Murphy's Law: Helpful Software Wrecks The Navy


June 2,2008: A recent flurry of U.S. Navy inspections that showed a decline of ship maintenance standards, led to a search for reasons. Discussions with young sailors revealed that one problem was the increasing use of computer simulations to train recruits to perform a lot of basic maintenance tasks. While seemingly efficient, the lack of literal "hands-on" experience led to a lot of errors, wasted effort, sailor frustration, and essential work not done, on ships. Sailors who thought they knew how to use tools and do maintenance procedures, found the reality was that the computer simulations, for many young sailors, did not impart all the knowledge and experience required.

As a result of these findings, the computer simulations will be revised, and some hands-on training added, before the new sailors are turned loose on maintaining many items of equipment found on warships.


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