Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael E. Miller, PhD.


As the number of U.S. Air Force missions requiring UAVs has rapidly increased without commensurate increases in manpower, systems which permit a single operator to supervise and control multiple, highly-automated aircraft are being considered. The operator of such a system may be required to monitor and respond to voice communications for multiple UAVs, each of which can have aircraft specific call signs. The need to monitor this array of call signs may impose excessive requirements on constrained operator attention, working memory, and cognitive processing. The current research investigates the cognitive load (number of aircraft call signs) an individual can handle and explores the effect of proactive interference (PI) within this application. The results indicate a reduction in performance as the number of call signs are increased from 5 to 7 in the presence of PI. Additionally, this study seeks to understand if individual differences in working memory and attention predict performance on the multiaircraft control radio communication task through the application of the Operations Word Span test, Attention Control Scale, and GRE scores. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to determine the relationships among these and other variables.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number