Building in layers of safety and sharpening the warfighting edge does not necessarily mean using technology more, but rather using it more effectively. Deftly applied automation can buy back time and cognitive resources for operators, decreasing the chances of human error, but technology also has the potential to become less of a tool and more of a crutch if operational fundamentals and basic seafaring skills are forsaken to automation. Operators must be able to rely on their own “sea sense,” developed through experience and mentoring, and use technology to accomplish specific objectives rather than defer to automation as the default decision-maker. Maintaining the competitive warfighting edge requires cultivating skilled mariners who know how to fight a well-equipped ship. Technology alone cannot make the ship safe, but when the operator lacks fundamental knowledge and experience, it can make the ship unsafe.
Mariners or Machines: Who's At the Helm?
By Dr. Kimberly Culley and Captain Chris Harkins, U.S. Navy