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Remote characterization of high radiation environments is a pressing application area where robots can provide benefits in terms of time, cost, safety and quality of data. However, the DOE roadmap for robotics and intelligent machines states that 'usability' may well prove to be the most challenging and yet crucial component of robotic systems for remote characterization and handling of radioactive and hazardous materials. In 2001, the INEEL successfully deployed a teleoperated robotic system coupled with a gamma locating and isotopic identification device (RGL&IID) to characterize an area that had been closed to human entry for many years. This paper examines the human-robot dynamic of this teleoperated task and the limitations inherent to the master-slave strategy employed. Next, the paper outlines an innovative, mixed-initiative command and control architecture developed to address these limitations. The resulting, mixed-initiative control architecture retains the human in the loop, but interleaves multiple levels of human intervention into the functioning of a robotic system that can, in turn, scale its own level of initiative to meet whatever level of input is handed down.