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Highlights

The skies over America are becoming more crowded every day. The consensus of opinion is that the current aviation system cannot be expanded to meet this projected growth. Recognizing the need for system transformation, in 2003 Congress authorized the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) and requires the office to operate in conjunction with multiple federal agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. JPDO is responsible for coordinating the related efforts of these partner agencies to plan the transformation to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen): a fundamental redesign of the national airspace system. FAA will be largely responsible for implementing the policies and systems necessary for NextGen, while safely operating the current air traffic control system. GAO's testimony focuses on (1) the progress that JPDO has made in planning NextGen and some challenges it continues to face and (2) the challenges that FAA faces transitioning to NextGen. GAO's statement is based on our recent reports as well as ongoing work, all of which has been conducted in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

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