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Highlights

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) effort to modernize the nation's air traffic control (ATC) system has been listed by GAO as a high risk program for more than a decade now, due to systemic management and acquisition problems. Two relatively new organizations housed within FAA--the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO)--have been given the bulk of the responsibility for planning and implementing these modernization efforts. Congress created ATO to be a performance-based organization that would improve the culture, structure, and processes and improve accountability in the ATC modernization program. Congress created JPDO, made up of seven partner agencies, to coordinate the federal and nonfederal stakeholders necessary to plan a transition from the current air transportation system to the "next generation air transportation system" (NGATS). This testimony is based on GAO's recently completed and ongoing studies of the ATC modernization program. GAO provides information on (1) the status of ATO's efforts to implement processes and other initiatives aimed at efficiently managing and modernizing the current ATC system and (2) the status of JPDO's planning efforts and the key challenges that JPDO faces in planning for NGATS.

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