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Reductionistic or Analytical Approach

Reductionistic or Analytical Approach - Professor Manion...

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Professor Manion PHIL 315-701 December 14 2006 Reductionistic or Analytical Approach Do you think that USS Vincennes incident is just a defensible action as President Reagan describes or a deliberate massacre as the Iranians accuse the USA? Elaborating the incident the way it is reflected to the public through media holds us back from drilling down the details of the incident and induces us to take one of these widespread stances. Socio-technical analysis of USS Vincennes case reveals that the sum of organizational system, socio-cultural and more inherently technical and human factors, set the stage for this incident as opposed to reductionistic approach of Iranian and American authorities. Human factors are the root causes of USS Vincennes disaster because the personnel have many types of errors propagating from bottom to top in the organization. Starting from the bottom of the organization, IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) operators failed to move the search gate for IFF signals. For this reason, the signal detection system may have picked up IFF Mode II (military) signal from Iranian airport so labels 655 Iranian aircraft as military. Moreover, anti-aircraft officers misinterpret the blip on their display to indicate that 655 aircraft ascends and descends. The chain of misinformation proceeding from these low level operators to one level up to TAO (Tactical Operations Officer) doesn’t come to an end. TAO, without seeking any disconfirmation information heavily relies on his subordinates’ information and escalates it to Captain Rogers. Captain Rogers, the major decision maker, orders to shoot down Iranian aircraft without an argument of his decision.
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On the other hand, there are more to address in human factors aspect of disaster than operator misinterpretation, TAO reliance on misinformation and Captain Roger’s quick decision-making process. When we think about the setting of USS Vincennes disaster, the battle cruiser patrols in a battle zone thousands of kilometers away from the USA and surrounded by Iranian gunboats. Operators working under fear and stress may naturally misinterpret the information presented on the screen. They may make some errors in their hand- calculations while comparing the data collected in different time frames. Next thing to mention is that TAO is not aware of his subordinate’s psychology and not thinking this critical information causing the Iranian aircraft to be shot down may involve some errors.
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