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Human Factor Engineering (HFE)

AETM 018


The application of knowledge about human capabilities and limitations to system or equipment design and development to achieve efficient, effective, and safe system performance at minimum cost and manpower, skill, and training demands. Human engineering assures that the system or equipment design, required human tasks, and work environment are compatible with the sensory, perceptual, mental, and physical attributes of the personnel who will operate, maintain, control and support it. The terms Human Engineering and Human Factors Engineering are considered synonymous.

General Information

Human factors and human factors engineering is an important aspect of the design process. Human factors engineering should be a part of the design of system from the beginning of the acquisition process. The human is the most important part of any DoD system. The capabilities of the human in DoD systems should be part of the earliest Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) and development of initial capabilities document (ICD) and capability development document (CDD). The development of any systems concept of operations is highly dependent on the role of the operator in the capabilities and operation of the system.

Human factors engineering includes a wide range of major design considerations including but not limited to: Ergonomics, Anatomy, Demographics, Psychology, organizational dynamics, the effects of physical environments on the operator, human reliability and human information processing, the human as a sensor, training, workplace design, work organization design and the allocation of tasks between humans and other parts of systems (computers).

Human factors engineering as a result interfaces directly with a wide range of other design disciplines activities, and processes over the complete life cycle of any development program. These different activities include but are not limited to: training, maintenance, safety, reliability, usability, staffing, security, test and evaluation, manufacturing design, and risk management.

The human factors engineers conduct and support a wide range of tasks in the acquisition process.  Some of these tasks include but are not limited to: task analysis, workload analysis, task allocation (between human, teams, automantion, and systems), human performance analysis, human error analysis, anthopomentric analysis (the size of humans as it relates to their tasks, environment, and tools), display design, and control design.