Status of Transformational Programs and Risks to Achieving NextGen Goals
On April 23, 2012, we issued a report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) progress in planning and implementing its six transformational programs, which will provide foundational technologies and infrastructure for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). These six programs are Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, System Wide Information Management, Data Communications, NextGen Network Enabled Weather, NAS Voice System, and Collaborative Air Traffic Management Technologies. We conducted our review at the request of the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security.
We found that FAA has not yet established total program costs, schedules, or performance baselines for any of the six NextGen transformational programs, which limits visibility into the total costs and timelines required to achieve benefits. In addition, FAA’s progress in implementing the programs has been limited by a lack of finalized program requirements. Other risks to effectively implementing these programs include the lack of an integrated master schedule—a key planning tool to manage the programs’ interdependencies—as well as integration issues with complex automation systems. The FAA concurred with three of our four recommendations and partially concurred with one. However, we are requesting additional information regarding when FAA plans to baseline each segment of the six programs, as well as when expected benefits and capabilities will be delivered.