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Defence Human Systems Integration

Welcome to Defence’s Human Systems Integration Framework Literature Review.

This work - entitled 'Human Systems Integration is worth the money and effort! The argument for the implementation of Human Systems Integration processes in Defence capability acquisition' - makes the case for human systems integration (HSI) as an important consideration in Defence capability acquisitions, both small and large. HSI is significant because Defence people are a fundamental input to capability. The development of capability is nothing without people, and its operational use must not only be effective and efficient, but also safe from foreseeable mishap, harm and long term injury to our people.


The Defence Work Health and Safety Committee endorsed implementation of a Human Systems Integration Framework (HSI), aiming to achieve not only the intent of Safe Design within the Capability Systems Life Cycle (CSLC), but also extending beyond this by improving whole-of-capability performance through ensuring that people capabilities and needs are appropriately considered and incorporated into system design and development from the outset.

The HSI Project being progressed will deliver policy, guidance material and reports. The review of contemporary national and international literature was identified as an early guide for the project. Military operations are inherently hazardous: the likelihood of mistakes is elevated and the consequences increasingly serious. The challenge is to learn and incorporate those lessons from operational use and to avoid the mistakes of the past. A literature review ensures those outcomes are shared.

What is Human Systems Integration?

HSI is a process to integrate human needs and requirements into the capability lifecycle. Amongst other areas, HSI provides planning and coordination of human factors in the design process from various perspectives including Human Factors Engineering, Crewing, Personnel, Training, Health Hazard, and System Safety activities within the capability development process. HSI has been used routinely for many years in US, UK and Canadian procurements. As cited in DSTO’s Early Human Systems Integration Analysis: SEA 100011 HSI brings the user to the foreground of system development in a User Centric framework.

Why should we do it?

Humans have a significant impact on the operational effectiveness of military systems and they must be seen as an important component of the total system. HSI applies knowledge of human capabilities and limitations, and ensures they are considered in the procurement process so that the outcome is a military system that can perform optimally. Where trade-offs must be made within a design, HSI ensures that the human risk of any decision is effectively understood.

There has been a growing interest in HSI amongst the Defence acquisition community and HSI influence on a number of policy and major program outcomes, including SEA 1000, Land 121 and 400 project activities. It is important that those with responsibility ensure HSI activities are appropriately considered at all relevant points throughout the CSLC.

The literature review addresses key questions

Of particular interest is the evidence in relation to a number of key research questions including:

  • How has HSI been implemented in Defence or other industries?
  • Does HSI improve safety in Defence or other industries?
  • Does HSI improve productivity, effectiveness or efficiency in Defence or other industries?
  • How has the cost/benefit of HSI been assessed for Defence products (materiel), Defence infrastructure or in other industries?
  • Is HSI cost effective in Defence or other industries?

When should we do it?

It is more cost effective to consider human factors early in the CSLC, before manufacture and operational deployment reveals a design error that impacts on performance and will be costly to fix. The desk officer should start to consider HSI activities in the Needs Phase and then be firmed up in the Requirements Phase. It is important to ensure that key elements are addressed in the Functional Performance Specification to ensure potential suppliers also understand the importance Defence attaches to good Human Factors.

Next Steps

The challenge is to encourage senior managers, scientists, capability desk officers and project staff to harness this resource to:

  • protect Defence people
  • improve productivity, effectiveness and efficiency
  • procure better equipment and capability
  • reduce the probability of acquisition program failure

We commend this document to you and encourage your continued discussion and utilisation of the HSI capability.

1 Dris, H.E. Engineering of Complex Human Centric Systems, Systems Engineering Society of Australia, Newsletter, No, 24 May 2000 cited in Huf, S., Henley, P. & Ponton, K. Early Human System Integration Analysis: SEA 1000 (U), DSTO-CR-2009-0169, Edinburgh.