MANPRINT program focuses on integrating human element

May 06, 2014

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • The MANPRINT process is an integral part of the Army acquisition process
  • ARL plays a big role in the MANPRINT process
  • The MANPRINT program, with its focus on integrating that human element, makes the difference between a material solution being used or sitting on a shelf

Practitioners throughout the MANPRINT community gathered in Alexandria, Va., recently for a workshop that was held to further professional coordination and collaboration among specialists in manpower, personnel capabilities, training, human factors engineering, system safety, health hazards and Soldier survivability. Attendees were from government, industry and the academic community. They discussed lessons learned and how to better help the service members execute their mission.

MANPRINT, or Manpower and Personnel Integration, is the Army's implementation of human systems integration and is critical to support the National Security Strategy and the U.S. Armed Forces. The Defense Acquisition System exists to manage the Nation's investments in technologies, programs and product support necessary to achieve the National Security Strategy.

The Army's program focuses on the integration of human considerations into the system acquisition process to enhance Soldier-system design, reduce lifecycle ownership costs, improve safety and survivability and optimize total system performance. MANPRINT accomplishes this by ensuring the human is fully and continuously considered as part of the total system in the development and/or acquisition of all systems.

"It is so important that MANPRINT be considered in the acquisition process," said guest speaker Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, principal military deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) and director, Acquisition Career Management. "The MANPRINT process is an integral part of the Army acquisition process - it has to be, if not, it can be disastrous for the mission."

Phillips continued to address the crowd saying, "What you do is so critical for the process - for modeling and simulation and to be able to be sure we get it as right as we can. It's not good enough to determine these requirements in the end."

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory plays a big role in the MANPRINT process.

"This workshop provides the ARL acquisition workforce of MANPRINT practitioners with a venue to share best practices, acquisition-proven approaches and lessons learned to enhance the effectiveness of the materiel development process," said ARL's Dr. Pamela Savage-Knepshield, chief, Human Factors Integration Division, Human Research and Engineering Directorate. "MANPRINT practitioners must closely collaborate with S&T [science and technology], program managers, defense contractors and Warfighters to ensure the design and development of effective, suitable, useful and usable systems.

"This requires earlier involvement in the process on a routine basis, which is a challenge that we are actively working to resolve. It is also mission critical that MANPRINT practitioners participate in venues such as this with the G-1 MANPRINT Office and human system integration practitioners from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the joint services (Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy) to assess what has worked well and what has not and identify the best practices that as a community we must promulgate."

Julia Ruck from Distributed Common Ground Systems-Army, or DCGS-A, is a true proponent of MANPRINT. Ruck won the 2014 U.S. Army MANPRINT Practitioner Award for Army Materiel Systems. She also shared her personal experiences as an intelligence analyst while in Iraq.

Ruck summed it up this way...

"The MANPRINT mission saves lives, whether that's due to its ability to make software or hardware more effective in combat situations, or how it lessens the unintended psychological burden Soldiers experience resulting from the stress of working with poorly functioning capabilities," said Ruck. "As a former Soldier who spent years at the tactical edge, I can honestly say that the MANPRINT program, with its focus on integrating that human element, makes the difference between a material solution being used or sitting on a shelf."


Last Update / Reviewed: May 6, 2014