U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Safety Science 49 (2011) 1381–1387; doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2011.05.009.


The officer of the deck (OOD) of a US Navy ship is in charge of the safe and proper operation of the ship, and accountable to the commanding officer for every event that occurs during his or her OOD watch. This paper discusses the development of a prototype behavioral marker system to evaluate, and provide feedback on, the nontechnical (cognitive, social, and personal resource) skills of OODs.

An initial set of 17 categories of nontechnical skills were identified from a literature review. A focus group with four qualified OODs used the skills identified from the literature review to develop an initial taxonomy of five categories, each with two or three corresponding behavioral elements. This taxonomy was then used to classify 149 statements concerned with the nontechnical skills of OODs collected from 16 critical incident interviews. After three iterations of adaptations to the taxonomy, two independent raters were able to reach acceptable levels of reliability in using the taxonomy to classify the statements. Although further development work is required, it is suggested that the prototype behavioral marker system has implications for improving safety and performance on military and civilian ships.