Comparative analysis of infrastructure assessment methodologies at the small unit level

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Distefano, Marc Jason

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This thesis presents a comparative analysis of three different infrastructure assessment tools currently used by US Army small units (squad, platoon, company). The infrastructure assessment tools included one pen and paper checklist and two software based tools based on specialized handheld hardware for data collection in combat conditions. Evaluation was conducted using macroergonomic and applied cognitive task analysis methods with soldiers of varying levels of infrastructure assessment expertise. Each assessment method was evaluated based on performance (time, errors, and accuracy) and usability (ergonomic and cognitive challenges). We found that soldiers documented more accurate data using hand held digital devices instead of pen-and-paper assessment forms, but there was little difference in time between the methods. Contrary to initial expectation, we also found that most soldiers prefer a slightly more difficult to use hand held assessment device with customized checklists rather than an easier to use, less restrictive device. Critiques developed by this research can be used to improve reconstruction productivity at the Brigade Combat Team (BCT) level as well as add to our design guidelines for portable infrastructure assessment tools and methods.


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