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Actions Needed to Meet Expectations for the Next Generation Air Transportation System in the Mid–Term

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On October 28, 2009, the Inspector General testified before the House Subcommittee on Aviation regarding FAA actions required to address the recommendations of a joint Government/Industry task force report for achieving mid–term goals for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

The Inspector General noted that NextGen is a high risk effort and a top management challenge for the Department and FAA. A number of operational and management decisions must be addressed to successfully transition to NextGen and address the task force’s recommendations. These include maximizing the benefits of performance based navigation initiatives and managing NextGen efforts as integrated portfolios of investments. The Inspector General noted that the findings of the task force are consistent with our work but also identified several new areas for FAA’s attention.

To move beyond endorsing the task force’s recommendations, the Inspector General stated that FAA must set realistic expectations for NextGen. Specifically, FAA must: (1) develop plans to initiate action and establish a 5–year funding profile for the NextGen mid–term, (2) establish metrics for assessing and measuring progress, and (3) develop and implement a strategy for linking near– and mid–term efforts with the Agency’s long–term plans for transforming the National Airspace System.