Crew resource management
Crew resource management or cockpit resource management (CRM) is a procedure and training system in systems where human error can have devastating effects. Used primarily for improving air safety, CRM focuses on interpersonal communication, leadership, and decision making in the cockpit. The training originated from a NASA workshop in 1979, which found that the primary cause of most aviation accidents was human error. CRM has since been adopted in different industries and organizations including fire services (to improve situational awareness on the fireground) and the maritime industry, where CRM is referred to as BRM (Bridge Resource Management) or MRM (Maritime Resource Management).
United Airlines was the first airline to provide CRM training for its cockpit crews, in 1981.
CRM training encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes including communications, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making, and teamwork; together with all the attendant sub-disciplines which each of these areas entails. CRM can be defined as a management system which makes optimum use of all available resources - equipment, procedures and people - to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of operations. CRM although first established in the civil aviation industry as cockpit resource management has been adopted and adapted by many other industries, some of which are the commercial maritime shipping industry using a form called "Maritime Resource Management (MRM)".
CRM is concerned not so much with the technical knowledge and skills required to operate equipment but rather with the cognitive and interpersonal skills needed to manage resources within an organised system. In this context, cognitive skills are defined as the mental processes used for gaining and maintaining situational awareness, for solving problems and for making decisions. Interpersonal skills are regarded as communications and a range of behavioral activities associated with teamwork. In many operational systems as in other walks of life, skill areas often overlap with each other, and they also overlap with the required technical skills. Furthermore, they are not confined to multi-crew craft or equipment, but also relate to single operator equipment or craft as they invariably need to interface with other craft or equipment and various other support agencies in order to complete a mission successfully.
CRM training for crew has been introduced and developed by aviation organisations including major airlines and military aviation worldwide. CRM training is now a mandated requirement for commercial pilots working under most regulatory bodies worldwide, including the FAA (U.S.) and JAA (Europe). Following the lead of the commercial airline industry, the U.S. Department of Defense began formally training its air crews in CRM in the early 1990s. Presently, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy require all air crew members to receive annual CRM training, in an effort to reduce to human-error caused mishaps.
CRM aims to foster a climate or culture where the freedom to respectfully question authority is encouraged. However, the primary goal of CRM is enhanced situational awareness, self awareness, leadership, assertiveness, decision making, flexibility, adaptability, event and mission analysis, and communication. It recognizes that a discrepancy between what is happening and what should be happening is often the first indicator that an error is occurring. This is a delicate subject for many organizations, especially ones with traditional hierarchies, so appropriate communication techniques must be taught to supervisors and their subordinates, so that supervisors understand that the questioning of authority need not be threatening, and subordinates understand the correct way to question orders.
Cockpit voice recordings of various air disasters tragically reveal first officers and flight engineers attempting to bring critical information to the captain's attention in an indirect and ineffective way. By the time the captain understood what was being said, it was too late to avert the disaster. A CRM expert named Todd Bishop developed a five-step assertive statement process that encompasses inquiry and advocacy steps:
- Opening or attention getter - Address the individual. "Hey Chief," or "Captain Smith," or "Bob," or whatever name or title will get the person's attention.
- State your concern - Express your analysis of the situation in a direct manner while owning your emotions about it. "I'm concerned that we may not have enough fuel to fly around this storm system," or "I'm worried that the roof might collapse."
- State the problem as you see it - "We're only showing 40 minutes of fuel left," or "This building has a lightweight steel truss roof, and we may have fire extension into the roof structure."
- State a solution - "Let's divert to another airport and refuel," or "I think we should pull some tiles and take a look with the thermal imaging camera before we commit crews inside."
- Obtain agreement (or buy-in) - "Does that sound good to you, Captain?"
These are often difficult skills to master, as they may require significant changes in personal habits, interpersonal dynamics, and organizational culture.
United Airlines Flight 232 
Captain Al Haynes, pilot of United Airlines Flight 232, credits Crew Resource Management as being one of the factors that saved his own life, and many others, in the Sioux City, Iowa, crash of July 1989.
...the preparation that paid off for the crew was something ... called Cockpit Resource Management.... Up until 1980, we kind of worked on the concept that the captain was THE authority on the aircraft. What he said, goes. And we lost a few airplanes because of that. Sometimes the captain isn't as smart as we thought he was. And we would listen to him, and do what he said, and we wouldn't know what he's talking about. And we had 103 years of flying experience there in the cockpit, trying to get that airplane on the ground, not one minute of which we had actually practiced, any one of us. So why would I know more about getting that airplane on the ground under those conditions than the other three. So if I hadn't used [CRM], if we had not let everybody put their input in, it's a cinch we wouldn't have made it.
The basic concepts and ideology that make CRM successful with aviation air crews have also proven successful with other related career fields. Several commercial aviation firms, as well as international aviation safety agencies, began expanding CRM into air traffic control, aircraft design, and aircraft maintenance in the 1990s. Specifically, the aircraft maintenance section of this training expansion gained traction as Maintenance Resource Management (MRM). In an effort to standardize the industry wide training of this team-based safety approach, the FAA (U.S.) issued Advisory Circular 120-72, Maintenance Resource Management Training in September 2000.
Following a study of aviation mishaps over the 10-year period 1992-2002, the United States Air Force determined that close to 18% of its aircraft mishaps were directly attributable to maintenance human error (source, U.S. Air Force Safety Center). Unlike the more immediate impact of air crew error, maintenance human errors often occurred long before the flight where the problems were discovered. These "latent errors" included such mistakes as failure to follow published aircraft manuals, lack of assertive communication among maintenance technicians, poor supervision, and improper assembly practices. In 2005, to specifically address these maintenance human error-induced root causes of aircraft mishaps, Lt Col Doug Slocum, Chief of Safety at the Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing, Tucson, AZ, directed that the base's CRM program be modified into a military version of MRM.
In mid-2005, the Air National Guard Aviation Safety Division converted Slocum's MRM program into a national program available to the Air National Guard's 88 flying wings, spread across 54 U.S. states and territories. In 2006, the Defense Safety Oversight Council (DSOC) of the U.S. Department of Defense recognized the mishap prevention value of this maintenance safety program by partially funding a variant of ANG MRM for training throughout the U.S. Air Force. This ANG initiated, DoD-funded version of MRM became known as Air Force Maintenance Resource Management, AF-MRM, and is now widely used in the U.S. Air Force.
The Rail Safety Regulators Panel of Australia has adapted CRM to rail, Rail Resource Management, and developed a free kit of resources. Operating train crews at the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) in the United States are instructed on CRM principles during yearly training courses.
Firefighting application 
Following the successes experienced in the aviation community, Crew Resource Management (CRM) was identified as a potential safety improvement program for the fire services. Specifically, Ted Putnam, Ph.D., wrote a paper that applied CRM concepts to the tragic and violent deaths of 14 Wildland firefighters on the South Canyon Fire in Colorado.
From this paper a movement was sparked in the Wildland and Structural Fire Services to apply the Aviation CRM concepts to emergency response situations. Various programs have since been developed to train emergency responders in these concepts and to help track where breakdowns occur in these stressful environments.
See also 
- Single pilot resource management
- Tenerife disaster
- Sterile Cockpit Rule
- Line Oriented Flight Training
- Helmet fire
- Staines air disaster
- Eastern Air Lines Flight 401
- United Airlines Flight 173
- Maintenance Resource Management
- Cooper, G.E., White, M.D., & Lauber, J.K. (Eds.) 1980. "Resource management on the flightdeck," Proceedings of a NASA/Industry Workshop (NASA CP-2120).
- Maritime Resource Management (MRM): http://www.tscacademy.com/
- The Evolution of Crew Resource Management Training in Commercial Aviation. International Journal of Aviation Psychology. 1999. Text "pp: 19-32" ignored (help)
- Air Force Instruction 11-290: http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI11-290.pdf
- OPNAVINST 1542.7C: https://www.netc.navy.mil/nascweb/crm/1542_7c.pdf
- International Association of Fire Chiefs (2003). "Crew Resource Management: A positive change for the fire service". Retrieved 6 September 2010.
- Capt. Al Haynes (May 24, 1991). "The Crash of United Flight 232". Retrieved 2007-03-27. Presentation to NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility staff.
- FAA AC 120-72: http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/3e5ec461ecf6f5e886256b4300703ad1/$FILE/AC%20120-72.pdf
- U.S. Air Force Safety Center, 2003: http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=153
- Air Force MRM: http://www.afmrm.org/