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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Committee on Science, 
House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 2:00 p.m. EST: 

Wednesday, March 29, 2006: 

Next Generation Air Transportation System: 

Preliminary Analysis of the Joint Planning and Development Office's 
Planning, Progress, and Challenges: 

Statement of Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.: 
Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues: 

GAO-06-574T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-574T, testimony before the Subcommittee on Space 
and Aeronautics, Committee on Science, House of Representatives: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The health of our nation’s air transportation system is critical to our 
citizens and economy. However, the current approach to managing air 
transportation is becoming increasingly inefficient and operationally 
obsolete. In 2003, Congress created the Joint Planning and Development 
Office (JPDO) to coordinate the federal and nonfederal stakeholders 
necessary to plan and implement a transition from the current air 
transportation system to the “next generation air transportation 
system” (NGATS). JPDO, although housed within the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA), has seven partner agencies: the Departments of 
Transportation, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security; FAA; the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and the White 
House Office of Science and Technology Policy. This testimony provides 
preliminary results from GAO’s ongoing study of the status of JPDO’s 
efforts. GAO provides information on (1) the extent to which JPDO is 
facilitating the federal interagency collaboration and aligning the 
human and financial resources needed to plan and implement the NGATS, 
(2) the actions taken by JPDO to adequately involve stakeholders in the 
planning process, and (3) the extent to which JPDO is conducting the 
technical planning needed to develop the NGATS. 

What GAO Found: 

JPDO is implementing a number of practices that GAO’s work has shown 
facilitates collaboration among federal agencies, but faces a challenge 
in sustaining this collaboration over the longer term. These practices 
include defining and articulating a common outcome, establishing 
mutually reinforcing or joint strategies to achieve that outcome, and 
identifying and addressing needs by leveraging resources among partner 
agencies. However, JPDO faces a challenge in leveraging resources 
because it is fundamentally a planning and coordinating body that lacks 
authority over the key human and financial resources needed to continue 
developing plans and system requirements for the NGATS. To its credit, 
JPDO is working with its partner agencies to align their fiscal year 
2008 budget requests to support NGATS and is working with the Office of 
Management and Budget to develop a budget review process that easily 
identifies partner agencies’ NGATS-related programs. 

JPDO has involved federal and nonfederal stakeholders throughout its 
organization. Federal stakeholders from the partner agencies work with 
JPDO throughout multiple levels of the organization. The NGATS 
Institute has been established as the mechanism for involving 
nonfederal stakeholders. The Institute has obtained participation from 
industry and other nonfederal stakeholders and has assigned them to 
work with JPDO. However, JPDO has experienced difficulties with 
soliciting the participation of current air traffic controllers, who 
will play a key role in the NGATS. Additionally, JPDO could face a 
challenge in sustaining nonfederal stakeholders’ participation in an 
effort where tangible benefits may not be realized until several years 
in the future. 

JPDO is using an iterative technical planning process that appears to 
be reasonable in light of the NGATS’ complexity. The process includes 
iterative modeling—a technique that mathematically represents the 
NGATS’ system performance parameters, demand, and economic factors—to 
narrow the range of potential options. This fall, JPDO plans to have an 
initial version of its enterprise architecture—a blueprint to guide 
NGATS development—and will refine the architecture as the NGATS effort 
moves forward. 

Seven Partner Agencies Form the Joint Planning and Development Office: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-574T. 

To view the full product, click on the link above. For more 
information, contact Dr. Gerald L. Dillingham, at (202) 512-2834 or 
dillinghamg@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

We appreciate the opportunity to participate in today's hearing to 
discuss the status of the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) 
after its first 2 years of existence. The health of our nation's air 
transportation system is critical to our citizens and economy. However, 
the current approach to managing air transportation is becoming 
increasingly inefficient and operationally obsolete. In November 2002, 
the congressionally chartered Commission on the Future of the United 
States Aerospace Industry recommended transforming the U.S. air 
transportation system as a national priority.[Footnote 1] Transforming 
the system to accommodate what is expected to be three times the 
current amount of traffic by 2025, providing adequate security and 
environmental safeguards, and doing these things seamlessly while the 
current system continues to operate, will be an enormously complex 
undertaking. 

In 2003, Congress passed the Vision 100 -Century of Aviation 
Reauthorization Act, which created JPDO within the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA) to manage work related to the creation of a "next 
generation air transportation system" (NGATS). JPDO has responsibility 
for coordinating the research efforts of its partner agencies--the 
Departments of Transportation (DOT), Commerce (DOC), Defense (DOD), and 
Homeland Security (DHS); FAA; and the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration (NASA). JPDO is also working with its final partner 
agency--the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy--to 
coordinate funding with the Office of Management and Budget. 
Additionally, JPDO has responsibility to consult with the public; to 
coordinate federal goals, priorities, and programs with those of 
aviation and aeronautical firms; and to ensure the participation of 
stakeholders from the private sector, including commercial and general 
aviation, labor, aviation research and development entities, and 
manufacturers. JPDO is jointly funded through FAA and NASA. The JPDO 
Director reports to the FAA Administrator and to the Chief Operating 
Officer of FAA's Air Traffic Organization.[Footnote 2] 

Vision 100 directed JPDO to develop an integrated plan for the NGATS 
and to include in the plan, among other things, a vision statement for 
an air transportation system that meets potential air traffic demand by 
2025; a description of the demand and required performance 
characteristics of the future system; and a high-level, multi-agency 
roadmap and concept of operations for the future system. Key tenets of 
the plan are transitioning from the current largely ground-based 
navigation system to one that is more focused on aircraft and satellite-
based navigation, and automating many of the routine air traffic 
control functions. In addition, the integrated plan discusses a 
strategy to harmonize the NGATS with equipage and operations around the 
world to enhance safety and efficiency on a global scale. As directed 
by Vision 100, the FAA Administrator provided this integrated plan to 
Congress in December 2004 and issued the first annual progress report 
earlier this month. 

My statement today provides preliminary results from our ongoing study 
of the status of JPDO and focuses on three specific questions. (1) To 
what extent is JPDO facilitating the federal interagency collaboration 
and aligning the human and financial resources needed to define and 
perform the centralized planning function for the detailed 
implementation of the NGATS? (2) What actions or initiatives has JPDO 
implemented to ensure adequate involvement of stakeholders in the 
planning process? (3) To what extent is JPDO conducting the technical 
planning needed to develop the NGATS? My statement is based on our 
analysis of documents provided by JPDO and its partner agencies; the 
perspectives of agency officials and stakeholders with whom we have 
spoken; the results of a panel of experts that we convened earlier this 
month; and our review of relevant literature, including the integrated 
plan and the progress report. We also draw upon our prior work on FAA's 
national airspace system modernization program, which we have listed as 
a high-risk program since 1995. To assess JPDO's prospects for 
facilitating collaboration among its partner agencies, we compared its 
practices to those that we have found to be effective in facilitating 
other federal interagency collaborative efforts.[Footnote 3] We also 
reviewed the National Research Council's 2005 report on JPDO, which 
provided a technical assessment of the research, development, and 
technology components of JPDO's integrated plan.[Footnote 4] In 
addition, we reviewed relevant documents and interviewed officials and 
stakeholders regarding Europe's effort to harmonize and modernize its 
air traffic management system. Later this year, we expect to issue a 
detailed report that will provide our assessment of the status of 
JPDO's efforts as it works to develop the NGATS. We are performing our 
work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. 

In summary: 

* JPDO is implementing a number of practices that our work has shown 
facilitates collaboration among federal agencies, but faces a challenge 
in maintaining this collaboration over the long term. These practices 
include defining and articulating a common outcome, establishing 
mutually reinforcing or joint strategies to achieve that outcome, and 
identifying and addressing needs by leveraging resources among partner 
agencies. JPDO's legislation established a common outcome--a 
transformed national airspace system by 2025--that JPDO expanded on in 
its integrated plan, which establishes an overarching framework and 
goals for its activities. The plan also laid out eight joint strategies 
for partner agencies to use as they help develop the NGATS. 
Additionally, JPDO is leveraging partner agency resources by staffing 
its organization with employees of the partner agencies, many of whom 
work for JPDO as a collateral duty. JPDO has also reviewed these 
agencies' research and development programs to identify work that could 
support the NGATS. By using these practices for facilitating 
collaboration, JPDO has gotten off to a positive start. However, 
because JPDO is fundamentally a planning and coordinating body, it does 
not have authority over the partner agencies' human and financial 
resources that it needs to continue performing the centralized, 
interagency planning function for detailed implementation of the NGATS. 
Consequently, leveraging resources will continue to be critical to 
JPDO's success, particularly in future years as partner agencies begin 
to implement projects on a larger scale. JPDO was successful in 
prompting FAA to request funding to accelerate system development for 
two key NGATS systems in its fiscal year 2007 budget request. However, 
JPDO officials told us that, while FAA did receive an increase, it did 
not receive the full amount requested in the budget formulation 
documents submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. Our work on 
FAA's current air traffic control modernization program has shown that 
receiving fewer resources than planned was a contributing factor in 
schedule delays and subsequent cost increases. To its credit, JPDO is 
working with its partner agencies to align their fiscal year 2008 
budget requests to support the NGATS. JPDO has also opened a dialog 
with the Office of Management and Budget to develop a systematic means 
of reviewing partner agency budget requests so that NGATS-related 
programs can be easily identified. 

JPDO has incorporated representatives from federal and nonfederal 
stakeholders throughout its organization. Federal stakeholders from the 
partner agencies work with JPDO throughout multiple levels of the 
organization. The NGATS Institute was created as the mechanism for 
involving nonfederal stakeholders and has obtained their participation 
and assigned them to work with JPDO's federal stakeholders. The NGATS 
Institute Management Council, composed of top officials and 
representatives from the aviation community, provides a means for 
advancing consensus positions on critical NGATS issues. However, a 
critical stakeholder in the nation's air traffic control system has yet 
to become an active participant in this forum. Air traffic controllers, 
who work in the current system and will play a key role in the NGATS, 
have not been involved in JPDO's efforts. In the past, FAA's failure to 
adequately involve air traffic controllers in its acquisition of new 
technologies, such as the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement 
System--a workstation for air traffic controllers--contributed to 
costly rework and schedule delays. A challenge for JPDO could be 
sustaining nonfederal stakeholders' participation in an effort where 
tangible benefits may not be realized until several years in the 
future. JPDO also faces the challenge of convincing nonfederal 
stakeholders that the government is financially committed to the NGATS. 
Additionally, JPDO could face a challenge in resolving the divergent 
perspectives that are represented by its nonfederal stakeholders. 

JPDO is using an iterative process to address the technical planning 
needed to develop the NGATS that appears reasonable in light of the 
system's complexity. The office has assembled a suite of models to 
iteratively analyze and understand the interactions among system 
performance parameters, demand, and economic factors, and has developed 
an enterprise architecture, or "blueprint," for the NGATS. JPDO is 
testing the adequacy of its suite of models, publishing the results, 
and seeking peer review opportunities. However, these modeling efforts, 
including those addressing human factors, are currently in the early 
stages, and more time and field testing will be needed to increase 
confidence that the final range of solutions for the NGATS is based on 
realistic assumptions. With respect to enterprise architecture, JPDO 
has established the organizational structure for enterprise 
architecture development--an important first step--and anticipates 
having an initial version of the architecture by the end of fiscal year 
2006. Recognizing that further work will be required, JPDO is using a 
multiyear phased planning approach in which the enterprise architecture 
will be continuously refined. This "build a little, test a little" 
approach is similar to a process that we have previously advocated for 
FAA's major system acquisition programs. 

Background: 

FAA, with research assistance from NASA, has had the primary 
responsibility for planning and implementing national airspace system 
modernization since these efforts began more than 20 years ago. 
Recently, FAA placed the modernization program under a new Air Traffic 
Organization, headed by a Chief Operating Officer. JPDO's approach 
differs from FAA's past modernization efforts in that its scope is 
"curb-to-curb," encompassing in-terminal passenger and baggage security 
screening and environmental issues. Additionally, JPDO's approach will 
require unprecedented consensus and cooperation among many 
stakeholders--federal and nonfederal--about necessary system 
capabilities, equipment, procedures, and regulations. JPDO seeks to 
leverage the resources of NASA and the Departments of Transportation, 
Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security, each of which has expertise 
and technology that will play a part in the NGATS. For example, the 
Department of Defense has deployed "network centric" systems, 
originally developed for the battlefield, which are being considered as 
a framework to provide all users of the national airspace system--FAA 
and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security--with a common 
view of that system. 

Concurrent with JPDO's efforts, the European Commission[Footnote 5] is 
conducting a project to harmonize and modernize the pan-European air 
traffic management system. Known as the Single European Sky Air Traffic 
Management Research Programme (SESAR), the project is being managed by 
the Air Traffic Alliance, an industry partnership that was awarded the 
management contract by the European Organisation for the Safety of Air 
Navigation (Eurocontrol).[Footnote 6] Eurocontrol develops, 
coordinates, and plans for the implementation of pan-European air 
traffic management strategies. While the U.S. and European efforts are 
both directed at modernization, Europe faces the additional challenge 
of harmonizing its air traffic control system--currently operated 
through a patchwork of national air navigation service providers. The 
work of the SESAR effort, which was scheduled to officially start this 
month, is being done by a 30-member consortium of airlines, air 
navigation service providers, airports, manufacturers, and others. The 
consortium is receiving 60 million euros ($73 million)[Footnote 7] to 
conduct a 2-year definition phase and produce a master plan for SESAR. 
The next steps following the definition phase, from 2008 to 2013, are 
currently under discussion. One proposal would develop the technologies 
for the new system and would be funded annually at 300 million euros 
($363 million) per year, with equal contributions being provided by the 
European Commission, Eurocontrol, and other parties. 

JPDO Is Engaging in Effective Practices for Interagency Collaboration, 
but Faces Challenges in Leveraging Resources and Defining 
Responsibilities: 

Our work to date shows that JPDO has engaged in practices to facilitate 
federal interagency collaboration, including defining and articulating 
a common outcome; establishing mutually reinforcing or joint 
strategies; and beginning to leverage the partner agency resources 
needed to perform the centralized, interagency planning function for 
the detailed implementation of the NGATS. However, JPDO faces a 
challenge in leveraging resources because it is fundamentally a 
planning and coordinating body that lacks authority over the key human 
and financial resources needed to continue developing plans and system 
requirements for the NGATS. Additionally, JPDO faces the challenge of 
clearly defining roles and responsibilities among its partner agencies. 
Our work has shown that collaborating agencies should work together to 
define and agree on their respective roles and responsibilities, 
including how the collaborative effort will be led. To its credit, JPDO 
is taking some actions to mitigate these challenges. 

JPDO Has Articulated a Common Outcome, Established Mutually Reinforcing 
or Joint Strategies, and Begun to Leverage Resources: 

JPDO's integrated plan provides a vision statement that elaborates on 
the broadly stated common outcome set forth by the Vision 100 
legislation--an air transportation system that meets potential air 
traffic demand by 2025. In working together to develop JPDO's 
integrated plan, the partner agencies agreed upon a broad statement of 
future system goals, performance characteristics, and operational 
concepts. Our research shows that, for interagency collaborative 
efforts to overcome significant differences in agency missions, 
cultures, and established ways of doing business, the agencies must 
have a clear and compelling rationale to work together. JPDO's partner 
agencies agreed to a vision statement: a transformed air transportation 
system that provides services tailored to individual customer needs, 
allows all communities to participate in the global economy, and 
seamlessly integrates civil and military operations. 

The plan also provides eight strategies--again developed by the partner 
agencies--that broadly address the goals and objectives for the NGATS. 
JPDO has formed eight integrated product teams (IPTs), one for each 
strategy. Our work has shown that mutually reinforcing or joint 
strategies help in aligning the partner agencies' activities, core 
processes, and resources to accomplish the common outcome. In addition 
to jointly identifying the strategies for the NGATS, the various 
partner agencies have taken the lead on specific strategies. (See table 
1.) JPDO is currently reevaluating whether all of these IPTs should be 
expected to create products. For example, the IPT that is addressing 
the global interoperability strategy might be more likely to have cross-
cutting influence over the other seven IPTs, rather than developing a 
product of its own, according to JPDO officials. 

Table 1: JPDO's Strategies and Responsible Agencies: 

Strategy: Develop airport infrastructure to meet future demand; 
Lead agency: Federal Aviation Administration. 

Strategy: Establish an effective security system without limiting 
mobility or civil liberties; 
Lead agency: Department of Homeland Security. 

Strategy: Establish an agile air traffic system that quickly responds 
to shifts in demand; 
Lead agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

Strategy: Establish shared situational awareness--where all users share 
the same information; 
Lead agency: Department of Defense. 

Strategy: Establish a comprehensive and proactive approach to safety; 
Lead agency: Federal Aviation Administration. 

Strategy: Develop environmental protection that allows sustained 
aviation growth; 
Lead agency: Federal Aviation Administration. 

Strategy: Develop a systemwide capability to reduce weather impacts; 
Lead agency: Department of Commerce. 

Strategy: Harmonize equipage and operations globally; 
Lead agency: Federal Aviation Administration. 

Source: GAO presentation of JPDO data. 

[End of table] 

The National Research Council, in its recent study of JPDO, noted the 
IPT structure is oriented by discipline, which the Council believes 
works against a product orientation. The Council recommended that JPDO 
reorganize into three IPTs that parallel the way FAA currently 
organizes its operations--airport, terminal, and en route/oceanic. JPDO 
officials do not agree with this recommendation. They told us that the 
existing airspace segmentation by phase of flight--airport , terminal, 
and en route--creates inefficiencies. As aircraft transition from one 
phase of flight to the next, they encounter a "speed bump." For 
example, operations are slowed as en route air traffic controllers 
transfer responsibility for aircraft to terminal controllers. This 
segmentation is not part of JPDO's vision for the NGATS. In our view, 
if JPDO's IPT structure begins to show evidence that it is hindering 
rather than promoting progress toward achieving NGATS goals, JPDO might 
look again at the Council's recommendations to determine whether a 
different structure or fewer IPTs would help it achieve its goals. In 
the end, the progress and outcomes achieved by the structure are as 
important, if not more important, than the organizational model 
selected. 

JPDO has begun leveraging the resources of its partner agencies, which 
is another practice that we have found helps facilitate interagency 
collaboration. Our research shows that collaborating agencies should 
identify the human, information technology, physical, and financial 
resources needed to initiate or sustain their collaborative effort. To 
leverage human resources, JPDO has staffed its organization with 
partner-agency employees, many of whom work for JPDO as a collateral 
duty. The JPDO board, which provides coordination between partner 
agencies and JPDO, is composed of key executives of the partner 
agencies who can facilitate bringing agency resources to bear on NGATS 
development. JPDO's eight IPTs, which are developing the plans and 
requirements for the NGATS, include staff from the partner agencies. 
Additionally, Vision 100 created the Next Generation Air Transportation 
Senior Policy Committee, composed of partner agency senior executives, 
to provide ongoing policy review and identify resource needs from the 
partner agencies. (See fig. 1.) 

Figure 1: JPDO Organization Chart: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

To further begin leveraging resources, during the past year JPDO 
conducted an interagency program review of its partner agencies' 
research and development programs to identify the work that could 
support the NGATS, as well as identify areas for more effective 
interagency collaboration. Through this process, JPDO identified early 
opportunities that could be pursued during fiscal year 2007 to produce 
tangible results for the NGATS. For example, JPDO noted that FAA had 
amassed considerable technical expertise in the standards, protocols, 
and near-term air traffic applications for Automatic Dependent 
Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). ADS-B is a technology through which an 
aircraft broadcasts information on its position to ground-based 
transceivers, rather than having its position detected by ground-based 
radars. JPDO envisions FAA beginning to purchase ADS-B transceivers, 
decommission obsolete ground-based radars, and develop air traffic 
procedures that would permit ADS-B-equipped aircraft to obtain near-
term operational benefits such as routings that save fuel. 

JPDO Faces Challenges in Continuing to Leverage Resources and Defining 
Roles and Responsibilities: 

Although JPDO's legislation, integrated plan, and established 
governance structure provide the framework for institutionalizing 
collaboration among multiple federal agencies, JPDO is fundamentally a 
planning and coordinating body that lacks authority over the key human 
and financial resources needed to continue developing plans and system 
requirements for the NGATS. Consequently, leveraging resources on a 
continuing basis will be critical to JPDO's success. Our research has 
also shown that agreement on roles and responsibilities facilitates 
interagency collaboration. However, in JPDO's situation, some important 
roles and responsibilities have not yet been clearly defined. 

The challenge of leveraging resources will likely intensify beginning 
in 2008, when JPDO expects a significant increase in the workload of 
its IPTs. JPDO anticipates needing more resources for the IPTs to, 
among other things, plan demonstrations of potential technologies to 
illustrate some of the early benefits that could be achieved from the 
transformation to the NGATS. JPDO officials told us that, although the 
partner agencies have not yet expressed concerns over the time that 
their employees spend on JPDO work, it remains to be seen whether 
partner agencies are willing to allow their staff to devote larger 
portions of their time to JPDO as the office develops more detailed 
plans and requirements for the NGATS. Partner agencies have a variety 
of missions and priorities other than supporting the NGATS. Some 
partner agency employees, including some IPT directors, have been told 
by their partner agencies that their work for JDPO is approved so long 
as it does not interfere with their regular assigned duties. Such 
resource issues would ultimately go to the Senior Policy Committee for 
resolution. However, the role of the committee's members, as stated in 
Vision 100, is only to make recommendations to their respective 
agencies for the required resources. 

The challenge of leveraging financial resources has already manifested 
itself. As JPDO requested, FAA included in its fiscal year 2007 budget 
request to the Office of Management and Budget funding to accelerate 
systems development of ADS-B and System Wide Information Management 
(SWIM),[Footnote 8] which are two key systems identified for the NGATS. 
However, JPDO officials told us that, while FAA did receive an 
increase, it did not receive the full amount requested in the budget 
formulation documents submitted to the Office of Management and 
Budget.[Footnote 9] Our past work on FAA's national airspace 
modernization program has shown that, among other factors, receiving 
fewer resources than planned contributed to delays in implementing 
technologies and significant cost increases. For example, reduced 
funding was one factor that caused FAA to reduce the initial deployment 
of its ASR-11 digital radar system from 111 systems to 66 systems, and 
defer decisions on further deployment pending additional study. In the 
meantime, FAA will have to continue to maintain the aging analog radars 
that the new system was intended to replace. 

JPDO also faces the challenge of clearly defining roles and 
responsibilities among its partner agencies. Our work has shown that 
collaborating agencies should work together to define and agree on the 
respective roles and responsibilities, including how the collaborative 
effort will be led. In JPDO's case, there is no formalized long-term 
agreement on the partner agencies' roles and responsibilities in 
creating the NGATS. According to JPDO officials, a memorandum of 
understanding that would define partner agency relationships was being 
developed as of August 2005, but has not yet been completed. 

Defining roles and responsibilities is particularly important between 
JPDO and FAA's Air Traffic Organization, since both organizations have 
responsibilities related to planning national airspace system 
modernization. JPDO's planning must build upon the Air Traffic 
Organization's existing modernization program, while the Air Traffic 
Organization must ensure that its ongoing modernization efforts are 
consistent with JPDO's plans. JPDO's former director served 
concurrently as the Air Traffic Organization's Vice President for 
Operations Planning, which helped with coordination between the two 
organizations. However, FAA now plans to establish separate positions 
for the JPDO Director and the Air Traffic Organization Vice President 
for Operations Planning. Doing so increases the importance of having a 
clearly defined relationship between these organizations. 

Ultimate decisionmaking authority is another role and responsibility 
that has not been clearly defined. According to JPDO, decisions are the 
collective responsibility of the government agencies. The Senior Policy 
Committee makes decisions through consensus of the members. If there 
are any issues that the committee cannot resolve among themselves, JPDO 
officials expect that the Secretary of Transportation would elevate 
these issues to the appropriate White House-level policy council, such 
as the Domestic Policy Council. Although JPDO strives to make decisions 
and resolve disputes through its collaborative bodies, its experience 
thus far is limited. It is not clear whether this process will be 
effective as the NGATS planning and implementation effort moves 
forward. As part of our ongoing work, we will further explore the 
decisionmaking and dispute resolution mechanisms within JPDO. 

To its credit, JPDO, in concert with the Air Traffic Organization, has 
begun to address these challenges. To assist with leveraging resources, 
JPDO has issued guidance to its partner agencies identifying areas that 
JPDO would like to see emphasized in their fiscal year 2008 budget 
requests. The Air Traffic Organization, in recognition of the need to 
align its plans with the 20-year planning horizon of JPDO, has extended 
its planning horizon. Finally, JPDO is working with the Office of 
Management and Budget to develop a systematic means of reviewing 
partner agency budget requests so that the NGATS-related funding in 
each budget request is easily identified. Such a process would help the 
Office of Management and Budget consider NGATS as a unified program 
rather than as disconnected line items across partner agency budget 
requests. To better define roles and responsibilities, JPDO planned to 
transmit the proposed memorandum of understanding to the JPDO board 
this month. 

JPDO Established Mechanisms to Involve Stakeholders but Faces 
Challenges: 

As required by Vision 100, JPDO developed and implemented mechanisms 
for soliciting the expertise and views of federal and nonfederal 
stakeholders as it plans the NGATS. Although JPDO has obtained the 
involvement of over 180 participants from over 70 organizations for the 
IPTs, the current air traffic controllers--who will play a key role in 
the NGATS--have not been involved in JPDO's efforts. In addition, JPDO 
may face challenges in sustaining stakeholder involvement over the long 
term. 

JPDO Is Involving Federal and Nonfederal Stakeholders: 

JPDO has structured itself in a way that involves federal and 
nonfederal stakeholders throughout its organization. Vision 100 
directed JPDO to involve federal and nonfederal stakeholders as it 
fulfills its mission. Our work shows that involving stakeholders can, 
among other things, increase their support for the collaborative 
effort. Federal stakeholders from the partner agencies participate with 
JPDO through the Senior Policy Committee, the JPDO board, and the IPTs. 
To incorporate the expertise and views of stakeholders in private 
industry, state and local governments, and academia, the NGATS 
Institute (the Institute) was created by an agreement between the 
National Center for Advanced Technologies and FAA.[Footnote 10] 

Within the Institute, the Institute Management Council (the Council), 
composed of top officials and representatives from the aviation 
community, oversees the policy and recommendations of the Institute. 
The Council provides a means for advancing consensus positions on 
critical NGATS issues. It is co-chaired by the president of the Air 
Transport Association, which represents commercial airlines, and the 
president of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents airline 
pilots. The Institute has solicited participation from nonfederal 
stakeholders and assigned them to each IPT. Additionally, the Institute 
planned to hold its first public meeting on March 28, 2006, to solicit 
information from other interested stakeholders who are not involved in 
the Council or the IPTs. 

JPDO officials are generally pleased with the quality of stakeholder 
participation. Through the Institute, JPDO obtained the participation 
of over 180 stakeholders from over 70 organizations for the IPTs. The 
Institute received positive feedback from IPT directors on the skills, 
insight, and expertise of the private sector volunteers. Additionally, 
an official affiliated with the Institute told us that the collective 
quality and breadth of expertise of applicants for the IPTs has 
exceeded expectations. 

However, JPDO has experienced difficulties with soliciting the 
participation of current air traffic controllers, who will play a key 
role in the NGATS. The current air traffic control system is based 
primarily on the premise that air traffic controllers direct pilots to 
maintain safe separation between aircraft. In the NGATS, this premise 
could change and, accordingly, JPDO has recognized the need to conduct 
human factors research on such issues, including how tasks should be 
allocated between humans and automated systems, and how the existing 
allocation of responsibilities between pilots and air traffic 
controllers might change. JPDO is tapping the expertise of former air 
traffic controllers, but current air traffic controllers are not yet 
involved with JPDO. 

Specifically, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)-
-the labor union that represents air traffic controllers--is not 
participating in the development of the NGATS. In July 2005, FAA 
terminated the controller liaison program, wherein active controllers 
were assigned to, among other things, provide input on national 
airspace modernization projects. At that time, the union disengaged 
from participating on all FAA workgroups and technological projects, 
including JPDO. Although the Institute Management Council includes a 
seat for the union, an official of that union told us that the union's 
head had been unable to attend the Council's meetings. According to 
JPDO officials, the Council has left a seat open in hopes that the 
controllers will participate in the NGATS effort at the end of the 
contract negotiations between FAA and NATCA. 

The lack of current air traffic controllers' participation could result 
in future problems. The input of current air traffic controllers who 
have recent experience controlling aircraft is important in considering 
human factors and safety issues. Our work on FAA's current national 
airspace modernization program has shown that early and continuing 
stakeholder input is important, particularly concerning human factors, 
in avoiding costly rework and schedule delays late in system 
development efforts. For example, as FAA procured new air traffic 
controller workstations (known as Standard Terminal Automation 
Replacement Systems (STARS)), not adequately including stakeholders 
during the development phase contributed to unplanned work which, in 
turn, contributed to cost growth, schedule delays, and eventually a 
reduction in the number of systems to be deployed.[Footnote 11] 

Another method for stakeholder involvement is through JPDO's 
facilitation of technology transfer in its requests for studies to be 
contracted out through the Institute. For example, at JPDO's request, 
the Institute plans to analyze trade-offs between potential 
technologies to narrow the range of options that are most critical for 
the NGATS. JPDO has sent to the Institute its first request for 
studies, including an analysis of satellite navigation backup 
technology. 

The Institute also creates industry-government partnerships through 
advanced-technology demonstrations. These demonstrations provide a 
mechanism for collaboratively testing operational concepts, refining 
requirements, and sharing technology between the public and private 
sectors. To date, two demonstration projects have been conducted by 
JPDO partner agencies, including demonstrations on the Small Aircraft 
Transportation System and Network Enabled Operations. 

JPDO Faces Challenges in Maintaining Nonfederal Stakeholder Support 
Over the Long Term: 

Although JPDO has developed the mechanisms for involving stakeholders 
and brought stakeholders into the process, JPDO faces challenges in 
sustaining nonfederal stakeholder participation over the long term. 
Much as with the federal partner agencies, JPDO has no direct authority 
over the human and financial resources of its nonfederal stakeholders. 
To date, these stakeholders' investment in the NGATS effort has been 
through their pro bono participation on the IPTs and the Institute 
Management Council. The nonfederal stakeholders' participation varies 
from approximately 10 to 25 percent of their time per week on the IPTs 
and involves approximately one meeting per month for members of the 
Council. The challenge for JPDO is to maintain the interest and 
enthusiasm of these nonfederal stakeholders, who will have to juggle 
their own multiple priorities and resource demands in order to maintain 
this level of participation, when some tangible benefits may not be 
realized for several years. For example, stakeholder support will be 
important for programs such as SWIM, which is a necessary prerequisite 
to future benefits, but may not produce tangible benefits in the near 
term. 

Rather than obtaining voluntary, pro bono participation from nonfederal 
stakeholders, several members of our expert panel suggested JPDO should 
outsource the NGATS planning efforts, as Europe has done. As previously 
noted, the European SESAR effort is led by an industry consortium under 
a contract with Eurocontrol. The contract calls for the consortium to 
deliver a master plan at the end of a 2-year definition phase. JPDO 
officials told us that they considered various ways to structure their 
work, such as having the government formulate plans with industry 
comment, or having industry formulate plans and provide them to the 
government. JPDO settled on the existing model, which is a hybrid that 
involves initial government work with close industry participation. 
Because of the different circumstances surrounding the U.S. and 
European approaches (such as the European need to harmonize various 
national systems), we have not taken a position on which approach might 
be more effective. 

In the wake of past national airspace modernization efforts, JPDO also 
faces the challenge of convincing nonfederal stakeholders that the 
government is financially committed to the NGATS. While FAA's major air 
traffic control acquisitions programs are currently on track, earlier 
attempts at modernizing the national airspace system encountered many 
difficulties. In one instance, for example, FAA developed a controller-
pilot datalink communications system that transmitted scripted e-mail-
like messages between controllers and pilots. One airline equipped its 
aircraft with this new technology, but because of funding cuts, FAA 
ended up canceling the program.[Footnote 12] In a similar vein, we have 
reported that some aviation stakeholders expressed concern that FAA may 
not follow through with its airspace redesign efforts and are hesitant 
to invest in equipment unless they are sure that FAA's efforts will 
continue.[Footnote 13] One expert with whom we spoke suggested that a 
way to mitigate this issue would be for the government to make an 
initial investment in a specific technology before requesting that 
airlines or other industry stakeholders purchase equipment. 

Finally, JPDO could face a challenge in resolving the potentially 
divergent perspectives that are represented by its nonfederal 
stakeholders. The range of nonfederal interests that JPDO has solicited 
for this effort is broad and varied, and potentially conflicting (for 
example, the interests of commercial airlines versus the interests of 
general aviation aircraft owners and pilots). While the intent is to 
ensure that all stakeholders are given the opportunity to participate 
in developing the NGATS, dissension among these stakeholders is 
nevertheless possible. A large portion of the nonfederal stakeholder 
participation is through the IPTs. JPDO officials told us that they 
expect IPT directors to resolve potential disputes among stakeholders 
and obtain a "convergence of opinion," which is defined by JPDO as 
working toward as close to a single position as possible while 
recognizing that the IPT director might need to make a final decision. 
JPDO officials told us that depending on the issue, the IPT director 
may elect to elevate the different views to the collection of IPT 
directors and senior JPDO officials for resolution. In such a 
situation, JPDO will be challenged to settle the dispute without 
alienating those nonfederal stakeholders who might believe themselves 
to be adversely affected by the decision. 

JPDO Is Using an Iterative Technical Planning Process: 

JPDO is using an iterative technical planning process that appears to 
be reasonable in light of the complexity of the NGATS. The planning 
process includes conducting modeling--a technique that mathematically 
represents the NGATS' system performance parameters, demand, and 
economic factors--as well as developing an enterprise architecture--a 
blueprint to guide NGATS development. 

JPDO Has Begun to Use System Performance Modeling: 

JPDO has formed an Evaluation and Analysis Division (EAD), composed of 
FAA and NASA employees, and contractors, to assemble a suite of models 
that mathematically represent the interactions among system performance 
parameters, demand, and economic factors for the NGATS. These models 
iteratively test the relationships and interactions among factors based 
on a set of assumptions. For example, using models based on broad 
assumptions concerning fleet mix and passenger and flight demand, EAD 
has evaluated how the current air transportation system and proposed 
NGATS alternatives react. EAD has also used modeling to determine 
whether current airport capacity is sufficient to support a tripling of 
air traffic. The modeling results will help JPDO further refine its 
plans for the NGATS, leading to additional modeling that uses more 
precisely defined assumptions, all the while narrowing the range of 
potential solutions. In addition, EAD is modeling costs and benefits of 
proposed NGATS solutions, as well as interactions among system 
performance parameters, demand, and economic factors, to demonstrate to 
JPDO management and the Office of Management and Budget that the 
proposed solutions are a cost-effective way to meet strategic goals and 
objectives. 

Rather than creating its own models, EAD is assembling a suite of 
existing models from FAA, other agencies, and contractors. To assess 
the adequacy of these models, EAD has compared the results obtained 
from them to known previous conditions. For example, to assess how 
accurately a model reflects the impact of adverse weather on airport 
capacity, EAD has compared the model's results to what actually 
happened in a previous bad-weather event. In this case, the model 
proved to be accurate, thereby validating its further use. 

EAD recognizes the importance of human factors in designing the NGATS, 
but has just begun studying this issue. Specifically, EAD has used 
modeling to study how possible changes in the duties of key 
individuals, such as air traffic controllers, could affect the workload 
and performance of others, such as airport ground personnel. NGATS 
could shift some tasks now done by air traffic controllers to pilots. 
However, EAD has not yet begun to model the effect of this shift on 
pilot performance because, according to an EAD official, a suitable 
model has not yet been incorporated into the modeling tool suite. 
According to EAD, addressing this issue is difficult because data on 
pilot behavior are not readily available to use in creating such 
models. Furthermore, EAD has not studied the training implications of 
various NGATS-proposed solutions because further definition of the 
concept of operations for these solutions has not been completed. As 
the concept of operations matures, it will be important for air traffic 
controllers and other affected stakeholders to provide their 
perspectives on these modeling efforts. 

EAD plans to use outside experts to review the adequacy of its work. 
EAD will continue to publish results of its work in peer-reviewed 
journals. EAD officials said they are also exploring the possibility of 
pursuing a peer review relationship with SESAR officials. So far, 
however, EAD's modeling efforts are in the early stages and more time 
will be needed to conduct additional modeling and field testing to 
increase confidence that the final range of solutions for the NGATS is 
based on realistic assumptions. 

JPDO Has Taken the First Steps toward Developing an Enterprise 
Architecture: 

An enterprise architecture is a tool, or blueprint, for understanding 
and planning complex systems. It can facilitate NGATS planning by 
providing a strategic and integrated approach to decisionmaking. For 
example, enterprise architecture can help planners decide between 
various scenarios that involve flight takeoff, flight landing, and en 
route flight in bad weather. The NGATS enterprise architecture will 
provide the means for coordinating among the partner agencies and 
private sector manufacturers, aligning relevant research and 
development activities, and integrating equipment. The enterprise 
architecture will describe the current national airspace system, the 
NGATS, and the sequence of steps needed to transition between them. 

JPDO has taken the initial steps towards developing an enterprise 
architecture and plans to have an early version by the end of fiscal 
year 2006. The office has established and filled a chief architect 
position and established an NGATS Architecture Council composed of 
representatives from each partner agency's chief architect office. This 
provides the organizational structure and oversight needed to develop 
an enterprise architecture. While this is an important first step and 
consistent with effective practices that we have identified in 
enterprise architecture development, JPDO's enterprise architecture 
development is currently a work in progress. JPDO is working toward 
completing two tasks that we have also identified as effective 
practices. First, JPDO is planning to use the Federal Enterprise 
Architecture Security and Privacy Profile, currently under development 
by the Federal Chief Information Officer Council, to help ensure 
effective integration of security and privacy requirements across NGATS 
enterprise architecture. Second, JPDO is developing metrics that are to 
be compliant with guidance from us and the Office of Management and 
Budget to measure the enterprise architecture's progress in development 
and effectiveness-in-use by the end of fiscal year 2006. JPDO 
recognizes that the development of the NGATS architecture will be a 
multiyear process that will involve a series of interim architectures. 

JPDO's phased "build a little, test a little" approach for developing 
and refining its enterprise architecture is similar to a process that 
we have advocated for FAA's major system-acquisition programs. After 
completing the initial version of its enterprise architecture, JPDO 
plans to undertake a comprehensive assessment to determine if 
additional efforts are necessary to improve the architecture and 
address any gaps that may have been identified. In addition, this 
phased development process will allow JPDO to incorporate evolving 
market forces and technologies in its architecture, and thus, to better 
manage change. 

Concluding Observations: 

In closing, Mr. Chairman, ultimate responsibility for the success of 
JPDO and the broader NGATS effort is shared among JPDO and its partner 
agencies, nonfederal stakeholders, and the Congress. JPDO and its 
partner agencies have responsibility to develop a plan, test 
technologies through demonstrations, and implement technologies to 
transform the current national airspace system in a timely and cost-
efficient manner. Nonfederal stakeholders, including industry 
representatives, state and local government officials, and members of 
academia, must actively participate in developing the plan. Some of 
these stakeholders--such as commercial airlines and general aviation 
operators--will have to follow through by equipping their aircraft to 
realize the benefits of the NGATS. Finally, the success of the NGATS 
will undoubtedly require support from Congress to obtain the resources 
and authority necessary to complete the planning and testing stage, 
acquire the necessary technologies, and develop procedures. 
Consequently, Congress will face difficult decisions on how to 
prioritize funding to support the NGATS with other national priorities. 
These responsibilities are substantial, but failure in any one of these 
areas will significantly affect JPDO's chances of achieving a three-
fold increase in airspace capacity by 2025. 

This concludes my statement. I would be pleased to respond to any 
questions that you or other Members of the Subcommittee may have at 
this time. 

Contact and Acknowledgements: 

For further information on this testimony, please contact Gerald 
Dillingham at (202) 512-2834 or by e-mail at dillinghamg@gao.gov. 
Individuals making key contributions to this testimony include 
Nabajyoti Barkakati, Colin Fallon, David Hooper, Heather Krause, 
Elizabeth Marchak, Edmond Menoche, Faye Morrison, Richard Scott, and 
Sarah Veale. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry, 
Final Report (Nov. 2002). 

[2] The Air Traffic Organization is FAA's business unit that is 
responsible for operating, maintaining, and modernizing the nation's 
current air traffic control system. 

[3] GAO, Results-Oriented Government: Practices That Can Help Enhance 
and Sustain Collaboration among Federal Agencies, GAO-06-15 
(Washington, D.C.: Oct. 21, 2005). 

[4] National Research Council, Technology Pathways: Assessing the 
Integrated Plan for a Next Generation Air Transportation System 
(Washington, D.C.: 2005). 

[5] The European Commission is a politically independent institution 
that prepares and implements legislative instruments. 

[6] Eurocontrol is an autonomous organization established in 1963 with 
the intention of creating a single upper airspace. 

[7] A portion of this funding is in-kind services from Eurocontrol. To 
convert euros to U.S. dollars, we used 1.2098, the foreign exchange 
rate for Tuesday, March 21, 2006, as published in The Washington Post. 

[8] SWIM would support the transition to network-centric operations by 
providing the infrastructure and associated policies and standards to 
enable information sharing among all authorized users, such as the 
airlines, other government agencies, and the military. 

[9] FAA's fiscal year 2007 budget request for research and development 
includes about $18 million for JPDO, which is supplemented by matching 
funds from NASA. NASA has committed to continuing this match in the 
future, according to a JPDO official. JPDO uses these funds to conduct 
planning and studies. Outyear funding plans for JPDO show a slight 
decline through fiscal year 2010. Vision 100 authorized $50 million 
annually for seven years for JPDO. 

[10] The National Center for Advanced Technologies is a nonprofit unit 
within the Aerospace Industries Association. 

[11] GAO, National Airspace System: Transformation will Require 
Cultural Change, Balanced Funding Priorities, and Use of All Available 
Management Tools, GAO-06-154 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 14, 2005). 

[12] JPDO noted that FAA used this technology to conduct an operational 
datalink demonstration that will provide valuable information for 
developing future requirements and reducing development and 
implementation risks. 

[13] GAO-06-154.