WHAT IS A
NAVAL AEROSPACE AND
OPERATIONAL PHYSIOLOGIST (NAOP)?
NAOPs educate all prospective and designated aviators, aircrew, and other fliers in the physiological aspects of flight and survival. NAOPs are subject matter experts in human factors and physiological threats related to the flight environment, physiological elements which enhance mission performance, mitigation factors that prevent mishaps, procedures for surviving mishaps and hostilities, application of aircrew systems, and procedures for emergency egress and rescue. NAOPs also perform duties that involve flying as aircrew.
“As Medical Service Corps Officers we support the Chief of Naval Operation's (CNO's) design for maintaining Maritime Superiority by addressing both "operational and warfighting demands", while also playing a vital role in "generating ready forces to meet those demands". We are healthcare scientists who maximize the readiness and performance of the human as a weapons system to deliver combat and fighting power where ever and whenever needed. Our skill sets can translate across the sea, air, and ashore capabilities of the Navy. “
In 1994, the CNO appointed BUMED as the Training Agent (TA) for the Naval Aviation Survival Training Program (NASTP). As the role of the Naval Aerospace Physiology expanded to human performance enhancement for non-aircrew personnel, the name was changed in 2007 to Naval Aerospace/Operational Physiologist and new billets with the Fleet Marine Force were established. This resulted in the addition of the Operational Physiology Program Element.
Since World War II, Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologists (NAOPs) have supported the operational readiness of the Navy's warfighters through education, training, aeromedical and human performance support, acquisitions, and research, development, test and evaluation (RDTE&E).
The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) established
the NAOPP in 1978 to comply with the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) task to provide support to the Aircrew Survivability Enhancement Program.
Aerospace Physiologists and their assistants had historically participated in the aeromedical/survival training of Naval Aviation personnel and in the development and introduction of aircrew systems (particularly aircrew personal protective equipment).
In the late 1970s, the role of the Aerospace Physiologist expanded to provide support to the Naval Aviation Safety Program, primarily through the establishment of the Aeromedical Safety Officer (AMSO) Program.
The NAOPP provided the central management necessary to support these diverse functions. The Naval Aviation Physiology Program Planning Committee (NAP3C) was established in 1981 to provide a steering council of senior aerospace physiologists for strategic planning and program management.
The Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiology Program (NAOPP) consists of five major elements, each providing key support to the operational readiness of the Fleet.
Naval Aviation Survival Training Program (NASTP)
The purpose of the NASTP is to prepare all prospective and designated aeronautical personnel, selected passengers, project specialists, and other authorized individuals in the aeromedical aspects of flight and survival.
Operational Physiology Program
The purpose of the Operational Physiology Program is to provide specialized consultation, assistance, technical liaison, evaluations, training, and recommendations directly to and working directly in support of operational forces. Operational Physiologists generally serve in the Operations, Training, or Safety Departments.
Aeromedical Safety Officer (AMSO)
The purpose of the AMSO Program is to provide specialized consultation, assistance, technical liaison, evaluations, training, and recommendations directly to and working directly with the Navy and Marine Corps aviation community. AMSOs serve multifaceted roles within safety, operations, and training departments.
Fleet Air Introduction and Liaison of Survival Aircrew Flight Equipment
The FAILSAFE Program augments and facilitates the introduction of new and modified items of Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSS) to Fleet aviation.
System Acquisitions and RDT&E
System acquisitions and RDT&E is supported by NAOPPs in aircrew system requirements, human performance, operational readiness, and survival systems arenas.