. Not maintaining MIL-STD-1472 creates the same issue as emerging technologies with no standardization are integrated into products for human use. Every dollar not spent on MIL-STD-1472 has the potential to multiplicatively increase the cost of future programs.

We, the undersigned members of technical societies and industry that interface with the DoD HFE TAG urge you to correct this ill-advised course of action. If the DoD HFE TAG can be of assistance, do not hesitate to call upon us. The points of contact are Mr. Alan Poston, Chair of the Human Factors Standardization SubTAG, 202-493-4519, and Mr. William Lytle, Chair of the Technical Society/Industry SubTAG, 303-971-8972.


Alan Poston,
FAA Representative & SubTAG Chair
Human Factors Standardization, DoDHFETAG

Bill Lytle,
Aerospace Medical Association
Human Factors Association Alt. Rep. &
SubTAG Chair Technical Society/Industry, DoDHFETAG

Valerie J. Gawron
Aerospace Medical Association Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Stephen C. Merriman
Aerospace Medical Association
Human Factors Association Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Leslie Rogers
American Institute of Aeronautics Astronautics Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Paula Sind-Prunier
Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Tom McCloy
Association of Aviation Psychologist Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Gerald P. Krueger
American Psychological Association Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Dave Leonard
American Society for Testing and Materials Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Louis Adams
Electronics Industries Alliance Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Dick Armstrong
Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Clete Booher
Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Kenneth P. LaSala
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Mark Bauer
Institute of Aerospace Engineers Representative & Institute for the Advancement of Engineering & Institute of Industrial Engineers Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Terry Fulbright
National Training Systems Association Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Michael Biferno
Society of Automotive Engineers Representative to The DoDHFETAG

Stephen C. Merriman
SAFE Association Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Susan Archer
Society for Computer Simulation International Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Iain MacLeod
The Ergonomics Society Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Faith Chandler
NASA Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Michael Tulloch, Ph.D.
Transportation Research Board Representative to the DoDHFETAG

Baruch Sachs
Usability Professionals’ Association Representative to the DoDHFETAG

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