ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 30, 2017) -- The Army recently recognized two employees for their research in Soldier use and interaction with the tactical network and mission command systems.

Charles Hernandez and Napoleon Gaither, Army Research Laboratory employees who support the Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, received achievement awards during the 2017 Army Human Systems Integration Workshop Nov. 28-29 at APG.

HSI is the practice of examining total system performance by soliciting Soldier feedback on requirements and constraints in terms of weapon systems engineering, design, prototyping and testing. Considered to be "the voice of the Soldier," HSI recognizes the fact that Soldiers are key components of the total system, and it is a critical step in the acquisition process to ensure Soldiers can accomplish their missions.

Hernandez works on development of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System 7.0, for which he is employing user-centered design criteria and methods to identify workload, cognitive and usability demands. He received the HSI Army Materiel Systems Individual Award.

"I had the pleasure of being on a two-person HSI team of observers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division during its National Training Center rotation in 2016," said Hernandez, who is assigned to Project Manager Mission Command at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. "We obtained context-rich data about what Soldiers and commanders perceive as design features and functionalities in the current AFATDS that must be improved in AFATDS 7.0.

"I truly believe in the goodness of applying human factors engineering theory, principles and data regarding the relationship between humans and respective technologies to the design of military systems."

Gaither, who supports Project Manager Tactical Network at APG, is the recipient of the HSI Practitioner of the Year Award. He led efforts to conduct five dedicated and integrated usability events with more than 40 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne Division, 82nd Airborne Division and Maryland National Guard.

"It is imperative the Soldier provides feedback and data that aids in system software and hardware design and development as to 'what makes sense.' The Soldier is the critical and most important cornerstone to determine HSI effectiveness, regardless of how well the system works and its contribution to the mission. If the Soldier can't operate, sustain or employ it well, safely and with a good margin of survivability, it can be considered a failed system," Gaither said.

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The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical develops, acquires, fields and supports the Army's mission command network to ensure force readiness. This critical Army modernization priority delivers tactical communications so commanders and Soldiers can stay connected and informed at all times, even in the most austere and hostile environments. PEO C3T is delivering the network to regions around the globe, enabling high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications to a user base that includes the Army's joint, coalition and other mission partners.