Federal Aviation Administration's Progress and Challenges in Developing and Transitioning to the Next Generation Air Transportation System
On October 5, 2011, the Inspector General testified before the House Subcommittee on Aviation regarding the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) progress and challenges in developing and transitioning to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The Inspector General identified three challenges that will impact FAA’s ability to manage NextGen’s implementation and realize its benefits: (1) addressing concerns with FAA’s timely execution of recommendations in five critical areas, (2) resolving technical and program management problems with the En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, and (3) managing program costs and schedules with NextGen’s transformational programs. The Inspector General noted that delays in addressing key task force recommendations could discourage industry investment in NextGen. In addition, ongoing problems with ERAM’s implementation have caused significant delays that impact the cost and pace of NextGen, and total costs, schedules, and benefits remain uncertain for NextGen’s transformational programs. The Inspector General highlighted three management areas that FAA must focus on now to advance NextGen and protect taxpayers' interests: (1) NextGen budget priorities, detailed milestones, and performance goals and metrics; (2) problems with ERAM; and (3) an integrated master schedule for all NextGen programs.