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PSYCHOLOGICAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL, AND MEDICAL IMPACT OF THE SUBMARINE ENVIRONMENT.

Authors:
NAVAL SUBMARINE MEDICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY
NSMRL TECHNICAL REPORT #TR-1229 31 October 2003
_________________________________________________________________________
PSYCHOLOGICAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL, AND MEDICAL IMPACT OF
THE SUBMARINE ENVIRONMENT ON SUBMARINERS WITH
APPLICATION TO VIRGINIA CLASS SUBMARINES
By
Katharine Shobe, LT, MSC, USNR, Mark Bing, Ph.D., Chris Duplessis, LT, MC, USN,
Jeff Dyche, LT, MSC, USNR, David Fothergill, Ph.D., Wayne Horn, CDR, MC, USNR,
Jerry Lamb, Ph.D., Anthony J. Quatroche, CDR, USN (Ret.), Donald E. Watenpaugh,
Ph.D., and Christopher Plott
Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory
Technical Report #TR-1229
Released by:
G.A. Higgins, CAPT, MSC, USN
Commanding Officer
NavSubMedRschLab
DISTRIBUTION LIMITED; OFFICIAL USE ONLY
This report contains pre-decisional information for deliberative use by the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation
Force and Program Executive Officer Submarines in support of the VIRGINIA Class Program, and is exempt from
public disclosure pursuant to title 5 USC - 552(b)(5). It also contains technical data that is exempt from public release
pursuant to Title 5 USC – 552(b)(3) (Freedom of Information Act). Request for disclosure of any information contained in
this report should be forwarded to the Commanding Officer, Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory, Groton,
CT.
PSYCHOLOGICAL, PHYSIOLOGICAL, AND MEDICAL IMP ACT OF
THE SUBMARINE ENVIRONMENT ON SUBMARINERS WITH
APPLICA TION TO VIRGINIA CLASS SUBMARINES
Report prepared for
Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force
7970 Diven Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23505
Report prepared by
Katharine Shobe, LT, MSC, USNR
Mark Bing, Ph.D.
Chris Duplessis, L T , MC, USN
JeffDyche, LT, MSC, USNR
Dave Fothergill, Ph.D.
Wayne Horn, CDR, MC, USNR
Jerry Larnb, Ph.D.
Anthony J. Quatroche, CDR, USN (Ret.)
Donald E. Watenpaugh, Ph.D.
Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory
Submarine Base New London Box 900
Groton, CT 06349-5900
Christopher Plott
Micro Analysis & Design
4949 East Pearl Circle
Boulder, CO 80301
31 October 2003
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................................................................3
REPORT AUTHORS..................................................................................................................................................5
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .........................................................................................................................................7
1.0 SUMMARY............................................................................................................................................................9
1.1 STUDY APPROACH..............................................................................................................................................9
1.2 FINDINGS ............................................................................................................................................................10
1.2.1 Physical aspects ........................................................................................................................................10
1.2.2 Psychological and social factors...............................................................................................................11
1.2.3 Medical and physiological consequences .................................................................................................12
1.2.4 Operational readiness consequences........................................................................................................12
1.3 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................................................................................13
2.0 BACKGROUND..................................................................................................................................................15
3.0 SUBMARINER ANTHROPOMETRY.............................................................................................................16
3.1 SUBMARINER ANTHROPOMETRIC DATA ...................................................................................................16
3.2 UPDATED SUBMARINER ANTHROPOMETRIC DATA................................................................................17
4.0 USS VIRGINIA LIVING SPACES....................................................................................................................19
4.1 COMPLIANCE WITH SHIPBOARD HABITABILITY DESIGN CRITERIA MANUAL ................................20
4.2 BERTHING...........................................................................................................................................................20
4.2.1 Berthing accommodations.........................................................................................................................20
4.2.2 Berthing dimensions..................................................................................................................................21
4.2.3 Berthing orientation..................................................................................................................................23
4.2.4 Berthing entryway and passageway..........................................................................................................23
4.2.5 Location of Commanding Officer and Executive Officer staterooms........................................................24
4.3 SPACE, FACILITIES, AND TIME ISSUES........................................................................................................25
4.3.1 Crew’s mess ..............................................................................................................................................25
4.3.2 Officer’s wardroom...................................................................................................................................25
4.3.3 Sanitary facilities ......................................................................................................................................25
4.3.4 Exercise equipment ...................................................................................................................................27
4.4 HABITABILITY SUMMARY .............................................................................................................................27
5.0 SLEEP ISSUES....................................................................................................................................................28
5.1 SLEEP QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF SUBMARINERS ..............................................................................28
5.2 SUBMARINE WATCHSTANDING AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS...............................................................30
5.3 SLEEP ON THE USS VIRGINIA.........................................................................................................................30
6.0 PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL EFFECTS...............................................................................................31
6.1 THE HABITAT OF A SUBMARINE “CAPSULE” ............................................................................................32
6.2 PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES..............................................................................................................32
6.2.1 Crowding...................................................................................................................................................33
6.2.2 Depression ................................................................................................................................................33
6.3 SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES ................................................................................................................................34
6.3.1 Interpersonal conflict................................................................................................................................34
6.3.2 Communications........................................................................................................................................35
6.3.3 Cognitive impairments ..............................................................................................................................35
6.4 EFFECT OF DURATION.....................................................................................................................................35
6.5 PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH SUBMARINE SERVICE..............................................36
6.5.1 Operational tempo and work environment................................................................................................37
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6.5.2 Clinical anxiety and depression ................................................................................................................41
6.5.3 Possible psychological outcomes on the USS VIRGINIA..........................................................................43
7.0 MEDICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES .............................................................................44
7.1 STRESS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ............................................................................................................45
7.2 THE INFLUENCE OF SHIFT WORK ON THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ...............................................................45
7.3 BUNK AND BERTHING VENTILATION .........................................................................................................46
7.4 OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES ................................................................................................................................50
8.0 OPERATIONAL READINESS CONSEQUENCES........................................................................................50
8.1 DAMAGE CONTROL..........................................................................................................................................50
8.2 TRAINING............................................................................................................................................................51
8.3 SPECIAL OPERATIONS .....................................................................................................................................52
9.0 CONTROL ROOM ISSUES ..............................................................................................................................52
9.1 CREW WORKSTATIONS ...................................................................................................................................52
9.2 CONTROL ROOM CONFIGURATION..............................................................................................................53
10.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS...........................................................................................54
10.1 OPERATING CHANGES...................................................................................................................................55
10.1.1 Watch quarter/Station bill.......................................................................................................................55
10.1.2 General quarters.....................................................................................................................................55
10.1.3 Watch turnover........................................................................................................................................56
10.1.4 Personnel selection .................................................................................................................................56
10.1.5 Watchstanding schedule..........................................................................................................................56
10.1.6 Crew rotation ..........................................................................................................................................57
10.1.7 Exercise...................................................................................................................................................57
10.1.8 Monitor crew health during deployment.................................................................................................57
10.1.9 Full habitability assessment....................................................................................................................57
10.2 DESIGN CHANGES...........................................................................................................................................57
10.2.1 Habitability standards.............................................................................................................................57
10.2.2 Berthing...................................................................................................................................................58
10.2.3 Sanitary facilities ....................................................................................................................................58
10.2.4 Crew’s mess ............................................................................................................................................58
10.2.5 Crew size adjustment...............................................................................................................................58
REFERENCES ..........................................................................................................................................................59
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.........................................................................................................................................66
APPENDIX A. EVALUATION OF VIRGINIA CLASS SUBMARINE ACCORDING TO OPNAVINST
9640.1 ..........................................................................................................................................................................67
APPENDIX B. COMPARISON OF OPNAVINST 9640.1A (1996) AND OPNAVINST 9640.1 (1979)............75
APPENDIX C. FURTHER ANALYSES OF 1) PSYCHOLOGICALLY-BASED WAIVERS AND
DISQUALIFICATIONS AND 2) CLINICAL LEVELS OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION..........................77
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REPORT AUTHORS
Katharine Shobe, LT, MSC, USNR, is a research psychologist at the Naval Submarine Medical
Research Laboratory (NSMRL) at Submarine Base New London, Groton, CT. Dr. Shobe
conducts research on such operational topics as situation awareness of submarine officers and
using a neural network to predict decision making of an OOD as well as other applied cognitive
research. She has also published in the area of false memories and the misinformation effects of
recall. Dr. Shobe was adjunct faculty at Yale University and Barnard College prior to joining the
Navy. An Illinois native, she received a BS in psychology from the University of Illinois-
Urbana/Champaign and the M.S and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Yale University.
Mark Bing, Ph.D. is the director of the psychological screening program for the U.S. Navy's
Submarine Force, and in this capacity he serves as the principal investigator of the SUBSCREEN
program at NSMRL. Dr. Bing obtained his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of
Tennessee at Knoxville, and served as an assistant professor for two years in the graduate
program in I/O Psychology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has published in
the area of personality measurement, test development, and test validation. Dr. Bing recently
developed the Submarine Attrition Risk Scale, which is a subset of the SUBSCREEN test that
predicts submariner training and fleet attrition.
Chris Duplessis, LT, MC, USN, is a Diving Medical Officer at NSMRL. He received his BS in
Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, his MS from University of Central
Florida. Dr. Duplessis received his MD from the Uniformed Services University of the Health
Sciences. Before coming to NSMRL, he was an instructor at the Nuclear Power School, an
instructor in Dynamics at Western Michigan, and a Testing Lab Engineer at Stryker Instruments.
Jeff Dyche, LT, MSC, USNR, is a research psychologist at NSMRL, Submarine Base New
London. Dr. Dyche’s research covers topics such as fatigue and submarine watchstanding
schedules, and the effects of electromagnetic fields on sleep and melatonin. Dr. Dyche has
taught classes at Connecticut College and University of Connecticut. He received a BA in
psychology from Drake University and the Ph.D. in biological psychology from Saint Louis
University.
David Fothergill, Ph.D., is an environmental ergonomist, exercise physiologist, and research
diver at the NSMRL. Dr. Fothergill also holds a position as a senior research scientist at the
Center for Research and Education in Special Environments at the State University of New York
at Buffalo. He received a BSc with Honours in Sports Science at Liverpool John Moores
University, UK. He completed an MSc in kinesiology at Simon Fraser University and received
his Ph.D. in occupational biomechanics from the University of London at the Royal Free
Hospital School of Medicine, Hampstead, England. Before coming to NSMRL, Dr. Fothergill
spent over five years at the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD, conducting diving
and environmental physiology research. Dr. Fothergill’s research interests include, the bioeffects
of underwater sound, underwater breathing apparatus design, CO2 toxicity, N2 narcosis, and the
impact of environmental stressors on human performance. He is also a qualified U.S. Navy diver
having successfully completed the U.S. Navy medical diving officer course at the Naval Diving
and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL.
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Wayne Horn, CDR, MC, USNR, is Head, Submarine Medicine and Survival Systems
Department, NSMRL, and has authored or co-authored a number of publications regarding
submarine medicine and disaster survivability. Dr. Horn is a qualified Submarine, Diving and
Saturation Diving Medical Officer, with previous service including tours as Senior Medical
Officer, Submarine Development Squadron Five; Submarine Group Ten; Naval Submarine Base
Medical Clinic Kings Bay, GA, Asst. Deck Dept. Head on USS ORISKANY (CVA-34), and
Deck/Weapons Dept. Head on USS PRIME (MSO 466). Prior work experience includes private
practice at Gould Medical Foundation in Modesto, CA.
Jerry Lamb, Ph.D. is Technical Director for NSMRL. He has degrees in Experimental
Psychology as well as post-graduate study at MIT and a number of publications in the human
performance field. Dr. Lamb has been Chief of Human Factors for Electric Boat, a member of
the Navy’s Senior Executive Service as Department Head for Combat Control Systems for the
Naval Underwater Warfare Center (NUWC) and CEO of two training and simulation companies
involved with submarine training.
Anthony J. Quatroche, CDR, USN (Ret.) is a Senior Research Engineer at NSMRL assigned
under the IPA program from Calspan-UB in Buffalo, New York. CDR Quatroche is a 1978
graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a BS in Naval Architecture. He also holds a
MS in Engineering (Naval Architecture) from the University of California, Berkeley and a MS in
Education from the University of New Haven, Connecticut. CDR Quatroche served in the U.S.
Navy Submarine Force for 23 years including assignments on three fast attack submarines as a
Division Officer (MPA, DCA, CRA), Navigator/Operations Officer and Executive Officer with
deployments to the North and South Atlantic, Mediterranean, Western Pacific, and Persian
Gulf/Indian Ocean. His career also included assignment to the staff of Submarine Development
Squadron 12 as the Senior Tactics Developer for Anti-Submarine Warfare (N75) and Executive
Officer of Naval Submarine Base New London and Executive Officer of the Naval Submarine
School, Groton, Connecticut.
Donald E. Watenpaugh, Ph.D. is a research scientist at NSMRL. He has 20 years of research
experience in cardiovascular, environmental, exercise, sleep, and integrative physiology, leading
to 88 publications, 1 patent, and 140 abstracts. Much of his work concerns the deconditioning
effects of space flight, and exercise devices and strategies to prevent that deconditioning. Dr.
Watenpaugh received his BS and MS in biology from the University of North Texas, a MA in
physiology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and a Ph.D. in
physiology from the University of California at Davis.
Christopher Plott is a Certified Professional Ergonomist with over 20 years of experience. He
holds Master's degrees in Industrial Engineering and Business Administration, and a Bachelor's
degree in Kinesiological Sciences. He has worked extensively in the areas of applied
ergonomics, human factors engineering, and human performance modeling. He served as the
Director of Environmental Health & Safety for a fortune 500 corporation for 2 years. He has also
managed a user-computer interface design group of over 40 employees and contractors within a
large information technology organization. Mr. Plott is currently a Principal in Human Factors
and Ergonomics at Micro Analysis and Design.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The objective of this report is to apply current scientific knowledge on living and working in
crowded or confined environments to evaluate the potential impact on performance, health,
morale, and retention of submariners serving aboard the VIRGINIA Class submarine.
Recognizing the multiplicity of factors that must be considered, the report is intended only to
provide objective, scientifically based input for use by the Navy’s design, testing and evaluation,
and operational communities.
There are three aspects that were considered in developing the analyses, conclusions, and
recommendations in this report:
Scientific research, which sets the basic human ability to deal with the unique aspects of
the submarine environment,
Navy standards and specifications, which set the minimum requirements for shipboard
living conditions, and,
Prior Fast Attack submarine (SSN) design and operational practice, which sets the
standard by which current submariners will evaluate the VIRGINIA Class living
conditions.
The study found significant impact of the combination of the variables investigated on all aspects
of performance and quality of life. The findings are generally applicable across all SSN classes
and pose issues that the Submarine Force needs to address. This need is evidenced by a much
larger number of psychologically-based waivers and disqualifications among SSN crewmembers
than SSBN crewmembers. Findings specific to the VIRGINIA Class SSN indicate that these
impacts may be exacerbated in that class.
In regard to the VIRGINIA Class specifically, the study found only two deviations from the
original Shipboard Habitability Design Criteria Manual, the number of seats in the Crew’s Mess
and Wardroom. While these will cause some disruption, especially in accomplishing training,
they are not significant in and of themselves.
Significant findings include:
Bunk height* impacts sleep
CCSM Entryways and passageways too narrow for anthropometry of today’s
crewmembers
Use of athwartship berths* will affect sleep efficiency
Perceptually confining crew’s mess
ESM console design affects vigilance
Sonar in control room affects vigilance
Embarked SOF will impact sanitation and exercise facilities
Sleep deficit will affect performance and quality of life
Less personal space, increased operational tempo, and onboard inequities (berths,
sanitary facilities) will impact retention and morale
Stress and shift work will affect propensity for illness.
* Deviations from the current Shipboard Habitability Standard
7
The report concludes that individual findings will not cause decrements in performance, quality
of life, or health, but the COMBINATION of all the factors will exacerbate the problems
evidenced on current SSN’s. In addition, the study concludes that the VIRGINIA Class will be
perceived to be less desirable than the LOS ANGELES Class SSN because of changes from
previous practices. Inequities among the berthing spaces of the VIRGINIA Class may cause
interpersonal conflicts among the crew.
The report recommends both operating and design changes for consideration. These include:
Operating recommendations:
Assign berthing areas by watch section,
Have crewmembers put on gear outside the CCSM berthing area,
Implement a new watchstanding schedule (currently under sea test),
Examine feasibility of using a rotating crew system,
Allocate personnel for some tasks by size, and,
Examine reduced manning.
Design recommendations:
Examine the trade-offs between increased berth size and “hot racking” for the
CCSM berthing area,
Examine the possibility of redesign of the sanitary facilities,
Examine changes to the crew’s mess, and,
Provide additional exercise facilities.
Because of the unique environment aboard submarines, the report recommends that a Shipboard
Habitability Design Criteria Manual specific to submarines be developed. Also, there is a need to
address the items identified as more general issues throughout the Fast Attack Submarine Force.
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1.0 SUMMARY
1.1 STUDY APPROACH
The VIRGINIA Class submarine is the United States Navy’s new Fast Attack submarine. The
lead ship, the USS VIRGINIA (SSN 774), will be commissioned in 2004, and of ten boats
planned, four have been approved for construction. The objective of this report is to apply
current scientific knowledge on living and working in crowded or confined environments to
evaluate the potential impact on performance, health, morale, and retention of submariners
serving aboard the VIRGINIA Class submarine.
In reviewing the impact on crew performance, this report looks at the scientific evidence on the
overall impact of the submarine environment and then at the application of that science to the
specifics of the VIRGINIA Class. Recognizing the multiplicity of factors that must be
considered, it is intended only to provide objective, scientifically based input for use by the
Navy’s design, testing, and operational communities.
There are three aspects that were considered in developing the analyses, conclusions, and
recommendations in this report:
Scientific research, which sets the basic human ability to deal with the unique aspects of
the submarine environment,
Navy standards and specifications, which set the minimum requirements for shipboard
living conditions, and,
Prior Fast Attack submarine (SSN) design and operational practice, which sets the
standard by which current submariners will evaluate the VIRGINIA Class living
conditions.
It must be noted that the USS VIRGINIA is not yet an operational vessel. Any extrapolation of
specific research or current operational/design practices is only an indication of potential effects.
Noted throughout the report is the need to investigate the actual effects when the USS
VIRGINIA is deployed.
It should also be noted that, while this report examines possible human performance issues, the
VIRGINIA Class embodies many desirable changes for better overall operation and
performance.
The report covers
1. The overall physical setting relevant to crew effectiveness including: the physical
changes in submariner size and weight, the physical dimensions of the inhabited spaces,
and the facilities available for crew rest, cleanliness and exercise as well as the ability to
get sufficient rest to maintain effectiveness,
2. The effects of the physical and operating environment on psychological and social
behavior, and sleep,
3. The medical and physiological aspects with particular emphasis on stress and immunity,
4. Performance impacts on specific aspects of operations including: damage control, special
operations, and control room functioning.
9
1.2 FINDINGS
1.2.1 Physical aspects
Submariners are getting larger as a consequence of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. population;
today's submariners average about 10 lbs (5.6%) heavier than submariners 30 years ago. For the
purposes of this report, detailed submariner anthropometry data available from the 1970s were
used to provide a conservative estimate of the physical size of current submariners. With a
greater proportion of larger crewmembers, submariners may encounter ergonomic, workspace,
and habitability problems on a VIRGINIA Class submarine since the available space may limit
certain operations.
A recent report indicates that one third of submariners experience difficulty sleeping at sea and
the amount of sleep that the average submariner gets is already below the minimum to maintain
effectiveness. Sufficient and good quality sleep is critical to operations: poor or inadequate sleep
reduces vigilance, alertness, and cognitive function, and leads to mistakes and accidents.
VIRGINIA Class bunk height (distance from top of mattress to bottom of bunk above) is within
specification (OPNAVINST 9640.1) on the average when using the standard 4 inch mattress
(although it does not meet the newer OPNAVINST 9640.1A and some specific bunks do not
meet the minimum). The use of the newer, deeper 5 inch mattress reduces all non-officer bunks
to below the 18 inch minimum and could impede sleeping on one’s side and turning over during
sleep in larger submariners, those above the 18.9 inch (50th percentile) average shoulder width.
Such restricted berthing encourages sleeping on your back, which causes snoring and sleep
apnea, reducing sleep quantity and quality of the submariner and nearby shipmates. Restricted
mobility during sleep could in turn further reduce sleep quality.
The newer standard requires that for each berthing area a maximum of 30% of the berths shall be
athwartship. This is exceeded in HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and HAB MOD Crew Life (24), in
which 100% of the berths are athwartship. This orientation of the berths may interfere with the
ability to sleep when at periscope depth in a high sea state.
Issues related to fatigue and performance may be exacerbated for those crewmembers berthing in
the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area, since its close proximity to the control room could
generate more noise in this sleeping area. The effects of noise are well documented; it is
fatiguing and distracting, disturbing sleep, interfering with waking activities, and is linked to
aggressive behavior.
Overall, the physical aspects of berthing spaces will probably reduce the quality and quantity of
sleep for already sleep-deprived submariners.
The entryways and passageways in the berthing areas meet the requirement of the standard; the
smallest entryway is 18 inches and the smallest passageway is 18.25 inches, both in CCSM Crew
Life (24) berthing. However, the specified requirement of 18 inches does not adequately account
for the average sized submariner (18.9 inch shoulder width) and deviates from previous design
10
practices. Moreover, other berthing areas on the USS VIRGINIA itself have entry and
passageways 23 inches wide.
The crew’s mess seating does not meet the habitability criteria. The standard requires seating for
35% of the underway crew, which should be 36 people (104 enlisted underway). However, the
actual seating is 28. The crew’s mess on a LOS ANGELES Class submarine presents a feeling of
open space, which provides a psychological advantage for crewmembers. On the VIRGINIA
Class, this sense of open space is reduced due to a floor-to-ceiling structure in the middle of the
area, giving the crew’s mess the perception of being even smaller.
The VIRGINIA Class design overall meets the requirements for the number of sanitary facilities
for enlisted crewmembers. However, the size and allocation of these among the various living
spaces is not uniform and may exacerbate the sense of inequity among those assigned to the
different berthing areas. In addition, the size of the heads is smaller than the LOS ANGELES
Class, again giving the appearance of being more confining.
Plans provide for only two pieces of exercise equipment on the VIRGINIA Class submarine, not
enough to permit all members of a crew of 118 to exercise at least once every 48 hours, as
required by the Physical Readiness Program instruction (OPNAVINST 6110.1G). At least three
pieces of exercise hardware are needed; LOS ANGELES Class boats commonly carry five
pieces of exercise hardware.
1.2.2 Psychological and social factors
The environment of the submarine can broadly be considered a capsule environment, which is
considered an extreme or unusual environment. Submarines provide insufficient levels of the
interrelated factors of privacy and personal space, which also infringe on confidentiality.
Analysis of research results, especially from NASA and earlier submarine studies, indicates that
these stressors may lead to greater conflict, confidential interpersonal exchanges that are later
regretted, and some cognitive impairment. In addition, crowding, the psychological corollary to
density, may lead to depression, poorer social interactions, and a sense of invaded personal space
(intimate personal space is normally considered 18 inches or less, a common working situation
on submarines). The duration and unpredictability of the deployment also has an effect on the
psychological and social well being of submariners.
The U. S. Navy’s selection and screening of prospective submariners and the on-board
leadership of officers and senior Petty Officers have mitigated many of these effects. However,
comparative analyses of psychologically-caused separations and waivers between submariners in
the Fast Attack (SSN) and Fleet Ballistic Missile (SSBN) communities show that SSN
submariners have significantly higher incidences of psychological waivers, disqualifications, and
higher overall anxiety and depression levels in comparison to SSBN submariners.
As the VIRGINIA Class submarines are a new type of SSN, the psychological outcomes of their
working environment should more closely resemble the outcomes in the current SSN force rather
than in the current SSBN force. If deployment schedules of the VIRGINIA Class are to be more
11
unpredictable or longer than the LOS ANGELES Class due to the Sea Base strategy of long-term
forward deployment, then it may be reasonable to conclude that VIRGINIA Class crews will
tend to have more prevalent psychological problems. As noted above, the VIRGINIA Class will
have spaces that may be perceived as smaller in comparison to the LOS ANGELES Class, which
themselves are less spacious than the OHIO Class (SSBN). This may increase crowding and
work stress, most likely leading to increases in psychological problems and interpersonal tension
among the crew.
1.2.3 Medical and physiological consequences
Many of the stressors that can exacerbate psychological and social conditions can also affect
submariners’ physical conditions. Stress and shift work (watchstanding cycles) have been shown
to have a negative impact on the immune system, leading to increased infections and diseases.
One recent study showed that over one third of a submarine crew had upper respiratory
symptoms throughout a 100-day underway period.
The smaller bunk height and different bunk ventilation design in the berthing areas of the
VIRGINIA Class submarine could potentially increase the risk of CO2 accumulation. Analysis of
ventilation requirements within a six man berthing area determined that when the submarines
ventilation system was turned off CO2 levels within a six man berthing area would exceed 6%
SEV (Surface Equivalent Volume) within 3.5 hours. This has obvious implications for a disabled
submarine situation. A more likely situation involves conditions where only the bunk fan is
turned off. Under this latter condition, it is difficult to predict if there will be significant
accumulation of CO2 within the bunk space. It is therefore recommended that CO2
concentrations in the bunk space be evaluated during initial deployment.
1.2.4 Operational readiness consequences
Ability to conduct damage control may be compromised based on the current dimensions of the
CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area, with the entryway hatch size of 18 inches and the width of
the passageway 18.25 inches. A SCBA depth of 5.48 inches, when worn, this would result in an
overall depth (chest depth + SCBA) of 17.2 inches for the 95th percentile submariner. This
defines the minimum passage clearance, with no buffer, required for fire fighting. It assumes
that the hose can be managed while standing upright and turned fully sideways in the
passageway, doorway, or hatch.
In addition, an analysis of the VIRGINIA Class control room indicates potential issues with the
ESM operator consoles and the level of control room noise. One issue identified as a potential
problem, the addition of the sonar operators to the control room area, is mitigated somewhat by
the use of noise canceling headphones developed by NSMRL.
The addition of up to 20 Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel without additional sanitary
or exercise facilities will exacerbate those social and psychological issues created by the sense of
crowding.
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1.3 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A basic conclusion is that the VIRGINIA Class SSN was designed in accordance with the
Habitability Standard in effect at the time of the design, with two exceptions, the amount of
seating in the Crew’s Mess and Wardroom areas. These exceptions and their impacts were noted
in the findings section. Also, insufficient exercise equipment is provided, again detailed in the
findings section.
Beyond this general conclusion, design decisions were made within the specification limits that
either have been superceded by a new habitability standard, deviate from design practices on
previous SSN’s, or combined with other factors will impact the submariner’s psychological and
physiological well being, and operational performance. In some cases, the trade-off involved
both a positive and a negative impact. For example, the use of athwartship bunks allowed the
placement of six-man compartments providing better privacy and accommodations. Another
example is the use of 18 inch bunk height (the new standard is 20 inches) that combined with the
new Navy standard 5 inch mattress (the old one was 4 inches) reduces the height below even the
18 inches.
While most of the report’s findings, and extrapolation to the VIRGINIA Class, would not
individually impact the submariner’s overall performance, morale, psychological or
physiological well being, the cumulative effects may have a significant impact. This is
particularly true in the case of the CCSM berthing area where several factors could combine to
impact the overall living conditions. A principal concern is that submariners will perceive
certain aspects of the VIRGINIA Class design to have a lesser quality of life because of changes,
such as the reduced berthing height and visually less open crew’s mess. In addition, perceived
inequities within the VIRGINIA Class itself may lead to interpersonal conflict.
The basic findings of the report, while focused on the VIRGINIA Class, are applicable in most
cases to all submarine Classes. This leads to the strongest recommendation of this report –
re-examine the Shipboard Habitability Design Criteria Manual to develop a submarine specific
standard that would reflect the unique challenges of the submarine environment. Also, the
necessity to verify any projected impacts upon the deployment of the USS VIRGINIA is noted
again.
Other recommendations include those that can be implemented as operating procedures and
others that will require design changes. The operating recommendations are:
1. Develop the berthing assignments to equitably split bunks between watchsections rather
than only by seniority,
2. For GQ and watch changes, have crewmembers proceed to the passageway outside the
berthing area to put on gear,
3. Use anthropometric data to allocate personnel for some specific tasks (if possible), such
as firefighting, to minimize the impact of constricted passageways,
4. Implement a new watchstanding schedule (currently under sea test) to improve the work-
rest cycle for better operational performance,
13
5. Examine feasibility of using the Blue/Gold crew system, or a modified version, to reduce
psychological stressors and associated separation and MEDEVAC issues, and,
6. Provide support and facilities for additional exercise to lessen anxiety and depression,
and maintain health to pass the Physical Fitness Assessment.
The design recommendations are:
1. Examine the trade-offs between increased berth size and “hot racking” for the CCSM
berthing area since increased quality of sleep might improve both performance and
morale over the current design,
2. Examine the possibility of redesigning the sanitary facilities,
3. Examine changes to the crew’s mess, including décor changes, to improve the sense of
psychological space, and,
4. Examine reduced manning based on the VIRGINIA Class’s highly automated systems
and similar reduced manning studies in the surface fleet.
14
2.0 BACKGROUND
The VIRGINIA Class submarine is the United States Navy’s new Fast Attack submarine. The
lead ship, the USS VIRGINIA (SSN 774), will be commissioned in 2004, and of ten boats
planned, four have been approved for construction. The VIRGINIA Class submarine will
support the Chief of Naval Operations Seabasing Program [31], in which the Navy will provide a
forward-deployed sea presence. The thrust of this program is accelerated deployment and
extended employment time of naval power projection capabilities. Part of this program requires
naval vessels, including submarines, to be continuously forward-deployed, six months at a time
for submarines. This new requirement for increased operational tempo for the Fast Attack
submarines poses a challenge to crewmembers who already face unique and difficult living
conditions on current Fast Attack submarines (SSN).
Ship design is driven by tradeoffs among size, affordability, equipment and crew size. These
tradeoffs are exacerbated in the submarine design by the necessity to operate submerged safely
for long periods, remain undetected, and perform missions ranging from Anti-Submarine
Warfare (ASW) to Strike Warfare to Special Operations Forces (SOF) deployment. It is to the
great credit of the Navy and its associated design contractors that submarines have become ever
more capable while improving overall habitability for the crew. While general crew welfare
design approaches apply to all Classes of submarines, each Class has its advantages and
disadvantages. The potential effects of certain design factors on the performance, morale, and
retention of submariners with emphasis on the unique environment of the new VIRGINIA Class
submarine is the purpose of this report.
A major factor supporting quality of life and crew morale is habitability of the submarine.
Habitability refers to “the degree of fit between human goals and cultural characteristics, on the
one hand, and the performance characteristics of the environment that is to support them” [86].
Different circumstances may require different requirements for habitability, or a different level
of environmental acceptability. This level of acceptability changes dramatically for short and
long durations. For short durations of a few days or even weeks, almost any condition may be
acceptable provided that the operator’s safety is maintained. Longer durations, however, require
conditions that support both the operator’s physical and psychological fitness. Conditions that
do not provide acceptable habitability for extended periods of time can result in adverse
performance effects and decreased quality of life and morale. Acknowledging this fact, the
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) states “habitability factors cannot be progressively sacrificed
to other readiness elements without eventual degradation of mission readiness. Maintaining the
appropriate shipboard Quality of Life (QOL) within established habitability criteria supports
positive morale and peak mission readiness.” [82, p.2]
Habitability onboard the USS VIRGINIA has been identified as a potential area of concern.
Rear Admiral David M. Crocker, Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force
(COMOPTEVFOR) states, “I also have significant concern with the habitability of the
VIRGINIA Class….In addition to a general feeling of confined space, obstructed access to
equipment, and questionable ability to perform damage control actions to save the ship in an
emergency situation, several requirements of various governing instructions were not met…The
quality of life for the Sailors assigned to the VIRGINIA Class will be poor, which could
15
negatively impact morale and retention…I recommend a concerted effort by the program office
and the design yard to investigate and improve habitability and damage control capability.” [27]
These statements are based in part on the issues outlined in a preliminary report by the Naval
Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL) [99]. In contrast, Captain John Heffron,
Naval Sea Systems Command, PEO Submarine, PMS 450, exclaims that “Naval architects kept
habitability in mind from the beginning of work on the submarine’s design.” [71]
This report reviews the psychological, physiological, and medical issues identified as possible
crew performance, morale, and retention factors on the USS VIRGINIA. First, the
anthropometrics of submariners will be reviewed. Next, physical space issues onboard the USS
VIRGINIA and submarine life will be outlined. In the following section, the relationship
between sleep quality and quantity and operational performance is explored. Next,
psychological and social issues associated with submarine life will be addressed. Following this
review, physiological and medical consequences of the living spaces will be identified. The next
section provides an overview of operational readiness issues, such as damage control, and the
following section discusses two major issues in the control room, specifically the ESM operator
workstations and the layout of the control room. Each of these sections extrapolates from current
submarine operations and empirical research studies. In the concluding section some possible
operating and physical solutions are offered.
3.0 SUBMARINER ANTHROPOMETRY
Many of the challenges of submarine life involve the dimensions of spaces such as passageways
and berthing. For this reason, the anthropometrics of submariners should play a key role in
submarine design and construction. Using anthropometric data from other populations is not
optimal, nor is using a generic computer-based “Ergoman” with an inaccurately sized “man”.
While most of the data evaluated in this report are compared to the Shipboard Habitability
Design Criteria Manual [81], data will also be evaluated in comparison with the anthropometric
data of submariners where available. The real test of submarine habitability is in the comparison
with actual submariner body dimensions.
3.1 SUBMARINER ANTHROPOMETRIC DATA
The most recent rigorous measurements of U.S. submariner anthropometrics occurred in the mid-
1970s by Mooney, Bowman, and Callahan [69]. Table 1 outlines some of the key
anthropometric measurements from this report.
16
Table 1. Submariner anthropometric data from Mooney et al., (1989)
Percentile
Body dimension 50 75 90 95 97
Weight (lbs) 177.04 195.74 215.34 229.06 239.04
Height (inches) 69.5 71.6 73.2 74.2 74.9
Chest depth (inches) 9.7 10.3 10.9 11.3 11.5
Shoulder breadth (inches) 18.9 19.7 20.4 20.9 21.2
Abdominal girth (inches) 35.5 38.3 41.1 42.8 44.0
3.2 UPDATED SUBMARINER ANTHROPOMETRIC DATA
While the cause is debated, it is a fact that the general U.S. population is growing larger
[44,53,68]. Therefore, with submariners drawn from today's population, a greater proportion of
larger Sailors may encounter ergonomic, workspace, and habitability problems on the USS
VIRGINIA. Reduced physical space may limit certain operations, particularly for larger Sailors.
The analysis below updates submariner anthropometric data to help assess potential workspace
problems aboard VIRGINIA Class submarines.
Since the submariner anthropometric data collection in the mid-1970s, obesity in the general
public has become a global epidemic [120]. Recent Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) data was
examined to determine if submariners exhibited the same trend. Data were gathered from the
Navy’s Fall 2002 PFA for active duty submariners, provided by the Bureau of Personnel,
Millington, TN [80]. Body Composition Assessment (BCA) data were broken down by height
and weight for 1608 submariners. Table 2 lists the analysis of this new set of data compared to
the original Mooney et al. data.
Table 2. Submariner height and weight update. Standard error in parentheses.
Year Average Height (inches)
Average Weight (lbs)
1970s (N=1016) 69.7 (0.1)
177.5 (0.9)
2002 (N=1608) 70.4 (0.1)
187.5 (0.8)
Unlike the mid-1970s data collected by Mooney et al. [69], BCA measurements are not always
performed with scientific rigor. Because BCA outcomes improve with an increased height to
weight ratio, incentive exists for height to be overestimated. Also, weight measurement may
sometimes err slightly on the low side. However, no reason exists to suspect large systematic
errors in the results, so the 2002 data should serve for comparison to the earlier Mooney, et al.
data.
17
A small trend (1%) exists for submariner height in 2002 to exceed mid-1970s height. This is not
statistically or operationally significant. Also, for reasons noted above, the 2002 height data
probably overestimate actual height, thus further reducing likelihood of any real differences from
mid-1970s submariner height.
On average, today's submariners are approximately 10 lbs heavier than submariners 30 years
ago. This is a 5.6% increase. Without raw data from the 1970s, it is impossible to compare the
two data sets statistically, so it is not known with certainty whether this increase is statistically
significant. However, a 5.6% difference coupled with wide separation of standard errors
strongly suggests significance.
The increase in weight corresponds with that in the general U.S. population [44,53,68] and other
U.S. military personnel [62] over the same time span. Not surprisingly, the absolute weight
increase is larger in larger Sailors. For example, for the 5th percentile submariner, weight
increased 4 lbs from 139.6 lbs in the mid-1970s to 143.7 lbs in 2002, whereas for the 95th
percentile submariner, weight increased 13 lbs from 229.0 lbs in the mid-1970s to 241.8 lbs in
2002. Figure 1 illustrates this finding across all weight percentiles.
75
100
125
150
175
200
225
250
275
300
1%
2%
3%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
55%
60%
65%
70%
75%
80%
85%
90%
95%
97%
98%
99%
Percentile
Weight (lbs)
Mid-70's Weight
2002 Weight
Figure 1. Submariner Weight Plotted Against Percentile for Mid-1970s & 2002 Data
18
Where does this weight increase translate to elevated anthropometrics? Abdominal
circumference offers a logical and convenient place to look. Of the 1608 submariners in the
2002 data set, 564 (35%) did not meet the height/weight ratio criteria in Appendix A of the
Physical Fitness Assessment program [80]: they were considered too heavy for their height.
Therefore, their neck and abdominal circumferences were measured. These results are listed in
Table 3. These data do not necessarily represent the largest submariners, but only those who
failed the height/weight criterion.
Table 3. 2002 submariner neck and abdomen circumferences for submariners who did not
meet height/weight criteria (N=564)
Circumference
Mean SD SE
Neck (inches)
17.0 1.0 0.0
Abdomen (inches)
38.4 2.7 0.1
The data do not permit rigorous comparison of abdominal girth for the mid-1970s and 2002
groups because the data set only provides girth for about one third of the 2002 group, and
because it was a non-random sample of that group. However, the following observations are
informative. The 2002 mean, 38.4 inches, corresponds to the 75th percentile of the mid-1970s
submariner population [69], and is 0.72 standard deviations above the mean (35.5 inches) of the
mid-1970s population. When mean abdominal girth of one third of the recent group reaches the
75th percentile of the earlier group, it implies that submariner abdominal girth has increased from
the mid-1970s to the present. This implication becomes clearer when considering that the one
third of the 2002 group is not necessarily composed of the largest submariners in the group.
Therefore, and not surprisingly, the weight increase of submariners over the last 30 years
translates into increased abdominal circumference for the population.
In addition to abdominal girth, a 10 lb weight increase probably also increases other
anthropometric variables such as hip and shoulder breadth, and chest depth. However, no data
exist to quantify these increases for the submariner population. For these reasons, the remainder
of the report refers to the original Mooney et al. data [69], with the acknowledgement that these
anthropometric data have probably increased. With these submariner physical body dimensions
in mind, next the physical dimensions of berthing and living spaces onboard the USS VIRGINIA
submarine are evaluated.
4.0 USS VIRGINIA LIVING SPACES
The physical dimensions of the VIRGINIA Class submarine are discussed. An overall analysis of
the crew size to the displacement indicates that the VIRGINIA Class is comparable to previous
Fast Attack submarines. However, this general analysis does not take into account the details of
the relationship between the amount of space devoted to equipment and that to human
operational and living spaces or to the distribution of hygiene facilities among various living
areas.
19
4.1 COMPLIANCE WITH SHIPBOARD HABITABILITY DESIGN CRITERIA MANUAL
A review was conducted of the USS VIRGINIA’s compliance with a subset of the Shipboard
Habitability Design Criteria Manual [81]. The current review of compliance with the Shipboard
Habitability Design Criteria Manual uses OPNAVINST 9640.1, under which the VIRGINIA
Class contract was drafted. These results are outlined in Appendix A. Since then an updated
version of the Shipboard Habitability Standard has been released [82]1. A comparison between
the old and new version of the Shipboard Habitability Standard is presented in Appendix B.
In the following section, more detail is provided on the areas that are either not in compliance, or
barely meet the minimum requirement, that may adversely affect crew performance, morale, and
retention. The reader should be reminded that this standard dictates the minimum requirement,
not the requirement for optimal living conditions. Some of the physical spaces meet the
minimum requirements, but do not adequately account for the average sized submariner. To this
end, many living areas that are in compliance with the criteria may still result in adverse
consequences. Moreover, this standard does not include any variations that are cruise length
dependent. National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) standards take into account the
length of the space mission [28]. Since space flight is considered somewhat analogous to
submarine operations, the Shipboard Habitability Standard could be revised to include these
variations. The necessity of this adjustment may become apparent as the USS VIRGINIA
completes her first extended deployment.
4.2 BERTHING
4.2.1 Berthing accommodations
Submarines traditionally limit personal space such as berthing, and as such, berthing is an
important determinant of quality of life (QOL) with submarine crewmembers. In order to
accommodate the limited number of berths in comparison to crewmembers, crewmembers of
Fast Attack submarines often share bunks, a practice called “hot racking.”
According to the USS VIRGINIA Preliminary Ship Manning Document (SMD) [77] there are
134 total crewmembers on the USS VIRGINIA, of which 14 are officers. The number for
deployment manning is set at 118, while the number of underway watchstanders will be 78. The
deployment manning number of 118 is achieved by adding 19 administrative/supply support and
21 additional support crew. The 134 number is achieved by adding 16 augmented crew to the
deployment manning number of 118.
Naval Sea Systems Command, PEO Submarine, PMS 450, cites underway manning number as
118 [36,71]. Since there are 119 berths, there will be nominally no “hot racking”. However,
experience indicates that the underway manning number underestimates the number of actual
people who will be onboard, often the result of extra riders, DSE teams, VIP’s, Special
Operations Forces, etc. While the number of additional riders would be unpredictable based on
1 From this point forward the Shipboard Habitability Design Criteria Manual is referred to as the Shipboard
Habitability Standard.
20
manning overlap, trainees, etc., prior practice indicates that the 118 underway number is
unrealistic for the USS VIRGINIA. A conservative estimate of the number of total onboard
during deployment would be 135, leading to “hot racking” for at least some crewmembers2.
Additionally, the CNO states that “increasing the population of a ship beyond the capability of
existing environmental control systems, habitability space and facilities degrades habitability.”
[82, p. 3]. To this end, the CNO requires that the Operational Requirements Document (ORD)
for all new ship designs shall include a service life allowance for officer and enlisted personnel
that provides for a growth of 10 percent at ship delivery. For the USS VIRGINIA submarine,
this means that the boat should be able to accommodate 130 crewmembers, or 12 more bunks
(118 underway manning x .10 = 12).
Typically officers and chief petty officers (CPO) are assigned their own bunk and do not have to
“hot rack”. This is the case in the USS VIRGINIA as well, so this report focuses on the crew’s
berthing areas. There are no noted deficiencies with officer and CPO berthing areas in regard to
the number of bunks allocated. In the USS VIRGINIA there are 89 bunks for E-6 and below.
However, the SMD indicates that 104 E-6’s and below will be assigned to the boat, while the
number of underway watchstanders will only be 78. Whether this will result in “hot racking” for
crewmembers remains to be determined during deployment.
4.2.2 Berthing dimensions
In addition to the number of berths on the USS VIRGINIA, another area of concern is the
berthing dimensions. The Shipboard Habitability Standard requires that the height above the
mattress is 18 inches for crewmembers3. Each bunk on the USS VIRGINIA will be stocked with
a mattress with a depth of either 4 or 5 inches (Mattress 7210-01-491-5943 is 4 inches, while
Mattress 7210-01-491-5899 is 5 inches). Table 4 lists the bunk heights and projected heights
with mattress for four berthing areas on the USS VIRGINIA4. The dimensions in Table 4
indicate that all of the crew berthing areas meet the requirement if the 4 inch mattress is used, but
none meet this requirement if the 5 inch mattress is used. However, practically all of these bunk
heights do not accommodate the 50th percentile submariner (e.g., shoulder breadth). Moreover,
none of the bunks meet the updated requirement that the height above the mattress be 20 inches.
The table dimensions are based on an uncompressed mattress that is 4 or 5 inches thick. It is
estimated that the compressed thickness will be 1 inch less5, for a final mattress depth of 3 to 4
inches. Even accounting for the fact that crewmembers will compress their mattresses while
they are in the bunks, this area in which crewmembers will have to sleep still poses problems. In
particular, there is no allowance for a crewmember to sleep on his side or turn over during sleep.
The shoulder breadth value of the 50th percentile submariner is 18.9 inches, while the 95th
percentile is 20.9 inches [69]. Therefore, a USS VIRGINIA bunk would impede sleeping on
2 A recently deployed LOS ANGELES Class submarine estimates that they had about 15% more riders than listed in
the ship manning document.
3 Even though the appropriate requirement is 18 inches, the updated requirement is 20 inches above the mattress.
4 Data provided by Lee Cone, VIRGINIA CLASS T&E On-Site-Rep, PMS450C2O, to COMOPTEVFOR on 12
February 2003.
5 On a LOS ANGELES Class submarine bunk with a 4 inch mattress, the height from the edge of the mattress to the
light was 17 inches, while the same measurement from the middle of the mattress was 18 inches.
21
one’s side and turning over during sleep for the crewmembers assigned to any of the four
berthing areas listed in Table 4. This reduced mobility during sleep will in turn reduce sleep
quality for submariners via the mechanisms discussed in Section 5 below. The problem is
further aggravated by the fact that the footlocker and fan extend down into the sleeping area
about 5 inches.
Table 4. Average dimensions of crew berthing spaces with and without mattress (inches)
on the USS VIRGINIA. Note: Dimensions with mattress are given with 5 and 4 inch deep
mattress. Dimensions that are below the 50th percentile submariner shoulder breadth (18.9
inches) are indicated in bold. HAB MOD Crew Life (18) measurements were not available.
Space Height from bottom
surface to bottom of
bunk above
Height from bottom
of bedpan to foot
locker
Height from bottom
of bedpan to light
CCSM Crew Life (24)/1st
Platform*
Without mattress 22.4 17.4 20.6
With mattress 17.4/18.4 12.4/13.4 15.6/16.6
HAB MOD Crew Life
(23)/1st Platform*
Without mattress 22.7 17.6 20.9
With mattress 17.7/18.7 12.6/13.6 15.9/16.9
HAB MOD Crew Life
(24)/1st Platform
Without mattress 22.7 17.4 21.1
With mattress 17.7/18.7 12.4/13.4 16.1/17.1
HAB MOD WRSR/2nd
Platform
Without mattress 23.5 18.2 21.9
With mattress 18.5/19.5 13.2/14.2 16.5/17.5
* CCSM refers to the Command and Control Systems Module, while HAB MOD refers to the
Habitability Module.
Looking at bunk heights individually, there are several that are even smaller than the average
bunk height. When a 4 inch mattress is used, there are three bunks smaller than 18 inches, with
the smallest height being 17.3 inches. When a 5 inch mattress is used, there are 66 bunks that are
smaller than 18 inches, with the smallest bunk being 16.3 inches. With this knowledge, bunk
assignments could be made based on size of the submariner, fitting the smallest crewmembers in
these bunks. Another option is to use the 4 inch mattress vice the 5 inch mattress for USS
VIRGINIA berthing.
22
4.2.3 Berthing orientation
While there is no specification for berthing orientation in the old Shipboard Habitability
Standard, the newest version requires that for each berthing area a maximum of 30% berths shall
be athwartship. As shown in Figure 2, this specification is exceeded in the HAB MOD Crew
Life (23) and Crew Life (24) sections, in which 100% of the berths are athwartship. This
orientation of the berths may interfere with the ability to sleep if the boat rises or dives a large
angle and may result in motion sickness. More importantly, when the submarine is at periscope
depth, the bunk will roll port to starboard, tipping the sleeper from head to foot, reducing sleep
quality.
Figure 2. USS VIRGINIA HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and Crew Life (24) berthing areas
4.2.4 Berthing entryway and passageway
The entryways and passageways in the berthing areas meet the specification in the Shipboard
Habitability Standard. However, the aft entryway into the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area is
18 inches, barely meeting the requirement of a minimum of 18 inches (indicated by the letter
“A” in Figure 3). Yet, even this requirement does not adequately account for the average sized
submariner (50th percentile shoulder breadth is 18.9 inches). Based on these data, it is
recommended that the requirement be adjusted to account for submarine anthropometry (e.g.,
20.9 inches for the shoulder breadth of the 95th percentile submariner).
23
A
S
I
N
S
I
N
WATER
HEATER
TOILET
TOILET
Figure 3. USS VIRGINIA CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area
The passageway in the same berthing area is 18.25 inches, while the minimum width required by
the Shipboard Habitability Standard is 18 inches. Both of these dimensions preclude the average
size submariner from walking through the passageway without protracting his shoulders, because
the 50th percentile shoulder breadth is 18.9 inches. The 95th percentile submariner has a shoulder
breadth of 20.9 inches – over 2 inches wider than the berthing passageway. When two
submariners try to navigate through the passageway, the space gets even tighter. The 95th
percentile for chest depth is 11.3 inches. Thus, fitting two submariners chest to chest can require
as much as 22.6 inches – almost five inches wider than the allotted area. Even two 50th
percentile submariners can require as much as 19.4 inches. Based on this comparison between
the USS VIRGINIA specifications, the actual measurements, and submariner body dimensions,
the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area does not accommodate the average submariner.
The dimensions of the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing are in sharp contrast with the HAB MOD
Crew Life (23) and Crew Life (24) berthing areas (Figure 2), in which the average width
between bunks is 23.5 inches. The passageway in this area ranges from 29 to 32 inches. This
berthing area is more consistent with submariner anthropometry. Yet, the passageway in the
HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and (24) area poses a different problem: it is also the main
passageway in the submarine that will support damage control efforts. The lack of space in the 6
man berthing areas will require crewmembers to enter the main passageway during damage
control drills to don their gear.
4.2.5 Location of Commanding Officer and Executive Officer staterooms
On the VIRGINIA Class submarine, the Commanding Officer (CO) and Executive Officer’s
(XO) staterooms are on the second platform, in close proximity to the wardroom. In the previous
Class of Fast Attack submarines, these staterooms are on a separate platform from the wardroom.
On the USS VIRGINIA, the fact that the CO and XO staterooms are close to the wardroom may
hamper the “psychological distance” that is perceived in current SSN’s. This psychological
distance is important for tension and anxiety release. If officers do not feel they are able to let
off this tension, it may have an adverse effect on their morale and performance.
24
4.3 SPACE, FACILITIES, AND TIME ISSUES
4.3.1 Crew’s mess
The crew’s mess seating does not meet the Shipboard Habitability Standard. The specification
requires seating for 35% of the underway crew, which should be 36 people (104 enlisted
underway). However, the actual seating is 28. This discrepancy will increase when the number
of underway enlisted crewmembers exceeds 104. Section 8.2 further elaborates on the
operational readiness ramifications of this discrepancy.
In addition to the restricted seating area, the crew’s mess gives the appearance of being smaller
because of the floor-to-ceiling structure in the middle of the area. The crew’s mess on a LOS
ANGELES Class submarine does not have this structure, presenting a feeling of open space,
which provides a psychological advantage for crewmembers. On the USS VIRGINIA, this sense
of open space disappears, producing the feeling of crowding.
4.3.2 Officer’s wardroom
The officer’s wardroom also does not meet the habitability criteria. The specification requires
seating for 75% of officers in the wardroom, which should be 11. The actual seating is 10.
4.3.3 Sanitary facilities
As indicated in Table 5, overall, the number of sanitary facilities on the USS VIRGINIA meets
the habitability specifications, except for the officer staterooms (see Appendix A for the required
number of accommodations per fixture). The concern, however, is how the crew’s sinks, toilets,
and showers are allocated according to the three crew living areas, since these facilities will
probably be used more often than the officer or CPO facilities. If the sanitary facilities are
evaluated via the standard in this manner, as shown in Table 6, then deficiencies are noted in the
HAB MOD berthing areas.
Table 5. USS VIRGINIA total and required sanitary facility numbers for Crew, CPO, and
Officers based on Shipboard Habitability Standard
Crew (E6 below) CPO Officer
Required Actual Required Actual Required Actual
Sinks 6 7 2 2 6 4
Toilets 5 5 2 1 2 1
Showers 2 3 1 1 2 1
25
Table 6. Number of sanitary facilities for crew spaces (E6 below) on the
USS VIRGINIA. Required numbers are based on analysis of Shipboard Habitability
Standard by living area vice entire submarine.
CCSM Crew Life (24) HAB MOD Crew Life (23)
and (24)
HAB MOD Crew Life (18)
Required Actual Required Actual Required Actual
Sinks 2 2 3 3 2 2
Toilets 2 2 3 2 1 1
Showers 1 1 1 1 1 1
The Shipboard Habitability Standard does not require the sanitary facilities to be equitably split
so they are located in the vicinity of the associated living spaces. However, not specifying this
requirement may result in inadequate hygiene facilities for certain living areas. For example, as
indicated in Table 6 and in Figure 2, the number of facilities for the 47 men berthed in the HAB
MOD Crew Life (23) and Crew Life (24) on the USS VIRGINIA includes 3 sinks, 2 toilets, and
1 shower. Compare this with a LOS ANGELES Class submarine, in which a similar crew area
has 4 sinks, 4 toilets, and 2 showers for 30 men (shown in Figure 4). Moreover, some sanitary
facility areas in the USS VIRGINIA are smaller and have less usable space. For example, the
space between the bulkhead and shower door in the CCSM Crew Life (24) head area is 17
inches. Contrast this with the same dimension for HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and (24)
washroom, which is 26 inches between the sink edge and the shower door. The dimension for
the same measurement on the LOS ANGELES Class is even larger, 30.5 inches. One
consequence of this smaller head space may be that the common practice of cutting hair in the
head area can no longer be conducted. Another factor may be that the cramped head area with
the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area, coupled with its berthing dimensions, may contribute to
a poor quality of life for the crew assigned to this living area.
Figure 4. Diagram of LOS ANGELES Class submarine head area for 30 man berthing
area
26
Another hygiene area issue is how long watch turnover will take given the limited facilities. In
the HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and (24) berthing area, one-third watch turnover would include
16 people. If 30 minutes is allotted for personal hygiene during crew turnover, and there is 1
shower, 2 toilets, and 3 sinks, then the crewmembers will have to conduct their hygiene functions
in the following amount of time: a) shower: 1.88 minutes, b) toilet use: 3.75 minutes,
c) wash and shave: 5.63 minutes. The CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing hygiene facilities consist
of 1 shower, 2 toilets, and 2 sinks. The same analysis as above gives the following results for 8
crewmembers: a) shower: 3.75 minutes, b) toilet use: 7.5 minutes, c) wash and shave: 7.5
minutes.
These analyses do not take into consideration those that are listed as on call or are not designated
for specific watchstations (e.g., HM, SK, MS, YN, and ELT). Additionally, the time required to
conduct these hygiene tasks may be extended based on the cramped spaces in the head area due
to crewmembers having to move aside to let others pass and change places.
Furthermore, the Shipboard Habitability Standard does not address sanitation issues when special
operations forces (SOF) are onboard. Up to 20 SOF could be onboard with no additional
facilities. This would further diminish the number of sanitation facilities per person.
4.3.4 Exercise equipment
The inactivity of submarine life may lead to deconditioning of crewmembers [11,40]. Space
exists for only two pieces of exercise equipment on the VIRGINIA Class submarine as currently
designed. This is not enough to permit all members of a crew of 118 to exercise at least once
every 48 hours, as required by the Physical Readiness Program instruction [80]. Given a
minimal exercise session of 30 minutes, and continuous use of exercise equipment, such a crew
requires at least three pieces of exercise hardware, and preferably more. LOS ANGELES Class
boats commonly carry five pieces of exercise hardware.
Special Operations Forces riders on submarines require even greater exercise/fitness support than
submariners, due to their baseline training and mission requirements. Lack of adequate exercise
hardware on VIRGINIA Class boats may compromise special operations rider mission readiness
because they will not be able to maintain their level of fitness.
4.4 HABITABILITY SUMMARY
In sum, there are several living areas on the USS VIRGINIA that could potentially adversely
affect the crew including: 1) the bunk heights in all berthing areas, 2) the passageway and
entryway width in CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area, 3) the size and number of sanitary
facilities associated with this berthing area, 4) the athwartship berths in HAB MOD Crew Life
(24) and (23) berthing areas, 5) the number of sanitary facilities associated with these berthing
areas, 6) the location of the CO and XO staterooms, 7) the low number of seating and confined
feeling in the Crew’s mess, and 8) the lack of required exercise equipment. While each of these
areas by themselves may not produce any adverse effects, the cumulative effect of all of these
issues may be a causal factor in decreasing operational performance, crew morale, and retention.
27
5.0 SLEEP ISSUES
Based on the review in the previous section, the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing of the USS
VIRGINIA appears to be smaller than previous Classes of submarines. This cramped space may
degrade the quality of sleep of Sailors, which will over time cumulate the level of fatigue for
Sailors. In this section, the literature on effects of fatigue on performance is reviewed. Given the
smaller living environment of the USS VIRGINIA and the Seabasing requirement for forward
deployment for up to six months, the review on fatigue and sleep loss seems particularly
relevant.
5.1 SLEEP QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF SUBMARINERS
Most sleep specialists recommend that the typical human being requires approximately 8 hours
of sleep per day for optimal performance and mood. According to surveys performed by the
National Sleep Foundation, only 37 percent of Americans are obtaining this amount. In fact, 1
out of every 3 Americans obtain 6.5 hours sleep or less during the workweek. Many even report
getting around 5 hours of sleep each day during the workweek. The consequences of chronic
partial sleep deprivation are well documented, including excessive daytime sleepiness, decrease
in vigilance, depression, and increase in accidents [63]. Unfortunately, the effects of partial sleep
deprivation are insidious – fatigue accumulates in a person and the person is unaware of their
inability to perform at their best. Performance on complex tasks degrades dramatically in the
face of such deprivation [112]. Research at the University of Pennsylvania shows that
performance after two weeks of less than 6 hours of sleep per day is as poor as an individual who
has been staying up with no sleep for 48 hours. The performance decrease is the same. The
difference in the two groups is that the individuals receiving 5-6 hours of sleep were unaware of
the performance decrement, while the total sleep deprivation group was quite cognizant of a
large performance drop after staying awake for 2 days straight [112]. Similar reports have been
found in military populations [9]. In fact, for various performance tasks, including skills
involved in driving an automobile and tracking speed, 18.5 and 21 hours of wakefulness
produced negative changes of the same magnitude as 0.05 and 0.08% blood alcohol
concentration, respectively [3].
The Navy recently made changes to address the importance of sleep on normal human
functioning. For example, in 2002 at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, sleep time was
extended from 6 hours to 8, all at the behest of the direction from Naval Education and Training
Command (NETC), Vice Admiral Harms, after briefings by NSMRL research psychologists.
Even though research indicates adults need 8 hours for optimal performance and vigilance,
younger persons need more. The sleep requirement of a young person in their late teens to early
twenties well exceeds 8 hours on average. In fact, for most individuals in this young age
category, the need will exceed 9 hours for optimal performance [18]. The percentage of
submariners onboard in this age category will top 35% in most submarines. Of special concern
is the fact that, based on prior practice, the more junior Sailors will be berthing in the CCSM
Crew Life (24) berthing. Coupling the youngest Sailors with the smallest berthing area will only
degrade their quality and quantity of sleep, possibly resulting in degraded performance.
28
Even though sleep disturbances have been noted among submariners [35,114], sleep has been
measured by scientists onboard submarines only a handful of times. Nathaniel Kleitman
performed the first investigation in 1949. He toured the USS Dogfish for three weeks and
reported the typical sailor was receiving about 9.3 hours of sleep each night. He also reported
high morale and camaraderie with most Sailors’ biggest complaint being boredom with not much
to do while off watch (card playing was the top diversion). Most watchstanders worked an on-
for-4 and off-for-8 hour schedule. This seemed well suited to the operational tempo of the day
onboard a diesel submarine [59].
However, with the advent of nuclear submarines, the traditional watch schedule was not well
suited to the lengthier drills that were now required as well as the longer after-watch clean up
and more sophisticated pre-watch turnover protocol. Informal trials led to the present on-for-6
off-for-12 hour schedule first adopted by the USS George Washington in the early 1960s [34].
For a standard three-section watch, the crew much preferred the new schedule to the old, and this
was considered a monumental step forward; the crew could now find time for occasional
extended sleep [8].
Subsequent research on sleep onboard the nuclear submarine was slow to unravel. The first sleep
study was in 1979 where two separate SSBNs were provided a standard sleep survey during an
underway [91]. They found average sleep totaling approximately 6.2 hours with much variance
(one boat reported significantly less sleep than the other). A more recent analysis of sleep
performed at the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) found that a typical submariner also on
an SSBN received about 6.9 hours sleep [58]. However, the goal of the NHRC study was not to
survey sleep but was included more as an adjunct. Further, the small sample (N=24) included
non-watchstanders including the independent duty corpsman. This may have skewed results
leading to a larger than a true average sleep time. The largest and most scientific analysis of
sleep in the submariner was collected and procured at NSMRL and published as a masters thesis
at the Naval Postgraduate School [5]. Examining over 250 submariners onboard four Fast
Attack submarines as well as at the Military Medicine clinic at Subase New London, the median
sleep time during an underway was reported at only 5.5 hours. The median sleep time during
shore duty in the same population was 7 hours. The total sleep time while on shore closely
approximates the average sleep time for a typical working American. Yet the total sleep time
while underway is considered moderate to severe sleep restriction [91]. It is well known in sleep
science that fatigue is cumulative – the longer a person continues in chronic sleep restricted state,
the more pronounced the performance deficit, the greater the chance for negative behavioral
effects such as depression and mood swings. If VIRGINIA Class submarines have longer
deployments and faster OPTEMPOS than a typical LOS ANGELES Class, there is concern that
such deleterious effects may be exaggerated.
In short, recent research onboard Fast Attack submarines has found sleep totals nearly 4 hours
less on average than what Kleitman found over a half century ago on the USS Dogfish.
Additionally, virtually all submariners report that sleep is markedly fragmented; that is,
submariners have more than one sleep period per 24 hours due to the unusual work/rest schedule.
This is known as a multiphasic pattern of sleep that is less effective for recuperation from daily
fatigue as compared to one long uninterrupted sleep [111].
29
5.2 SUBMARINE WATCHSTANDING AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS
The current 6/12 schedule creates an activity cycle that is 18 hours long instead of the 24-hour
circadian cycle to which humans have adapted. This 18-hour “day” when coupled with the
absence of natural photic (i.e., sunlight) cues causes the circadian rhythms of the watchstanders
to desynchronize from the 24-hour daily cycle [73] and, in some cases, free run with a period of
about 24.5 hours instead of entraining to the 24-hour clock [58]. The inability of the
watchstanders’ circadian rhythms to entrain to an 18-hour work-rest cycle is not surprising as it
is well beyond the intrinsic capability of our biological clock [73].
Disruption in the body’s circadian activity produces symptoms of malaise, insomnia, appetite
loss, and nervous stress [50]. As an example, a study performed at NSMRL in 1979 found that
this schedule caused disruptions in normal circadian functioning [91]. It can be assumed based
on the literature that such alteration of normal physiological daily functioning leads to sleep
deprivation and may affect the emotional state and work efficiency of submariners [8]. This
disrythmia from sleep distortion has a well-established cumulative effect on performance in
military populations [9]. That is, the longer the deployment, the more pronounced the negative
effects. Part of the problem is from the sleep loss per se, but compounding the issue for
submariners is the circadian disruption stemming from the unusual work/rest periodicity [58].
The typical watchstanders works in a manner that is a close proximity to a civilian shift worker,
albeit in a more extreme form than any civilian worker. Still, there is ample research on the ill
health effects of working out of phase with the normal work/rest cycle (i.e., a 24 hour day). For
example, in addition to significant performance decrements, numerous studies have
demonstrated that shift workers have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal
distress and reduced overall feelings of well being [55].
5.3 SLEEP ON THE USS VIRGINIA
Overall, total sleep of modern submariners is in a range that is not sufficient for optimal
performance. This, coupled with fragmented sleep, disrupted circadian rhythm effects, and
potential health problems, sleep science would indicate that the typical nuclear submariner of the
21st Century is a sleep deprived submariner who is not performing at his highest and is subject to
mood, behavioral, and other health disruptions commensurate with the lack of rest he receives.
Various factors may further compromise the quality of sleep of USS VIRGINIA crewmembers.
The work and rest patterns of the soon to be deployed USS VIRGINIA will likely be more
intense than the OPTEMPO of the LOS ANGELES Class presently operating. Moreover, since
the new Class of submarines may be forward deployed for longer underway periods, the effects
from sleep deprivation and circadian disrythmia may be intensified.
Cramped berthing, as exemplified by the CCSM Crew Life (24) berths, may indirectly
compromise operations by reducing sleep quality. Horn et al. [54] recently reported that one
third of submariners experience difficulty sleeping at sea. As previously mentioned, sufficient
and good quality sleep is critical to operations: poor or inadequate sleep significantly reduces
30
vigilance, alertness, and cognitive function [66,85]; leads to mistakes; and contributes to
accidents [14,105] (e. g. Exxon Valdez).
More specifically, cramped berthing encourages sleeping in supine posture (on the back), which
commonly causes breathing problems during sleep [19,79]. These problems include snoring and
sleep apnea. Such problems significantly reduce sleep quantity and quality [57,74,79,98],
leading to sleepiness and associated mistakes and accidents [104,105]. Snoring also disturbs and
shortens the sleep of others trying to sleep nearby [10], such as shipmates in berthing. Other
aspects of submarine life affecting sleep quality include the 18-hour watchstanding schedule,
stuffy nose/nasal congestion [54], hypoxia, hypercapnia, and physical inactivity.
In addition to less sleeping space, more noise could be anticipated in the CCSM Crew Life (24)
sleeping area due to its close proximity to the control room. While there is individual variability,
the effects of noise are well documented: it is fatiguing and distracting, disturbing sleep,
interfering with waking activities, and is linked to aggressive behavior [33]. These factors are
germane when the person has no control over the noise, which results in high levels of stress
[26], further interfering with sleep.
There may also be disruptive sleep effects in the HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and (24) berthing
areas, given that the bunks are all athwartship. If submariners are continuously waking up
because their body shifts with the movement of the boat, sleep will most likely be affected.
To reiterate, quantitative and qualitative sleep loss in isolated and confined environments appears
to be related to high noise and vibration levels, general tension during the mission, staggered
sleep schedules, and bed designs that are inadequate to ensure comfortable sleeping positions
[12,28]. Specifically, the dream phase of sleep declines, deeper stages of sleep necessary for
optimal functioning decrease, and only light stages of sleep are obtained, accumulating in
fatigue, and poor performance.
6.0 PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL EFFECTS
Submarine life presents a unique combination of environmental stressors. Submarine crews
experience prolonged periods of time in a confined space underwater. They work in the absence
of day-night cues, and under conditions of disrupted sleep-wake cycles, sleep deprivation,
fluctuating atmospheric composition, and fluctuating atmospheric pressure [93];[115]. They also
work in varying noise levels in the presence of dangers such as collision and grounding, and
potential attack from enemy submarines, surface vessels, and aircraft.
A literature review of the psychology and sociology of living in close quarters is provided.
Specifically, the environmental psychology of closed habitats will be examined based on extant
research, largely performed under research protocols funded by NASA and agencies interested in
polar expeditions. In fact, NASA conducted a similar review in 1985 [28]. The living spaces on
the USS VIRGINIA could potentially influence performance and morale of the crew, whether it
stem from psychological or social issues. The following section provides a review of these
issues, extrapolating from the scientific literature on how they might impact the USS VIRGINIA.
31
6.1 THE HABITAT OF A SUBMARINE “CAPSULE”
The environment of the submarine can broadly be considered a capsule environment, which as a
category overlaps with extreme or unusual environments [109]. Naturally, almost any
environment can be considered extreme or unusual for one person while wholly survivable for
another. Here, as is common in the literature on the environmental psychology of confined
spaces, “extreme” is defined as indicating physical parameters that are outside the optimal range
of human survival (even though some groups may exist within such parameters) and the term
“unusual” to indicate a serious deviation from the accustomed environment of most humans
[110]. Obviously, and by example in the literature, the submarine milieu is well within the
definition of extreme and unusual.
Examples of capsule environments that may have overlapping characteristics with an underway
submarine include prisons, resource-extraction communities (mining or logging camps), stimulus
restriction laboratories, space modules, and polar outposts. Typically, these environments are
remote from other communities, are in places where the physical dimensions are insensitive to
normal human life, and are difficult to enter and leave. They are inhabited by artificially
composed groups of people who are removed from their normal social networks. All capsule
environments must contain workspaces and living quarters, as well as facilities for recreation,
health treatment, food preparation and sanitation [110].
There are numerous opportunities for psychological and operational research on such capsules.
The most common field locales are polar stations, space vehicles, and submarine habitats
[49,107], but many of these studies are performed in simulators due to cost, safety, or scientific
reasons. So, aside from research in simulators, data in these capsule environments tend to come
from a small sampling.
6.2 PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
The next section outlines the potential psychological effects of the submarine or capsule
environment. Researchers disagree as to what is the acceptable amount of space per person in a
capsule environment, with estimates ranging from 84 to 700 cubic feet of space per person [28];
[108]. Research for NASA has produced the following suggestion: a minimum of 50 ft3/person
is adequate for 1 or 2 days of confinement, whereas 260 ft3 /person is needed for 1 or 2 months,
and 600 ft3/person for more than 2 months [15]. Additionally, based on the results of 60
confinement studies, Fraser [43] found that psychological or physiological impairment occurred
at between 50 ft3 for very brief confinement, and 150 ft3 for 60 day confinement. He concludes
that a volume of 250-700 ft3 /person length of confinement is adequate. As a comparison, for
recent space missions the cabin volume per person was as follows; 1) Mercury = 55 ft3, 2)
Gemini = 44 ft3, and 3) Apollo = 107 ft3 [28].
32
6.2.1 Crowding
Density refers to the number of people who occupy a given space, while crowding is the
subjective perception of density. Given size restrictions in submarines, and the lack of personal
space, crowding will occur because people will be confined to limited, small areas of the
submarine. Stokels [103] suggested that crowding occurs when the demand for space in a
specific situation exceeds the available supply. Moreover, people may feel more crowded when
they have a reduced ability to shield themselves from unwanted social interactions. So, high
density by itself does not necessarily lead to negative effects. However, high density has been
found to induce cognitive workload [38], impose behavioral constraints [94], evoke feelings of
uncontrollability over one’s environment [87], and frustrate the goal of privacy [1].
Crowding results in both psychological and physical symptoms. Naturalistic crowding research
with human populations focuses on three areas, 1) archival prison studies, 2) dormitory studies,
and 3) city density studies. In prisons, as the population increases crowding has been associated
with more disciplinary problems, suicides, and overall death rates [83]. In dormitories, crowding
was correlated with increases in social withdrawal and learned helplessness [6]. Finally, within
cities a correlation is found between density of census tracts and indices of pathology (e.g.,
crime, mental hospital admissions). More specifically, when the number of people per room in
apartments increases, the result is poorer mental health, physical health, and poorer relationships
in the home [84]. Moreover, high-density housing results in similar, negative psychological
distress consequences across four different ethnic groups and independent of household income
[39].
A separate, but related issue is that of personal space. The lack of personal space in the
submarine has been identified as a cause of stress [35]. Personal space is defined as the area
around a person’s body in which the presence of others evokes affective reactions [4]. Based on
Hall’s work [47] on interaction zones, intimate distance is reserved for those with whom the
person is intimately involved. The range of this zone is 0 to 18 inches. The next zone, the
personal distance used in interactions with friends and acquaintances, is 18 to 48 inches. Based
on this work, the normal operating space of the submarine is in the intimate distance zone. If
another crewmember feels that his personal space is violated, the research indicates that there
may be decreased helping behavior, escape behavior, and negative evaluations of the invader.
6.2.2 Depression
Several investigators have documented a significant increase in the incidence of depression with
the magnitude of crowding. Lepore et al. [61] note a social hassle-crowding interaction, induced
predominantly by crowding, precipitating psychological symptoms. Furthermore, they note that
crowding exists as a chronic environmental stressor potentiating the impact of acute social
stressors, highlighting the importance of examining contextual factors in the stress and health
process. Evans et al. [39] suggest that people often cope with crowded living conditions by
socially withdrawing from their housemates. Furthermore, they identify significant cultural
perceptual differences in tolerance to crowding. Asian Americans and Latin Americans differ in
33
the way they perceive crowding in comparison to their fellow Anglo-American and African
American citizens; however, all four ethnic groups suffer similar, negative psychological distress
consequences of high-density housing. More sobering are the findings of Morgan et al. [70]
noting that living in overcrowded conditions was an independent risk factor for “deliberate self
harm” in a survey of suicidal attempts treated in an Emergency Room. In section 6.5, this
observation is explored further with submarine crewmembers.
Schwab et al. [95] found that people that resided in crowded conditions scored significantly
higher on a depression scale. They proposed that in crowded situations, depression may be a
semi-adaptive reaction to excessive interpersonal stimulation. It has also been proposed that the
chronic stress of crowding may increase the impact of acute social stressors [61], and social
interactions may be compromised by crowding as well [39]. In sum, crowding, as a chronic
source of stress, constitutes a major threat to psychological well being.
Is there a threshold for development of psychological stress with increasing occupational
density? The answer may be rather simple and intuitive, prompting the institution of preventive
measures. Worchel et al. [119] predicted that violations of personal space rather than simple
density is the spatial variable associated with crowding. The self-control and social support
interaction may moderate the crowding effects of density. Thus, one way to achieve
psychological well being may be to construct the architectural design of a predefined area to
support the sanctity of one’s personal space, and conduct evolutions fostering a sense of self-
control.
6.3 SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES
6.3.1 Interpersonal conflict
Submarines provide insufficient levels of the interrelated factors of privacy and personal space
[22], which also infringe on confidentiality [110]. Reports from many capsule environments
attest to the need to have a place where inhabitants can be alone [107]. Sleeping areas are an
obvious example. The importance of this area has been quantified by Altman and Haythorn [2],
where they found the speed of choosing a particular bed as one’s own was the fastest decision on
a number of interpersonal issues examined. The common practice of “hot-racking” on
submarines violates this issue.
Social and sensory monotony has been determined to be a major social stressor [110]. Smith
[102] examined a group of individuals forced to live together in a capsule environment for two
weeks and found the foremost psychological problems were inadequate leadership and the
behavior of others. Disruptive effects on the group have also been found in Antarctica [102],
space [13], and submarines [89]. Social irritability was also observed among submariners by
Rohrer [88]. The capsule environment appears to amplify conflict that might otherwise be
overlooked.
In even the best coordinated and well-controlled projects, conflict can occur within the group.
Conflict may arise due to the mix of individual characteristics in the group [2]. Issues of
interpersonal compatibility have been examined; some national space programs emphasize
34
selecting of groups instead of individuals for long-term flights and that cooperative group
training is of utmost importance [56].
6.3.2 Communications
An environment like a submarine has major effects on interpersonal exchanges. Altman and
Haythorn [2] showed that confinement increases the intimacy and depth of self-disclosure.
Shipmates who disclose very private matters about themselves may later regret this disclosure
and resent the receivers of the information. Rumors, true or not, circulate rapidly and frequently
lead to negative feelings.
Isolation in a capsule environment has a direct impact on both official and personal
communications with the outside. The increased ease and availability of communications via
email has both positive and negative aspects. In emergencies, experts back at “home base” may
be able to provide life-saving information and advice. And keeping in touch with friends and
family is generally a source of pleasure and relief. In general, when a group of individuals are
selected to be high in self-confidence and control, it is a bad idea to infringe on autonomy and
privacy, e.g., [113]. Personal relationships may come under stress because of bad news, or no
news, from home. The individual, though surrounded by friends, may experience depression,
anger, and frustration when he is powerless to help out when something is happening to the
family [110].
6.3.3 Cognitive impairments
Several researchers have demonstrated that isolation and confinement impair intellectual
functioning. Decreases in alertness, concentration, and memory have been reported among polar
expeditioners [76,106]. While similar studies have not been conducted with submarine crews,
comparable effects could potentially occur.
6.4 EFFECT OF DURATION
One of the most critical characteristics in a group isolation environment is how long they will
occupy the area. This factor interacts with all the psychological and social variables mentioned
above. Partly because some of the stressors are not dramatic and their impact is cumulative and
insidious, the crew may not become aware of them until the effects are distressing. For this
reason, it is critical to monitor symptoms of accumulating stress and have plans to counter them
[110].
Motivation and morale may show a decline during group confinement [49]. For example, as an
underway period reaches its halfway point, submariners become increasingly aware of possible
health problems [115]. Earls [35] demonstrated that the first few days of high motivation of
submariners decreased over time during an underway. Interestingly, in spite of any total duration
of encapsulation, important changes in crew morale and performance consistently occur shortly
past the halfway point, sometimes referred to as the “third-quarter phenomenon” [29,48]. As an
example, in a 30-day submarine mission, morale reached its lowest point about day 15, and in an
8 week mission, morale reached its lowest point during the 4th and 5th week [45]. A longer
35
deployment has the potential to produce a longer period where performance and morale is
diminished in crewmembers. Additionally, prolonged isolation and confinement, as a result of
longer deployments, may magnify the effects of attitudinal dissimilarities, need incompatibilities,
annoying habits, irritating mannerisms, and other sources of interpersonal friction [49].
Interpersonal tension among submarine crewmembers may arise due to inequity of living space,
based on the assessment of the USS VIRGINIA CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area in Section
4. This perception of inequality would also likely influence crew morale. Junior enlisted
crewmembers expect to have less living space than Chief Petty Officers and Officers, but the
discrepancy within crewmembers E-6 and below could potentially cause friction. This inequity
of space is one of the major concerns in a report on the inclusion of women in submarines [96],
and allocation of crew space has been an important factor in space missions [43].
All of these psychological and social factors could potentially decrease crew morale, which
indirectly influences retention. The Navy has acknowledged these unique attributes of
submarine life, and has established a formal psychological screening program for all potential
submariners called SUBSCREEN. The next section reviews this process, and presents evidence
of how these psychological and social factors are revealed in the mental well being of
submariners.
6.5 PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH SUBMARINE SERVICE
Successful adaptation to the unique submarine environment requires the presence (e.g.,
motivation) and absence (e.g., claustrophobia) of certain psychological traits. Furthermore, as
psychiatric care is not available onboard submarines, it is important for the mental health of the
submarine crew to be of a very high level if it is to maintain adequate performance levels under
these unique working conditions [93]; cf., [115].
Although a successful psychological screening program has been in place in the submarine
training pipeline since World War II, many psychological problems cannot be prevented because
they develop after the training phase, and under the working conditions that are present in the
fleet. Psychological problems that occur within the fleet are often documented in one of three
ways listed below:
(1) Psychological problems that begin to interfere with the submariner’s performance often lead
to the involvement of the undersea medical community, and an evaluation of the submariner by
an undersea medical officer (UMO). At this point, a waiver for the documented problem may be
obtained for the submariner to continue serving in the Submarine Force if the problem is not too
severe. However, if the problem persists or is of a severe nature to begin with, then the
disqualification process may begin in order to separate the submariner from the Submarine
Force, and perhaps from the Navy as well.
(2) When psychological problems have a severe and sudden onset, they can often lead to
expeditious administrative separations which bypass the waiver and disqualification processes.
Under these conditions the submariner is separated from the Navy rather rapidly, and the
separation is not recorded in waiver and disqualification databases.
(3) Sometimes, but not often, a psychological problem can lead to a medical evacuation
(MEDEVAC). These psychologically-based MEDEVACs can interrupt submarine operations,
36
and can, as a consequence, prevent mission accomplishment. Psychologically-based
MEDEVACs are nearly always associated with depression, suicidal ideation, and suicidal
gesture, if not suicidal attempt. A disqualification or expeditious separation is typically pursued
for the submariner following the psychologically-based MEDEVAC.
There are a number of psychological problems that can lead to waivers, disqualifications,
expeditious separations, and MEDEVACs. Major depression, manic depression, adjustment
disorders, personality disorders, and suicidal ideation, gesture, and attempt are all potential
psychological problems that can effect the performance of a submarine crew. If the working
environment of one submarine is more stressful than the working environment of another, then
one might expect the frequency and the severity of psychological problems experienced by the
respective crews to vary between the submarines. Likewise, if the working environment of a
Class of submarines is typically more stressful than the working environment of another Class,
then the psychological problems caused by the workplace stressors should also vary in frequency
and severity accordingly between the Classes. Recently, several trends have been identified in
terms of increasing psychological problems both across time and between two Classes of
submarines, the OHIO Class submarines (SSBN) and the LOS ANGELES Class Fast Attack
submarines (SSN). These trends, and their implications for the psychological problems which
crews may encounter when working on the new VIRGINIA Class submarines, are discussed
below.
6.5.1 Operational tempo and work environment
The working environment of a submarine, and its various aspects that contribute to increased
work stress and psychological problems, can be conceptualized in two basic ways. First, the
working environment can be conceptualized in terms of the physical environmental factors
known to contribute to stress at work, such as crowding, noise, ambient conditions such as
insufficient or excessive lighting, excessively cold or hot temperatures, and poor air quality, as
well as a lack of control over the environment [51]. With respect to a lack of control over the
environment, the inability to regulate social conditions and to obtain privacy when desired can be
especially stressful [7]. Second, the operational tempo (OPTEMPO) of a submarine is also a
component of its working environment to the extent that it dictates how often a submariner is
deployed. As the frequency, unpredictability, and length of deployments increase there is a
corresponding potential for an increase in work stress and associated psychological problems.
Various researchers have noted that employees “become increasingly incapable of taking on
difficult tasks when they are not given the chance to return to a psychologically and
physiologically resting state periodically” [42,51, p. 459]. Clearly, as OPTEMPO increases,
opportunities for obtaining psychological and physiological rest decrease, resulting in potential
increases in work stress, performance problems, and psychological problems.
SSBNs and SSNs differ in terms of both of these aspects of the working environment. SSNs
have less space, are more crowded, and provide less opportunity for privacy in comparison to
SSBNs. Additionally, SSNs have an unpredictable deployment schedule in comparison to the
regular deployment schedules of SSBNs. As a consequence, it is logical to assume that the
majority of the psychological problems in the fleet should be experienced in the SSN force in
comparison to the SSBN force. However, prior to presenting evidence related to comparisons
37
between SSNs and SSBNs in terms of psychological problems, recent events provide
straightforward data illustrating that increases in operational tempo lead to increases in
psychological problems. These data on operational tempo and psychological problems will be
presented first.
An article dated June 19, 2002 which appeared in Jane’s Defence Weekly quoted ADM Frank
Bowman, Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, as saying, “As one direct result of 11 September,
the combatant commanders’ demands for our attack submarines went 30% higher…our 54 (SSN)
submarines simply cannot meet the requirement.” [60] ADM Bowman further stated that “short-
term band-aid efforts” were implemented to deal with the demand, and included increasing
transit speeds by 25%, reducing turn-around times, and increasing deployed operational tempo
“to a ridiculous 85%…This tempo is running our boats and possibly our people out of gas…”
To answer the question of whether increased OPTEMPO magnifies psychological problems, a
simple comparison can be made between the number of psychologically-based waivers and
disqualifications that occurred in 2001 to the number that occurred in 2002. Data from the
Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SUBPAC) were available, but, unfortunately, data from the
Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (SUBLANT) were not available. In 2001 there were 55
psychologically-based waivers and disqualifications in SUBPAC, which subsequently increased
to 96 in 2002.
Thus, according to waiver and disqualification documentation of psychological problems, there
was a large, 75% increase in psychological problems in SUBPAC from 2001 to 2002, and this
increase corresponds to the increase in OPTEMPO. These results certainly defend ADM
Bowman’s view that significant increases in OPTEMPO can run a crew “out of gas.” RADM
John Padgett, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, also concurred with this
viewpoint when he stated that deployment rates above the goal of 60% have negative effects on
the health of the boats and their crews [60]. However, Koch’s article was focused on the
increase in OPTMEPO that occurred in the SSN force from 2001 to 2002, and during the same
time period the OPTEMPO of the SSBN force was not altered substantially. Thus, the above
data were broken down by Class of submarine (i.e., SSN versus SSBN), after eliminating
incomplete cases in which the duty at time of waiver or disqualification was not recorded, as
well as cases in which the duty at the time of waiver or disqualification was shore duty. The data
broken down by SSN and SSBN service at time of waiver and/or disqualification are presented
in Figure 5.
38
31
4
60
13
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
Total Number
SSN SSBN SSN SSBN
2001 2001 2002 2002
Psychologically-Based Waivers & Disqualifications
for SSNs and SSBNs
Figure 5. Psychologically-Based Waivers & Disqualifications for SUBPAC by Platform
It appears from Figure 5 that both forces were affected by the increase in OPTEMPO.
Specifically, the descriptive statistics in Figure 5 illustrate that psychological problems as
measured by waivers and disqualifications nearly doubled for the SSN force, and basically
tripled for the SSBN force. However, caution should be used in interpreting these results for the
SSBN force because the number of SSBN submariners increased from 2001 to 2002 in the
Pacific fleet. In contrast, these increases in psychological problems over time from 2001 to 2002
in the SSN force can be attributed to the corresponding increase in OPTMEPO that occurred
from 2001 to 2002 because the number of SSN submariners did not increase.
Figure 5 also provides evidence supporting the assertion that the majority of the psychological
problems in the fleet are present in the SSN force as opposed to the SSBN force. As stated
earlier, SSNs and SSBNs differ in terms of two critical aspects of the working environment –
personal space and OPTEMPO. For example, SSBNs displace approximately 18,750 tons when
submerged, and contain a crew mess, crew library, crew activity room, a wardroom and an
officer study. Alternatively, SSNs displace approximately 6,900 tons when submerged, and
contain only two of the above four spaces found in SSBNs, the crew mess and the wardroom.
Furthermore, SSBNs deploy with a nominal crew size of 155 (15 Officers, 140 Enlisted),
whereas SSNs deploy with a nominal crew size of 134 (13 Officers, 121 Enlisted). Thus, the
SSBNs are 2.70 times as large as the SSNs, but are put to sea with only 1.15 times the number of
crew [32]. Although these comparisons do not take into account differences in space devoted to
missile tubes between the platforms, as well as other structural differences, they do serve to
make the point that SSNs are more crowded than SSBNs, and this crowding can lead to
increased work stress and subsequent psychological problems [51]. However, SSNs also have
unpredictable deployment schedules in comparison to SSBNs, which can also lead to increased
work stress and subsequent psychological problems [51]. Specifically, SSBN submariners have a
39
routine cyclical schedule of approximately 6 months, in which they are deployed for 3 months
and then “off-crew” and in port for 3 months. This regularity allows the SSBN submariner to
predict his schedule and to plan accordingly. When “off-crew” the SSBN submariners also have
a reprieve from the maintenance of the submarine to which they are assigned, and thus the
opportunity to relax or to pursue other responsibilities (e.g., family obligations, personal
education, etc.). These regular “off-crew,” in port periods allow the SSBN submariners to
recover. As noted above, the opportunity to return to a “resting state periodically” is important
for the safeguarding of the ability to take on difficult tasks ([51] p. 459). In contrast, the SSN
submariner is often deployed unpredictably, and thus has an irregular schedule. Additionally,
SSN submariners do not have “off-crew” periods, and thus do not have a reprieve from the
responsibility of maintaining the submarine to which they are assigned. This leaves SSN
submariners with fewer opportunities to recuperate.
In tandem, these two aspects of the working environments of SSNs, the physical work
environment and the OPTEMPO, should lead to more psychological problems in the SSN force
in comparison to the SSBN force. The data presented earlier in Figure 5 confirm this expectation.
Additional confirmation for this finding comes from the first three months of waiver and
disqualification data that are available for calendar year 2003 from SUBPAC, where 23 SSN
crewmembers had psychologically-baised waivers or disqualifications versus 6 SSBN
crewmembers. The pattern of results from the early 2003 data supports the conclusion that there
are more psychological problems in SSNs than SSBNs. This pattern is likely the result of
crowding, lack of personal space, and unpredictable deployment work schedules in SSNs.
This difference cannot be accounted for by differences in the number of SSN and SSBN
submariners. If there were more SSN submariners than SSBN submariners in SUBPAC then
there is a greater opportunity for psychological problems to occur in SSNs due to the sheer
number of SSN submariners, rather than due to increased work stress in the SSN service.
Therefore, it is advantageous to control for the number of SSN and SSBN submariners in these
assessments, which subsequently allows for comparisons between SSNs and SSBNs in terms of
the probability of psychological problems occurring in each Class of submarine, as measured by
waivers and disqualifications.
As mentioned above, SSNs deploy with a nominal crew size of 134, whereas SSBNs deploy with
a nominal crew size of 155. Therefore, an estimation of the number of SSN and SSBN
submariners can be made when taking into account the number of SSN and SSBN submarines
operating in SUBPAC and the fact that SSBN submarines have two rotating crews, a Blue and a
Gold crew.
In SUBPAC there were approximately 3484 SSN submariners in 2001 and in 2002, whereas
there were approximately 2480 SSBN submariners in 2001, and this number increased to 3100 in
2002. Thus, in order to control for the number of submariners in each Class of submarine, the
data in Figure 5 were graphed again after having divided the number of waivers and
disqualifications in each Class and year by the corresponding number of submariners. These data
are presented in Figure 6.
40
0.0089
0.0016
0.0172
0.0042
0.0000
0.0050
0.0100
0.0150
0.0200
0.0250
0.0300
Probability
SSN SSBN SSN SSBN
2001 2001 2002 2002
Probability of Psychologically-Based Waivers &
Disqualifications for SSNs and SSBNs
Figure 6. Probability of Psychologically-Based Waivers & Disqualifications for SUBPAC
Figure 6 illustrates that controlling for the number of submariners in each year and Class of
submarine in SUBPAC did not alter the general conclusion that the working environment and
OPTEMPO of the SSN submarine is more likely to cause psychological dysfunction than the
working environment of the SSBN submarine. Analysis of the data from January to March 2003
resulted in similar findings. Controlling for the estimated number of submariners in each Class
did not alter the general conclusion that SSN working environments are more stressful and lead
to more subsequent psychological problems when compared to SSBN working environments.
The total numbers reported probably underestimate the number of psychological problems
occurring in the submarine force and their associated probabilities for two primary reasons. First,
these data do not take into account the psychologically-based waivers and disqualifications in the
Atlantic Fleet of the Submarine Force (SUBLANT). Second, these data do not contain all of the
psychological problems that lead to separation from the fleet. Recall that expeditious
administrative separations often have a psychological basis (e.g., personality disorder), but they
bypass the waiver and disqualification process and are thus not recorded in those databases.
Unfortunately, expeditious separation data as well as SUBLANT waiver and disqualification
data were not available for this report. For further discussion on the statistical analyses
associated with these conclusions, refer to Appendix C.
6.5.2 Clinical anxiety and depression
A separate database from SUBLANT is available for an independent confirmation of the above
finding that psychological problems are more prevalent in SSN service than in the SSBN service.
The confirmation comes from a database of SSN and SSBN submariners in SUBLANT who
completed the third version of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI-III) on an
anonymous basis. The MCMI-III is a 175-item, true-false, self-report psychological inventory
that contains reliable and valid measures of anxiety and depression, as well as other
41
psychopathologies [20]. The MCMI-III was validated and normed through various
administrations of the inventory to clinical and nonclinical samples to develop reliable cut-points
on each scale which categorize test takers into one of three ranges on each measure of
psychopathology: average, elevated, and clinical. Scores that fall within the average range are
not indicative of psychopathology and represent a normal level of, for instance, anxiety, which
should not interfere with normal, everyday functioning. Scores that fall within the elevated range
are indicative of an exacerbated level of, for example, anxiety, which could interfere with
everyday functioning and may become more severe. Scores that fall within the clinical range are
indicative of a psychopathology which most likely interferes with normal, everyday functioning
and work performance.
If serving in SSNs truly leads to more psychological problems because of the stressors in the
SSN working environment in comparison to the SSBN working environment, then higher levels
of negative psychological states, such as anxiety and depression, should seen in the SSN force in
comparison to the SSBN force. One thousand four hundred and forty-one submariners
completed the MCMI-III (716 SSN submariners, 725 SSBN submariners), and the comparison
between SSN and SSBN submariners on the measures of anxiety and depression can be seen in
Figures 7 and 8, respectively.
65.9
72.8
22.9
17.4
11.2 9.8
0
20
40
60
80
100
%
of Sample
Average Elevated Clinical Level
SSN
SSBN
Level of Anxiety
Figure 7. Levels of Anxiety on SSNs and SSBNs
42
81 86.6
15.9 11.7
3.1 1.7
0
20
40
60
80
100
%
of Sample
Average Elevated Clinical Level
SSN
SSBN
Level of Depression
Figure 8. Levels of Depression on SSNs and SSBNs
Figure 7 illustrates the fact that a larger percent of the SSN sample is in elevated and clinical
ranges with respect to anxiety when compared to the percent of the SSBN sample. Figure 8
illustrates that this same pattern is found with respect to depression, also measured by the
MCMI-III. Thus, according to these results, SSN crews are more likely to experience elevated
levels of anxiety and depression when compared to SSBN crews, which helps to explain the
increased number of psychologically-based waivers and disqualifications in the SUBPAC SSN
force in comparison to the SSBN force. A statistical analysis may be found in Appendix C.
The consistent and reliable differences found here between SSNs and SSBNs demonstrate rather
clearly that the characteristics of SSN working environments are more likely to lead to
psychological difficulties among crewmembers than are the characteristics of SSBN working
environments. Additionally, the trends viewed here with respect to the frequency of
psychological problems occurring across both time and submarine Class demonstrate that
submarine working environments and their crews are subject to the same general principles of
workplace stress that are found to operate in other environments: longer hours, unpredictable
schedules, overcrowding workspaces, and reduced privacy can all increase workplace stress and
cause subsequent psychological problems. The implications of this finding for the psychological
problems which crews may encounter when working on the new VIRGINIA Class submarine are
discussed below.
6.5.3 Possible psychological outcomes on the USS VIRGINIA
As the VIRGINIA Class submarines are a new class of SSN, one can expect the psychological
outcomes of their working environment to more closely resemble the outcomes in the current
43
SSN force rather than in the current SSBN force. Data on the possible future deployment
schedules of VIRGINIA Class SSNs are available, as are measures of their interior space,
allowing for preliminary comparisons between the VIRGINIA Class and the current SSNs, the
LOS ANGELES Class submarines.
As discussed in Section 4, the VIRGINIA Class appears to have more cramped spaces in
comparison to the LOS ANGELES Class, and the LOS ANGELES Class is by no means
spacious. Making small spaces on SSNs even smaller will increase crowding and work stress,
and may subsequently increase interpersonal conflicts. Increases in these workplace stressors
will most likely lead to increases in psychological problems and difficulties among the crew, as
has been shown to be the case in the above comparisons between SSNs and SSBNs.
Habitable space is not the only issue to consider. The nature of the OPTEMPO will also
influence workplace stress and the resulting psychological problems. For example, if the
VIRGINIA Class, as part of the SEAPOWER 21 Seabasing Program, is to be forward deployed
much longer than the LOS ANGELES Class, then the extended deployment may cause
additional workplace stress. Also, if the length of deployment becomes an unpredictable aspect
of the VIRGINIA CLASS, that unpredictability may also increase workplace stress, and
subsequent psychological problems. Thus, many variables must be considered if one attempts to
project the frequency of psychological problems in LOS ANGELES Class crews onto future
VIRGINIA Class crews.
Overall, if the deployments of VIRGINIA Class submarines are to be more extended in
comparison to the LOS ANGELES Class, unpredictable either in terms of length or initiation,
and if VIRGINIA Class submarines have less habitable space than LOS ANGELES Class
submarines, then psychological problems could potentially be more prevalent among VIRGINIA
crews in comparison to LOS ANGELES crews. These psychological problems, if severe, can
lead to outcomes described earlier, such as disqualifications from submarine service, permanent
separations from the Navy (i.e., attrition), and even psychologically-based MEDEVACs that can
disrupt mission accomplishment, lower crew morale, and ultimately influence retention.
In sum, there are several psychological and social outcomes that could result from living in
small, confined spaces such as a submarine with a high OPTEMPO; moreover, these effects may
be heightened on the USS VIRGINIA. This section also presented the relevant literature on the
psychosocial consequences of living in a confined environment, with special emphasis on the
submarine environment and the VIRGINIA Class submarine. Next, further detail on the effects
of stress on the physical health of crewmembers is provided.
7.0 MEDICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES
There are several medical and physiological issues that correlate with confined spaces such as
those found on submarines.
44
7.1 STRESS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Personal physical space has an important effect on both physical and psychological health. The
increasing spread of communicable diseases as people live in more crowded conditions has been
well documented for many years. As one example, the risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB) is
significantly higher in crowded conditions [52]. Until the development of drug therapy for TB,
submariners were at such risk of tuberculosis that, during World War II, diagnostic chest x-rays
were regularly obtained [92].
Investigators have shown that psychological stress due to crowding and confinement is
associated with a depression of immunity [21,23,25,37,67,72]. However, what threshold of
crowding causes a precipitous decrease in immunocompetence that would render a submariner
vulnerable to clinically significant infection is unknown. This effect has not been examined in
submariners, although one recent study showed that over one third of the crew had upper
respiratory symptoms throughout a 100-day period while underway [54]. This is consistent with
other studies that have shown an increased incidence of upper respiratory illness with crowding
[52] and chronic psychological stress [39,61].
Given the trend of increasing physical and psychological pathology with increasing crowding,
the tighter confinement in the USS VIRGINIA might be expected to exacerbate medical and
psychological problems onboard with resulting impact on mission readiness and performance.
7.2 THE INFLUENCE OF SHIFT WORK ON THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
As previously stated, the submarine watch schedule of on-for-6 off-for-12 is analogous to
industry shift work. Shift work can have a negative impact on the health and well being of
workers. Problems related to shift work fall into three main areas: 1) biological disruption of
physiological processes, including the sleep-wake cycle, 2) the impairment of physical health
and psychological well being, and 3) the disruption of social and domestic life. Studies have
shown that shift workers have an increased risk of cardio-vascular diseases, gastro-intestinal
diseases, and diminished well being [67]. Additionally, studies have demonstrated an increase in
the number of upper respiratory infections (URI) and gastrointestinal tract infections with shift
work [67].
Both stress and shift work adversely influence the immune system. They have a significant role
on the immune system with the following effects: 1) increases the relative ratio of T helper 2
cells and depresses T helper 1 cells which essentially depresses the cell mediated response and
increases the humoral mediated response, and 2) predisposes individuals to infections
(particularly URI) as well as other functional disorders such as irritable bowel disease.
Additionally, shift work, changes in typical circadian rhythms, and sleep deprivation all may
serve to depress the immune system and predispose to infection. When stress and shift work are
combined, as is the case in submarines, the influence may even be greater. This is especially
germane because confinement may be an independent parameter influencing depressing the
immune system.
45
7.3 BUNK AND BERTHING VENTILATION
As with any enclosed atmosphere designed for human use the greatest risk to maintaining a safe
breathing atmosphere is the accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) to physiologically dangerous
levels. If CO2 is not continuously removed from the atmosphere, it will overcome occupants of
enclosed spaces well before the local oxygen (O2) supply is depleted. Ventilation systems for
enclosed living spaces are therefore designed to ensure that inspired oxygen and CO2 levels
remain at acceptable physiological levels. Current guidance for the maintenance of acceptable
levels of CO2 and O2 aboard U.S. Navy submarines is given in the Technical Manual for Nuclear
Powered Submarine Atmosphere Control Revision 2 [78]. This manual sets the 90-day limit for
CO2 at 0.5% (3.8 Torr). The 24-hour and 1-hour limit for CO2 is 4% (30 Torr) as measured by
the Central Atmosphere Monitoring System (CAMS). More recently the Closed Living Space
Environmental Concerns Working Group (CLSPECWG) proposed changing the 1 hour and 24
hour limits for CO2 to 3% (22.8 Torr) and 1.5% (11.4 Torr), respectively (Minutes of the
CLSPECWG, 18th August 1999). These new limits will likely be in the fleet by the time the
VIRGINIA Class submarine enters service.
The above CO2 limits are guidance levels and do not indicate a demarcation of safe or harmful
levels. For example, early experiments conducted by Schaefer [90] found that chronic exposure
to low levels of CO2 (1.5%) in submarines for over 40 days had little effect on immediate
memory, problem solving abilities, manual dexterity, strength, visual accommodation, visual
acuity, depth perception and pitch discrimination. There were however, moderate increases in
anxiety, apathy, uncooperativeness, a desire to leave and sexual desire [90]. Thus while chronic
exposure to low levels of CO2 are tolerated well physiologically there may be subtle effects on
behavior that could impact job performance or workplace personal interactions.
At CO2 levels above the 1 hour and 24-hour limit, the effects on performance become more of a
concern. According to the submarine Guard Book, in the case of a DISSUB scenario escape from
the submarine should be accomplished before CO2 levels reaches 6% SEV (surface equivalent
volume) [78]. Although acute exposures to 6% CO2 SEV will likely not result in immediate
unconsciousness, significant impairment of mental function and slowing of physical activities
will occur [116], [78]. In addition, the increased minute ventilation and dyspnea (shortness of
breath) that results from breathing this level of CO2 may induce significant anxiety in some
individuals [41].
The acute and chronic physiological effects of breathing raised levels of CO2 are well known and
described in more detail in the scientific literature. Rather than review this extensive body of
literature on the psychological and physiological effects of CO2 here, the reader is referred to the
excellent review by Wong [116] as well as Table 4-3 in the Technical Manual for Nuclear
Powered Submarine Atmosphere Control Revision 2 [78]. The main objective of this section is
to determine if the ventilation to the bunk and berthing areas on the VIRGINIA Class submarine
is sufficient to keep CO2 in this space within the submarine atmosphere limits mentioned above.
The HAB MOD Crew Life (24) and Crew Life (23) berthing areas were chosen for analysis due
to the confined space in which a relatively large number of crew is located. Furthermore,
submariners typically spend between 6.5 and 7.5 hours in their bunk during a 24-hour period
46
[101]. A photograph showing the layout of two bunks within a section of this berthing area is
shown in Figure 9. Note that in Figure 9 the bunks are not yet fitted out with mattresses or
curtains. Fans at the foot end of the bunk adjacent to the footlocker provide ventilation to the
individual bunks. These fans direct air from the passageway between adjacent bunks to the head
end of the bunk. Design specifications call for ventilation to the berthing area of 30 ft3/min/man
with the bunk fans directing a volume flow of 15 ft3/min to each bunk. With six bunks per
berthing area the volume flow to a six man berthing area will be 180 ft3/min.
Figure 9. A photograph of two bunks in the USS VIRGINIA Class HAB MOD berthing.
Note the bunk fans adjacent to the footlocker at the foot end of the bunk.
In this berthing area, based on the CAD drawings, bunk length appears to be 73 to 76 inches,
width 24 to 28 inches, and height (from bed pan to bottom of the bunk above) ranging from 22.1
to 23.5 inches (mean = 22.7 inches) (see Table 4). Effective bunk height with the 4 inch mattress
(i.e. top of mattress to bottom of the bunk above) indicates that the average bunk height will
likely be between 18.1 and 19.5 inches.
While the width and length of the VIRGINIA Class bunks are comparable to those on the LOS
ANGELES Class submarine (i.e., 26 x 75 inches), the height for many bunks is smaller than on
the VIRGINIA Class submarine than on a LOS ANGELES Class submarine. If the volume of the
footlocker is ignored the floodable volume for an unoccupied bunk is approximately 20.88 ft3.
When the bunk is occupied, the floodable volume will be decreased by an amount that is
dependent on the volume of the individual occupying the bunk. Determination of human body
volume for a submariner of average size can be calculated from height and weight using the
graphical methods outlined in Sendroy and Collison [97]. Using this graphical method, the
calculated body volume for a submariner of average height (179 cm) and weight (85 kg) is 80
liters (2.83 ft3). Subtracting this value from the unoccupied bunk floodable volume gives an
occupied floodable volume of 18.05 ft3. According to CAD drawings, the floodable volume in
47
the passageway between bunks is approximately 65.3 ft3 giving the total floodable volume for a
fully occupied six man berthing area as approximately 174 ft3.
Next, the worst case scenario is considered in which there is no ventilation to an occupied bunk
and there is no scrubbing of CO2. In this example, it is assumed that diffusion and convection of
the gasses between the bunk space and the berthing area are negligible. While this scenario is
unrealistic for a submarine under normal operations, it provides useful information for estimating
the time it would take for CO2 to reach various critical levels when all ventilation and CO2
scrubbing capabilities are turned off or not operational. This may occur in a DISSUB scenario or
for short periods during engineering or fire fighting drills when the ventilation system is
temporarily shut down. The ventilation system may also be temporarily switched off when
rigging for silent running to minimize radiated noise.
Without removal equipment CO2 concentration will increase according to the following formula:
Percentage of CO2 = initial CO2 concentration in the space + [(rate of CO2 production
(t)/(V/N))*100]
Where t = Time in hours
V/N = floodable volume per man.
Using the following assumptions:
Initial percentage of CO2 in the submarine = 0.46%6
Rate of CO2 production at rest in the bunk per man = 0.5 SCF per hour
V/N = 18 SCF when an average sized submariner occupies the bunk space.
In a single berthing area, there are six bunks and all are occupied.
The approximate times to reach the various CO2 limits within the bunk and in the berthing area
are given in Table 7. Note that in Table 7 values for the time to reach CO2 limits in the bunk
assume minimal movement of air and diffusion of CO2 between the bunk space and berthing
area. The times given to reach the CO2 limits in the berthing area assume there is ready mixing
of air between the bunk spaces and the passageway of the berthing area between bunks, but no
mixing of air between the berthing area and the external passage way. The floodable volume
used in the calculations for the six man berthing area was 174 ft3.
The data shown in Table 7 indicate that when ventilation to the berthing area is turned off and
there is no CO2 scrubbing, the CO2 limits in both the bunk and berthing area will rise quickly. It
is estimated that under the above conditions the CO2 levels within a six man berthing area will
exceed 6.0% SEV within three and a half hours.
6 This value is based on the data reported by Sims, et al. [101] who found that the mean CO2 levels in the fan room
during a 33 day deployment aboard the USS Kamehameha (SSN 642) was 3.5 mmHg.
48
Table 7. Approximate times for CO2 levels to rise to various CO2 limits in the bunk and in
the berthing area of a VIRGINIA Class submarine when ventilation is turned off and there
is no CO2 scrubbing.
CO2 limits Current
90 day
limit
Proposed
24 hr limit
Proposed
1 hr limit
Current
24 and 1
hr limit
DISSUB
escape
limit
CO2 concentration (% SEV) 0.5 1.5 3.0 4.0 6.0
CO2 concentration (Torr) 3.58 11.4 22.8 30.0 45.6
Time to reach CO2 limit in a
single occupied bunk (min)
<1 22 55 76 120
Time to reach CO2 limit in
six man berthing area (min)
<2 36 88 123 193
With the ventilation system and scrubbers running and the fans to the bunks operating according
to specifications (see above) there will be more than enough ventilation to keep O2 and CO2
concentrations in the bunks and berthing area at boat levels. What is less difficult to predict is
whether there will be any significant build up of CO2 in the bunk space when it is occupied and
when the bunk fan is switched off and the bunk curtain is fully drawn. There will certainly be
diffusion and convection of gas from the bunk space to the berthing space through and around
the curtain. This movement of air will reduce the rate of build up of CO2 within the bunk to well
below that calculated above for the worst-case scenario. Due to the uncertainty of the
effectiveness of this natural ventilation, it is recommended that during USS VIRGINIA sea trials
measurements be made of the O2 and CO2 levels at the head end the bunk while it is occupied,
with the bunk curtains fully closed and the bunk fan turned off. This will determine if O2 or CO2
levels in the bunk space fall within submarine atmosphere limits and if not what the time course
is for the limits to be exceeded.
Increases in the incidence of headaches following sleep during deployments could also be a clue
as to potential problems with the bunk ventilation system in the VIRGINIA Class submarine.
Headache is a common symptom following exposures to elevated CO2 and usually occurs when
inspired CO2 levels exceed 3% [116].
If problems with CO2 build up occur only when the bunk fan is switched off, the simplest
ergonomic intervention would be to inform the crew not to switch off the fan while they are
occupying the bunk. Alternatively, if they prefer to not have the fan on while sleeping they
should leave the curtain to their bunk open. It is of note from Figure 9 that the toggle switch for
the bunk fan is located on the bottom housing of the fan. Due to particularly low clearance of
some of the bunks, this switch location may result in the fan being accidentally turned off by the
submariner when he attempts to roll over in the bunk during sleep.
49
7.4 OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES
Headaches are a common problem in various confinement settings [75]; [35] and upset stomachs,
constipation, and other digestive complaints also appear with considerable frequency [75]. In
general, sick calls increase over time in confinement, with the highest incidence occurring during
the third quarter of the term.
While each potential medical and physiological issue associated with confined spaces, such as
submarine life, may not significantly affect performance or morale, the confluence of all effects
may adversely affect operational readiness. Next, operational readiness areas that may be
impacted on the USS VIRGINIA are reviewed.
8.0 OPERATIONAL READINESS CONSEQUENCES
The operational readiness issues identified that may be adversely impacted by the living
conditions on the USS VIRGINIA include damage control, training, and special operations.
8.1 DAMAGE CONTROL
Ability to conduct damage control may be compromised based on the current dimensions of the
CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area. There are two issues: 1) the size of the entryway, and 2)
the width of the passageway in the berthing area. As stated in Section 3, there has been
approximately a 4% increase in weight in submariners from the mid 1970s to 2002. Under the
assumption that the weight increase translates directly to body widths and depths, a 4% increase
in chest depth and shoulder breadth from the Mooney, et al. [69] submariner data results in the
dimensions outlined in Table 8.
Table 8. 4% Adjustment to mid 1970s submariner anthropometric data
5%ile Mean 95%ile
Chest depth (inches)
8.6 10.1 11.7
Shoulder breadth (inches)
18.1 19.7 21.7
These dimensions, coupled with a self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), may cause
problems for fire fighting on the USS VIRGINIA. Crewmembers will wear a SCBA (Scott Air
Pack No. 804721) with dimensions of 20.1 x 5.48 inches. With a depth of 5.48 inches, when
worn, this would result in an overall depth (chest depth + SCBA) of 17.2 inches for the 95th
percentile submariner. This defines the minimum passage clearance, with no buffer, required for
fire fighting. It assumes that the hose can be managed while standing upright and turned
sideways in the passageway, doorway, or hatch. With the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing
entryway being only 18 inches, this could potentially be a safety issue. Fire fighting ability
might be compromised in this area because the average submariner will not be able to quickly
and efficiently enter the area with the SCBA.
50
The following observations are taken from a videotape provided by COMOPTEVFOR, and are
presented in an NSMRL report [99]. The video shows mock damage control drills being run in
the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area. Given the significance of the results, the analysis is
included here as well.
“Two different casualty drills were run in the berthing area – general quarters emergency
and toxic gas emergency. When 12 bunks were occupied, the crew evacuated berthing in 2 min
35 sec during the general quarters emergency. When 2/3 of the bunks were occupied with eight
men, 1 min 49 sec was needed. While there is no specification concerning the maximum amount
of time allotted for this drill (hence, no baseline to compare data), these times appear to be longer
than needed in current operational submarines.”
“During the toxic gas emergency, 12 crewmembers evacuated berthing in 4 min 55 sec
after donning Emergency Air Breathing System (EAB). When 2/3 of the bunks were occupied,
eight men evacuated the space in 3 min 23 sec. While submarine convention indicates that
crewmembers should have EAB’s on within two minutes of the alarm, the angle of the videotape
makes it difficult to determine if crewmembers had donned their EAB’s in the required time.
However, in the videotape of both types of drills, crewmembers waited for other people to leave
berthing because there was not enough space to pass by. Some crewmembers were unable to
leave their bunks until all the other crewmembers left the space. This performance is unsafe and
unsatisfactory.”
“In addition to the drills in the berthing area, the videotape presents a nozzleman
attempting to extinguish a simulated fire in the berthing area. Wearing a Scott Air Pack, which
is smaller than an Oxygen Breathing Apparatus (OBA), the nozzleman could not fit through the
hatch at the aft end of berthing. He could enter through the forward hatch, however. A smaller
crewmember was able to enter the berthing passageway via the aft hatch. This difference
highlights the effect of the tightness of the space in successfully conducting casualty drills.
Because the physical size of a damage control team members is not readily malleable, the
constrained dimensions of this berthing space will significantly compromise firefighting
capability.”
These mock damage control drills reveal the effect of the limited space in the entryway and
passageway of the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area – increased time to respond to the alarm.
Additionally, one crewmember wearing a Scott Air Pack was unable to enter the area through the
entryway. While these mock damage control drills were conducted with a 15 inch entryway into
the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area, similar problems may arise with the 18 inch entryway
as well given the body dimensions of submariners. This issue should be assessed during sea
trials.
8.2 TRAINING
Crew training onboard a submarine is typically done in the crew’s mess. This means that
training has to revolve around the eating times of crewmembers. The crew’s mess on the USS
VIRGINIA has already been identified as failing to meet the Shipboard Habitability Standard. If
this specification were complied with, the crew’s mess would be able to seat 36 crewmembers,
but it only seats 28 crewmembers. Because fewer crewmembers will be able to be seated during
training, training may take longer because the space will not be able to accommodate sufficient
51
numbers. Other special events such as Captain’s Call or award ceremonies could not be held for
“all hands,” and would have to be conducted in shifts.
8.3 SPECIAL OPERATIONS
The scientific analyses and observations presented in this report have thus far been applied to the
nominal crew size of the USS VIRGINIA. Any increase of people onboard the submarine will
exacerbate many of the issues identified. Specifically, the USS VIRGNIA was designed to carry
between 12-20 Special Operations Forces (SOF). Even though these extra people will have their
own sleeping area (“sleep pods”), no additional sanitary facilities will be provided. This influx
of extra people using the sanitary/hygiene facilities will only strengthen the medical concerns
raised in Section 7 and the psychological crowding conditions indicated in Section 6. Another
concern with the SOF is the availability of exercise equipment. SOF evolutions require peak
physical well being; if they are underway on a submarine with scarce exercise equipment, this
may impact their mission readiness [101]. Additionally, often the crew is supplemented by
mission specialist riders which will stress berthing, messing, and sanitation even more.
In this section three areas of operational readiness were identified that may be affected by the
design of the USS VIRGINIA. Damage control efforts may be hindered in the CCSM Crew Life
(24) berthing area, efficiency and speed of training may be hindered by the lack of seating in the
crew’s mess, and the addition of special operations forces will tax the sanitary facilities while
requiring extra exercise equipment.
9.0 CONTROL ROOM ISSUES
Two issues identified with the control room are reviewed next, including several of the crew
workstations, and the effect of placing sonar operators in the control room.
9.1 CREW WORKSTATIONS
The ergonomics of three of the crew workstation designs for the VIRGINIA Class submarine are
reviewed. The guidance for workstation design and anthropometric measures provided in the
Department of Defense Design Criteria Standard (MIL-STD-1472F) [30] are used as the basis
for the evaluation. The three workstations evaluated are; 1) the Enhanced Control Display
Workstation, 2) the Submarine Workstation, and 3) the ESM Workstation.
Dimensions for the first two workstations were taken from the installation control drawings
provided at https://www.q-70.navy.mil/Q-70/. The dimensions for the ESM workstation were
obtained directly from the workstations installed on the USS VIRGINIA.
The Enhanced Control Display Workstation largely satisfies the ergonomic requirements for a
seated workstation. The primary concern is the limited depth under the work surface. There is
12.2 inches from the front edge of the work surface to the cabinets below it. At least 17 inches
of clearance should be provided at the knee and 23.5 inches at the foot. No information was
available on the seating. The seating provided could impact or alleviate this concern depending
on its design and placement. There may not be enough room for some operator’s legs, or they
52
may have to use (and sustain) extended reaches to operate the keyboard, pointing devices, and
other controls. Another lesser concern is that the upper monitor may be somewhat high for
smaller people. However, if the upper monitor does not require constant monitoring or focus,
this should not generally be an issue.
The Submarine Workstation satisfies the applicable ergonomic requirements for a standing
workstation. The only concern could be the fact that 19 inches of clearance is needed in front of
the workstation for opening the cabinet. Depending on where the workstation is installed, there
may be access problems due to the narrowness of some of the USS VIRGINIA passageways.
The ESM Workstation has three significant problems. First, the height of the upper monitor is
excessive. The top of the monitor should be no higher than 62 inches. Currently the midpoint of
the monitor is at 64.5 inches. This requires that the head be tilted upward anywhere from 40-60
degrees (depending on the size of the operator) to view the monitor. This posture is difficult to
maintain for very long. The placement of the upper monitor may be acceptable if it does not
need to be viewed very frequently or for very long.
The second and third problems with the ESM Workstation are both related to the fact that the
workstations are set up in a passageway with a width of 38.5 inches. This results in leaving
anywhere from 5.5 inches to 11.5 inches behind a seated operator, depending in his size, thus
making the passageway impassable when the workstation is in use. The foot space provided is
also 5.5 inches less than required. This combined with the narrow passage can result in
insufficient room for a larger operator. Again, no information was available on seating. Bench
seating could result in compounding the passage, cramping, and head position problems. More
adjustable seating may or may not fit into the area, or may result in similar cramping and passage
problems.
9.2 CONTROL ROOM CONFIGURATION
In the VIRGINIA Class CCSM, the sonar suite is contained in the command center rather than in
a separate room. Of all the unique features of the USS VIRGINIA control room, this change
may pose the most difficulty for operational performance. The level of noise in the command
center could increase, impacting operations on two levels. First, the excess background noise
will affect the ability to hear and understand commands. Second, the ability of the sonar
operators to detect and localize signals may suffer with the excess background noise.
Several studies have shown that noise results in a narrowing of attention [16,46], and this effect
is compounded as the work pace increases [24]. The main concern with attention narrowing is
that it negatively affects demanding tasks, by producing more errors and variability in
performance.
Within the effects of noise, there are differential effects of continuous and intermittent noise. If
the noise is not too loud, adaptation will generally occur with continuous noise. However,
intermittent noise has negative effects on decision-making [117], monitoring of visual display
[118], and information processing [24]. Even low levels of noise can interfere with
communication, and stresses the physiological system [17].
53
Based on the review of noise and performance, it is suggested that the control room be closely
monitored to ensure noise levels do not get too loud. If noise levels reach a certain level,
performance may be compromised for everyone in the control room. One way to alleviate this
problem for sonar operators would be to utilize the new noise-canceling headsets developed in
conjunction with NSMRL.
The location of sonar may also have an unintended effect on sonar watch training and on the
chain of command. Since the Officer of the Deck (OOD) has full access to the control room,
including the sonar workstations, he may bypass the Sonar Supervisor and go directly to the
operator. This would put the Sonar Supervisor at a disadvantage because his overall tactical
picture may be impaired. Current procedure is that the sonar operators and the Sonar Supervisor
work together to clarify ambiguities and discuss possibilities before sending it up to the OOD. If
the OOD has direct access to the operators, and can hear their conversations, an unintended
consequence may be confusion and misunderstanding. Additionally, the OOD may be distracted
by the addition of these watchstanders in the control room, perhaps leading to a loss of situation
awareness [100].
In sum, the ESM workstation in the control room may cause physical problems for the operators,
and the performance of sonar operators may be adversely affected by placing them in the control
room. This performance decrement may extend to other control room operators depending on
the level of noise.
10.0 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A basic conclusion is that the VIRGINIA Class SSN was designed in accordance with the
Shipboard Habitability Standard in effect at the time of the design, with two exceptions, the
amount of seating in the Crew’s Mess and Wardroom areas. Beyond this general conclusion,
design decisions were made within the specification limits that either have been superceded by a
new habitability standard, deviate from design practices on previous SSN’s, or combined with
other factors will impact the submariner’s psychological and physiological well being, and
operational performance. In some cases, the trade-off involved both a positive and a negative
impact. An example of a positive impact is that the use of athwartship bunks allowed the
placement of six-man compartments providing better privacy and accommodations. An example
of a negative impact is the use of the 18 inch bunk height requirement (the new standard is 20
inches) that combined with the new Navy standard 5 inch mattress (the old one was 4 inches)
reduces the height below even the required 18 inches.
While most of the report’s findings, and extrapolation to the VIRGINIA Class SSN, would not
individually impact the submariner’s overall performance, morale, psychological or
physiological well being, the cumulative effects may have a significant impact. This is
particularly true in the case of the CCSM berthing area where several factors could combine to
impact the overall living conditions. A principal concern is that submariners will perceive
certain aspects of the VIRGINIA Class design to have a lesser quality of life because of changes,
such as the reduced berthing height and perceptually confining crew’s mess. In addition,
perceived inequities within the VIRGINIA Class itself may lead to interpersonal conflict.
54
The basic findings of the report, while focused on the VIRGINIA Class, are applicable in most
cases to all submarine Classes. This leads to the strongest recommendation of this report –
re-examine the Shipboard Habitability Design Criteria Manual to develop a submarine specific
standard that would reflect the unique challenges of the submarine environment. Also, the
necessity to verify any projected impacts upon the deployment of the USS VIRGINIA is noted
again.
The report covers
1. The overall physical setting relevant to crew effectiveness including: the physical
changes in submariner size and weight, the physical dimensions of the inhabited spaces,
and the facilities available for crew rest, cleanliness and exercise as well as the ability to
get sufficient rest to maintain effectiveness,
2. The effects of the physical and operating environment on psychological and social
behavior, and sleep,
3. The medical and physiological aspects with particular emphasis on stress and
immunology,
4. Performance impacts on specific aspects of operations including: damage control, special
operations, and control room functioning.
While no one item of concern may directly influence crew morale and retention, all of the factors
identified may interact to negatively influence the morale of crewmembers, especially those
crewmembers who will be assigned to the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area.
Next, some operating and design changes are offered for consideration to help allay the issues
discussed in this report.
10.1 OPERATING CHANGES
10.1.1 Watch quarter/Station bill
When writing the berthing bill, bunks could be equitably split between watchsections rather than
according to only seniority. This will prevent the berthing areas from being full at most times.
Also, bunk assignments could be made according to size, with smaller submariners being
assigned to the smaller bunks. Using the 4 inch mattress vice the 5 inch mattress would provide
more room in the bunks, increasing sleep quality and quantity.
10.1.2 General quarters
During drills, crewmembers could grab their uniform items and proceed into the passageway to
put on gear (if area clear). This would allow everyone to exit his bunk in a timely manner.
During all quarters drills, the forward compartment of the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area
could exit via the forward hatch, while the aft compartment exits via aft hatch.
55
10.1.3 Watch turnover
As with drills, crewmembers could grab their uniform items and proceed into the passageway to
put on gear. To alleviate the problem with watch turnover congesting the area of the heads and
shower, off-peak use of showers should be encouraged. Additionally, workflow changes can be
made (as done in the surface fleet): crewmembers could enter berthing through the forward hatch
and exit via the aft hatch.
10.1.4 Personnel selection
The manner in which personnel are selected for specific tasks could be changed. For example,
when designating damage control personnel, physical size should be taken into account.
However, this method would unfairly target smaller crewmembers to perform an undesirable job
and damage control is often the nearest person’s responsibility.
10.1.5 Watchstanding schedule
Another recommendation would involve changing the watchstanding schedule to a periodicity
that is commensurate with the body’s natural 24-hour rhythm. A new watchstanding schedule
presently being tested at NSMRL may help mitigate the fatigue of USS VIRGINIA Class
submariners. This new schedule, referred as the Alternative schedule, is an alternating 3 watch, 6
hour alternating cycle that implements as much as possible the principles of chronohygiene.
Specifically, the rotating schedule (1) minimizes the exposure to night work between 24-hour
rest periods; (2) starts each sequence at noon, when crewmembers are relatively well rested; (3)
locates the most error-prone hours, pre-dawn and mid-afternoon, near the start of the sequence,
when crewmembers are relatively well rested; (4) ends each sequence at midnight, allowing
adequate recovery sleep to be acquired at night; (5) maximizes the balance between the number
of people available and time spent off from watchstanding; and (6) takes advantage of the fact
that the human circadian rhythm is longer than 24 hours by rotating forward on the clock [65].
See figure 10 for a depiction of this schedule.
Figure 10. Alternating schedule repeats a 72 hour cycle with final 24 hours free of
watchstanding duties. Watches shown in black over a 6 day period with time indicated at
bottom.
DAY
6
DAY
5
DAY 4
DAY
3
DAY 2
DAY 1
1200
1200
1200
1200
1200
1200
Watch
Section
1
2
3
56
Laboratory investigations of this new watchstanding schedule yielded results supportive of
greater sleep on the Alternative schedule. Specifically, submariners working under the new
schedule slept 45 more minutes per day than the 18-hour schedule. Submariners also reported
less fatigue before and after watch on the Alternative schedule compared to the traditional
schedule [34,64]. For a long underway on the USS VIRGINIA, an additional 45 minutes of
sleep per day could attenuate the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation. NSMRL is currently
conducting sea-trials to investigate the operational feasibility of this new watchstanding
schedule.
10.1.6 Crew rotation
Use of the alternating crew format could help the psychological health of submariners that are
assigned to the USS VIRGINIA. As previously noted, “off-crew” time provided by a possible
alternating crew procedure could offer VIRGINIA Class submariners a reprieve from the
maintenance of the submarine to which they are assigned, and thus the opportunity to relax or to
pursue other responsibilities when in port. While the OPTEMPO of the VIRGINIA Class
submarine may not readily lend itself to alternating crews due to differing mission durations, the
feasibility of this suggestion should be investigated.
10.1.7 Exercise
Physical activity lessens anxiety and depression. Senior leadership, both officer and enlisted,
should strongly encourage physical activity. This activity may help allay psychological
problems that arise from living in a confined, stressful environment. Moreover, active
submariners will be less likely gain weight that would further increase their body dimensions.
10.1.8 Monitor crew health during deployment
Crew health should be monitored during sea trials and during extended deployments to assess the
concerns related to immune system functioning and elevated CO2 exposure.
10.1.9 Full habitability assessment
The issues identified in this report suggest the need for a full habitability assessment of
submarine living conditions. Further research should be conducted to address these issues.
10.2 DESIGN CHANGES
10.2.1 Habitability standards
The Shipboard Habitability Standard, OPNAVINST 9640.1A, applies to both surface ships and
submarines. Given the unique challenges associated with space onboard a submarine, the
submarine community could produce their own habitability standards. These new standards
should incorporate the submarine anthropometry data presented in Mooney, et al. [69] to reflect
57
the average sized submariner. Additionally, special provisions should be made for length of
deployment, as is currently done within NASA.
10.2.2 Berthing
One solution to the CCSM Crew Life (24) berthing area may be to redesign the area to
accommodate larger but fewer berths. The disadvantages of more “hot racking,” may be offset
by the increased quality of sleep of submariners, resulting in better performance and crew
morale. Increasing the passageway width would offer a significant advantage over the current
dimensions. Additionally, the athwartship berthing in the HAB MOD Crew Life (23) and (24)
could be altered as well. The result of this may be fewer berths, but as with the CCSM berthing
area, this disadvantage would be allayed by the benefits of better sleep.
10.2.3 Sanitary facilities
Both the tight space of the sanitary facilities and the arrangement of facilities throughout the boat
were identified as quality of life issues. While overall the USS VIRGINIA meets the
requirements for the total number of facilities, the layout of the facilities does not meet the needs
of the number of submariners in the associated berthing areas. A natural recommendation
stemming from these observations is to redesign the sanitary facility areas to accommodate the
number of people in the respective berthing area.
10.2.4 Crew’s mess
The psychological space afforded by the crew’s mess on the LOS ANGELES Class submarine is
substantial compared to the VIRGINIA Class submarine. Efforts should be directed at
developing a remedy for this problem, such as décor changes (see NASA report [28])
10.2.5 Crew size adjustment
A smaller crew size could help offset some of the problems identified with the living spaces.
Extensive research should be conducted to determine if reduced manning is viable on the USS
VIRGINIA, as has been done with the Surface Fleet.
58
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65
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank Maria Fitzgerald for assistance with data processing; Tim Cepak, Navy Personnel
Command, Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS), Millington, TN, for providing 2002 Physical
Fitness Assessment submariner data; STS1(SS) Robert Rivera, STS1(SS) Monty Montierth,
HMCS(SS) Steven Plourd, and Celeste Trapani for assisting with data collection.
66
APPENDIX A. EVALUATION OF VIRGINIA CLASS SUBMARINE ACCORDING TO OPNAVINST 9640.1
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
Berthing
Accommodations
2a(1) Berthing
Accommodation
1 berth/person,
minimum
3.2.1 Berthing
Accommodation
1 berth/person,
minimum
At-Sea Personnel
CO – 1; XO – 1
Other Officer – 12
CPO – 16
Crew – 88
TOTAL – 118
Total Personnel
CO – 1; XO – 1
Other Officer – 12
CPO – 16
Crew – 104
TOTAL – 134
CO – 1; XO – 1
Other Officer – 12
CPO – 16
Crew – 89
TOTAL – 119
CO – Met; XO – Met
Other Officer – Met
CPO – Met
Crew – Met
TOTAL – Met
Based on expected
numbers as given in
the “Summary of
Organizational
Manpower
Requirements –
Summary by Total
Billets” for the
VIRGINIA Class
Submarine dated
March 20, 1998, and
the numbers reflected
in the engineering
drawings.
N/A 3.2.7 Athwartship
Berthing
CO – 0; XO – 0
30% of berths per
compartment, maximum
Other Officer – 4
CPO – 5
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18) – 7
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24) – 15
CCSM Crew Space (24)
– 7
Crew Space Total – 29
CO – 0; XO – 1
Other Officer – 0
CPO – 0
HAB MOD Crew
Space (18) – 12 (57%)
HAB MOD Crew
Space (23) & (24) – 45
(100%)
CCSM Crew Space
(24) – 0
Crew Space Total – 57
(63%)
CO – Met
XO – Not met
Other Officer – Met
CPO – Met
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18) – Not met
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24) – Not met
CCSM Crew Space (24) –
Met
Crew Space Total – Not
met
Dimensions
N/A
3.2.7.1.3 Standard
Mattress Length
72.5 in, minimum
TBD
67
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
N/A
3.2.7.1.3 Long Mattress
Length
76 in, minimum
TBD
N/A
3.2.7.1.3 Long
Mattresses
30% of total, minimum
TBD
2a(5)(a)(2) Passages at
berth tier ends
Width, 18 in, minimum
3.2.5.1.2 Passages at
berth tier ends
Width, 18 in, minimum
TBD
2a(5)(a)(3) Passages at
accessible side of berth
Width, 18 in, minimum
3.2.5.1.3 Passages at
accessible side of berth
Width, 18 in, minimum
CPO – TBD
HAB MOD Crew
Space (18) – All > 23”
HAB MOD Crew
Space (23) & (24) – All
> 23”
CCSM Crew Space
(24) – both 18.1”
CPO – TBD
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18) – met
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24) – met
CCSM Crew Space (24) –
met
2a(5)(b) Deck to
underside of bottom
berth
Height, 2 in, minimum
3.2.5.1.4 Deck to
underside of bottom
berth
Height, 2 in, minimum
TBD
Sanitary Facilities
Accommodations
2c(4) CPO Lavatories
8 people/unit, maximum
3.4.3.1.4 CPO
Lavatories
8 people/unit, maximum
2 2 Met
68
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
2c(4) CPO Water
Closets
12 people/unit,
maximum
3.4.3.1.4 CPO Water
Closets
12 people/unit,
maximum
2 1 Not met
2c(4) CPO Showers
20 people/unit,
maximum
3.4.3.1.4 CPO Showers
20 people/unit,
maximum
1 1 Met
2c(4) Crew Lavatories
15 people/unit,
maximum
3.4.3.1.4 Crew
Lavatories
15 people/unit,
maximum
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18) – 2
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24) – 3
CCSM Crew Space (24)
– 2
Total Crew – 6
HAB MOD Crew
Space (18) – 2
HAB MOD Crew
Space (23) & (24) – 3
CCSM Crew Space
(24) – 2
Total Crew – 7
Met
Met
Met
Met
2c(4) Crew Water
Closets
20 people/unit,
maximum
3.4.3.1.4 Crew Water
Closets
20 people/unit,
maximum
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18) – 1
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24) – 3
CCSM Crew Space (24)
– 2
Total Crew – 5
HAB MOD Crew
Space (18) – 1
HAB MOD Crew
Space (23) & (24) – 2
CCSM Crew Space
(24) – 2
Total Crew – 5
Not Met
Not Met
Met
Met
2c(4) Crew Showers
50 people/unit,
maximum
3.4.3.1.4 Crew Showers
50 people/unit,
maximum
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18) – 1
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24) – 1
CCSM Crew Space (24)
– 1
Total Crew – 2
HAB MOD Crew
Space (18) – 1
HAB MOD Crew
Space (23) & (24) – 1
CCSM Crew Space
(24) – 1
Total Crew – 3
Met
Met
Met
69
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
2c(2) Water closet and
wash basin in
immediate proximity of
bridge
3.4.2 Water closet and
wash basin in
immediate proximity of
bridge
TBD
2c(2) Water closet and
wash basin in
immediate proximity of
combat information
center
3.4.2 Water closet and
wash basin in
immediate proximity of
combat information
center
TBD
2c(2) Water closet and
wash basin in
immediate proximity of
communications spaces
3.4.2 Water closet and
wash basin in
immediate proximity of
communications spaces
TBD
2c(3)(a)(1) There is at
least one lavatory in
each water closet space
3.4.3.1.1 There is at
least one lavatory in
each water closet space
CPO – 1 WC space
Crew – 4 WC spaces
CPO – 1 WC space
w/Lav
Crew – 4 WC spaces
w/Lav
Met
Met
3.4.2 Urinal in
engineering
compartment
TBD
General
2c(1)(c) Do not have to
pass through water
closet to get to
washroom facilities
3.4.1.3 Do not have to
pass through water
closet to get to
washroom facilities
CPO Space
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18)
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24)
CCSM Crew Space (24)
Met
Met
Met
Met
2c(1)(d) Sanitary
facility is in vicinity of,
and on same deck as,
the living space served
3.4.1.4 Sanitary facility
is in vicinity of, and on
same deck as, the living
space served
CPO Space
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18)
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24)
CCSM Crew Space (24)
Met
Met
Met
Met
70
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
2c(1)(e) No public areas
between berthing and
sanitary spaces
3.4.1.5 No public areas
between berthing and
sanitary spaces
CPO Space
HAB MOD Crew Space
(18)
HAB MOD Crew Space
(23) & (24)
CCSM Crew Space (24)
Met
Not met
Not met
Met
Dimensions
2c(3)(a)(2) Lavatories
center-to-center spacing
Width, 24 in, minimum
3.4.3.1.2 Lavatories
center-to-center spacing
Width, 24 in, minimum
TBD
2c(3)(c) Water Closets –
cubicle size
Depth, 18 in, minimum
Width, 27 in, minimum
3.4.3.3, Water Closets –
cubicle size
Depth, 21 in, minimum
Width, 30 in, minimum
TBD
2c(3)(d) Showers –
cubicle size
Depth, 30 in, minimum
Width, 30 in, minimum
3.4.3.4, Showers –
cubicle size
Depth, 30 in, minimum
Width, 30 in, minimum
TBD
Messroom
Accommodations
Wardroom seating
2d(3)(b)(3)
75% of the officer
accommodations
3.5.3.2.3 Wardroom
seating
75% of officer
accommodations
11 10 Not Met
71
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
Seating
2d(3)(a) Enough seating
will be provided to
serve the entire enlisted
crew within one hour,
based on 21” of seating
space, an average of 18
minutes of seat
occupancy per
individual
2d(3)(b)(3) Enough
seats to sit 35% of the
Crew/CPO population at
once
3.5.3.1 Seating
Enough seats to sit 35%
of the Crew/CPO
population at once
Enlisted only – 29 seats
Enlisted & CPO – 36
seats
28 seats
Not Met
There are 8 – 72 inch
benches, and 2 – 49
inch benches, for a
total of 674 inches of
bench. Using the 21-
inch minimum seating
space per person, this
total bench length
could theoretically seat
32 people. When the
actual bench lengths
and fitting “whole
people” onto the bench
are considered, this
number drops to 28
people.
Dimensions
2d(3)(a) Seating - Table
space per seat
Width, 21 in, Minimum
3.5.3.1 Seating - Table
space per seat
Width, 21 in, Minimum
Enlisted only – 609”
Enlisted & CPO – 756 ”
Expected staffing – 21”
Reflected staffing – 21”
Total – 674”
Useable – 588”
Expected staffing – 16”
Reflected staffing – 19”
Not Met Based on the crew
numbers and bench
lengths given above.
2d(1)(c)(1) Messroom
Primary Passageways
Width, 27 in, Minimum
3.5.1.3.1 Messroom
Primary Passageways
Width, 27 in, Minimum
4 passages TBD
2d(1)(c)(2) Messroom
Secondary
Passageways, Width
24 in, Minimum
3.5.1.3.2 Messroom
Secondary Passageways
Width
24 in, Minimum
N/A N/A N/A
72
9640.1 Criteria 9640.1A Criteria Requirement Actual Met/Not Met
(According to 9640.1,
or if N/A, 9640.1A)
Comments
2d(1)(c)(3) Messroom
Back-to-Back Seating
Clearance
Width, 15 in, minimum
3.5.1.3.3 Messroom
Back-to-Back Seating
Clearance
Width, 15 in, minimum
N/A N/A N/A diner-to-diner, diner-
to-bulkhead
Does not apply to
booth or fixed
outrigger seating when
adequate side access is
provided.
General, Passageways, Doors, Scuttles,
Stairs & Ladders
1g Overhead Clearance
Height in any space, 75
in, minimum
2.7.0 Overhead
Clearance
Height in any space, 75
in, minimum
TBD TBD
1g Passageways
Height, 75 in, minimum
Width, 27 in, minimum
2.7.0, Passageways
Height, 75 in, minimum
Width, 27 in, minimum
TBD HAB SECOND PLATFORM: Aft
Passageway, WRSR passageway
lowest obstruction height 74.5”
HAB SECOND PLATFORM: Main
Deck passageway lowest obstruction
cable hanger 74.7”, wireway hangs to
73”
HAB SECOND PLATFORM: Main
Deck passageway 26.75”
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM: Aft
passageway (width) 25.3”
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM:
Ventilation Aft passageway lowest
obstruction 74.8”
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM: Sonar
Supervisor Control Panel, CACC port,
above seating lowest obstruction 73”
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM:
Passageway aft HLSD, 2 separate
cable bundles lowest obstruction
hangs to 73”& 74”.
Not Met This data was taken
from the
COMOPTEVFOR
reports and not verified
directly
73
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM:
CACC PORT low piping (above
seating) 74.25”
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM: Entry
to ESM space 21”(width)
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM:
CACC port cable bundle/hanger
overhead 72”
CCSM SECOND PLATFORM: Aft
ladder from deck 74.8” from 1st rung
on ladder 68.5”
CSES2 SECOND PLATFORM:
CSES2, forward CACC (width)
between power panel & locker 23-
1/2”
74
APPENDIX B. COMPARISON OF OPNAVINST 9640.1A (1996) AND OPNAVINST
9640.1 (1979)
The table below itemizes the differences between OPNAVINST 9640.1A (1996) and
OPNAVINST 9640.1 (1979) relevant to the submarine habitability analysis performed in this
report. OPNAVINST 9640.1A (1996) includes T9640-AB-DDT-010/HAB “Shipboard
Habitability Design Criteria Manual” by reference. OPNAVINST 9640.1 (1979) includes
comparable criteria directly in Enclosure (1) “Category I Standards: Habitability Standards for
New Ship Designs.”
OPNAVINST 9640.1A, 1996
and T9640-AB-DDT-010/HAB
OPNAVINST 9640.1, 1979
OPNAVINST 9640.1A, 1996, Instruction 4e:
Accommodation Limits, middle of paragraph, page
3
In new ship designs the physical habitability
elements are provided for the number of
accommodations derived from the ORD. The ORD
shall include a service life allowance for officer and
enlisted personnel which provides for a growth of
10 percent at ship delivery.
Instruction 4d: Accommodation Limits, middle of
paragraph, page 3
In new ship designs the physical habitability
elements are provided for the number of
accommodations derived from the Ship Manning
Document (SMD) philosophy plus a growth factor.
T9640-AB-DDT-010/HAB Enclosure (1)
Criteria 3.2.5.1.1, page 12
Vertical unobstructed clearance above mattress top:
20 inches for crew/troops, 23 inches for
CPO/SNCO, 23 inches for officers assigned to
three-high berths, and 25 inches for officers
assigned to two-high berths.
2.a.(5).(a).(1), page 9
Vertical unobstructed clearance above mattress top:
18 inches
Criteria 3.2.7, page 12
Space Considerations. Berths shall be oriented
primarily fore and aft; however, athwartship
berthing may be used where compartment
arrangement is improved. Where the athwartship
orientation is used, it shall be limited to not greater
than 30 percent of berths per compartment.
No similar criteria included
Criteria 3.2.7.1.3, last sentence, page 13
(For enlisted personnel) In submarines, thirty
percent of berth tiers in berthing space shall fit a 76
inch mattress and all other berths shall
accommodate at least a 72-1/2 inch mattress.
No similar criteria included
Criteria 3.3, Table 3, page 15
Locker Volume, Submarine, CPO, 10 cu ft
Criteria 2.b, Table 3, page 12
Locker Volume, Submarine, CPO, 6 cu ft
Criteria 3.4.3.3, second sentence, page 18
In all surface ships and submarines, the minimum
(water closet) cubicle size shall be 30 inches wide
Criteria 2.c.(3).(c), second sentence, page 15
In all surface ships and submarines, the minimum
(water closet) cubicle size shall be 27 inches wide
75
by 21 inches deep……. by 18 inches deep…….
Criteria 3.5.3.1, second sentence, pages 20-21
The number of mess seats provided shall be in
accordance with Table 6.
From Table 6, Submarines (includes CPO), Crew
mess seats as a percentage of accommodations: 35
This translates to 36 seats to accommodate 104
Crew/CPO in the Virginia
Criteria 2.d.(3).(a), middle of first sentence, page 17
….an average of 18 minutes seat occupancy time
per individual, to allow the entire crew and
embarked troops to be served within the time
criteria of Table 6.
From Table 6, Submarines, Serving period (hours):
1
This translates to 29 seats to accommodate 88
enlisted crew in the Virginia
HOWEVER, Criteria 2.d.(3).(b).(3), Officer and
CPO Dining Facilities, middle of first sentence,
page 18 states
….since CPO and crew dine in the same space, a
number of seats equal to 35 percent of the combined
CPO plus crew accommodations shall be provided
therein.
Criteria 3.6.6.1, page 23
All ships and submarines shall have physical
conditioning equipment adequate to provide
personnel with three, 30-minute exercise periods per
week, based on equipment availability of 112 hours
per week. Physical conditioning equipment should
permit aerobic, flexibility and strength training.
For the Virginia, this translates to approximately 2
pieces of equipment for a total of 118 personnel at
sea.
Criteria 2.e.(6).(a)
All ships and submarines shall have physical
conditioning equipment in accordance with Article
640b of reference (d)…..
Reference (d): General Specifications for Ships of
the U.S. Navy, NAVSHIPS 0902-001-5000
Article 640b: ????
76
APPENDIX C. FURTHER ANALYSES OF 1) PSYCHOLOGICALLY-BASED
WAIVERS AND DISQUALIFICATIONS AND 2) CLINICAL LEVELS OF ANXIETY
AND DEPRESSION
Psychologically-based waivers and disqualifications
The conclusions in section 6.5 are based on descriptive comparisons; they do not take into
account the possibility that the increase in waivers and disqualifications across time and
submarine Class may be attributable to random chance fluctuations. Thus, in order to control for
this possibility, chi-square analyses were conducted on all of the above comparisons to determine
whether or not they were statistically significant, and not readily attributable to random chance.
Table 1 below presents these analyses.
Table 1. Chi-square analysis of waivers and disqualifications
Psychological Problems /
# of Submariners
Chi-Square
Value
Degrees of
Freedom
P-Value
2001 SSN 31/3484 8.497 1 = .004
2002 SSN 60/3484
2001 SSBN 4/2480 2.216 1 = .137
2002 SSBN 13/3100
2001 SSN 31/3484 11.828 1 < .001
2001 SSBN 4/2480
2002 SSN 60/3484 23.694 1 < .001
2002 SSBN 13/3100
2003 SSN 23/3484 7.051 1 = .008
2003 SSBN 6/3100
All of the chi-square values with p-values equal to or lower than .01 are considered statistically
significant. Thus, the increase in psychological problems, as indicated by increases in waivers
and disqualifications, in SSNs as compared to SSBNs cannot be attributed to random chance.
Likewise, the increase in psychological problems from 2001 to 2002 in the SSN force cannot be
reasonably attributed to random chance, and is probably due to the increase in OPTEMPO
described earlier. However, the increase in psychological problems in SSBNs from 2001 to 2002
does not achieve statistical significance, and is probably a simple result of the increase in
submariners in the SSBN force from 2001 to 2002.
Another criticism of the above comparison can be directed at the estimated number of
submariners used for these analyses. For instance, these estimates may not account for the
sharing of bunks on SSNs, and allows SSNs to go to sea with more submariners than the
77
78
originally planned occupancy. Therefore, the numbers used here may underestimate the number
of SSN submariners. However, SSBNs also go to sea with more submariners than the originally
planned occupancy, but instead of “hot racking” they set up temporary berthing areas in missile
compartments. Therefore, these numbers may also underestimate the number of SSBN
submariners, and precise numbers are difficult to obtain.
It should be noted that the total numbers displayed in Figures 5, 6, and 7, as well as the
probabilities displayed in Figures 8 and 9, all greatly underestimate the number of psychological
problems occurring in the submarine force and their associated probabilities for two primary
reasons. First, these data do not take into account the psychologically-based waivers and
disqualifications in the Atlantic Fleet of the Submarine Force (SUBLANT). Second, these data
do not contain all of the psychological problems that lead to separation from the fleet. Recall that
expeditious administrative separations often have a psychological basis (e.g., personality
disorder), but they bypass the waiver and disqualification process and are thus not recorded in
those databases. On an annual basis there are approximately as many expeditious administrative
separations with psychological causes as there are psychologically-based waivers and
disqualifications. Unfortunately, expeditious separation data as well as SUBLANT waiver and
disqualification data were not available for this report.
Clinical anxiety and depression
In the section on clinical anxiety and depression (Section 6.5.2), it is stated that SSN crews are
more likely to experience elevated levels of anxiety and depression when compared to SSBN
crews, which helps to explain the increased number of psychologically-based waivers and
disqualifications in the SUBPAC SSN force in comparison to the SSBN force.
In order to determine whether or not these differences could be accounted for by random chance
alone, independent samples t-tests were conducted on the continuous scale scores for both the
anxiety and depression measures. The mean level of anxiety found in SSNs (M = 41.77, SD =
34.57) was significantly higher than the mean level found in SSBNs (M = 35.16, SD = 34.05),
with t(1439) = 3.66, p < .001. The mean level of depression found in SSNs (M = 43.49, SD =
33.51) was significantly higher than the mean level found in SSBNs (M = 37.16, SD = 32.69),
with t(1439) = 3.63, p < .001. Thus, the differences found here between SSNs and SSBNs could
not be attributed to random chance alone.
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