Implications for studying team cognition and team performance in network-centric warfare paradigms.Aviat Space Environ Med. 2007 May; 78(5 Suppl):B58-62.AS
Network-centric warfare's (NCW) information-rich systems involving sophisticated sensors, tracking systems, smart weapons, and enhanced digital communications threaten to overload combatants with voluminous amounts of data. It is unclear whether warfighters will perceive such extensive data as actionable information to which they will respond accurately in a timely enough manner. Members of small teams in command and control centers, operating in crew-served vehicles, or simply "grunting it out" as ground-pounding infantrymen, may be disparately separated by space, but will communicate and be connected by electronic linkages, e.g., radio, text messages, situation displays, or global positioning data. However, team members will also have to remember shared mental models of tasks at hand, pay attention to and share common situation awareness in complex operational environments, perform team cognition and team coordination, and integrate both lower and higher cognitive processes with those of team behaviors. Such exceptional capabilities are required more now than ever before; such capabilities today are far from assured. After two workshops to establish performance metrics for assessing cognitive performance of military personnel in NCW, this preface introduces five manuscripts addressing team cognition and team performance from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. The authors of this preface question if NCW, and perhaps the politico-social ramifications of modern warfare, have already outstripped behavioral scientists' approach to researching team cognition and team performance-expertise that is so crucially needed for combatants on the rapidly changing 21st-century battlegrounds.