To prepare for forecasted air traffic growth, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in partnership with other federal agencies and the aviation industry, is planning and implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), a new satellite-based air traffic management system that will replace the current radar-based system and is expected to enhance the safety and capacity of the air transport system. GAO was asked to review FAA's metrics for (1) tracking the status of NextGen programs and the implementation of NextGen capabilities, the reliability of those metrics, and any limitations or gaps and (2) measuring the performance and outcomes of NextGen capabilities that are implemented and any limitations. GAO analyzed FAA program progress reports and associated metrics for monitoring. GAO also reviewed agency performance and accountability reports and discussed internal performance reporting methods with FAA officials.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. To ensure that FAA can effectively manage NextGen solution sets, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to develop written policies and procedures for dispute resolution across different FAA lines of business and outline the appropriate roles of the solution set managers, program managers, and the NextGen Management Board in managing these portfolios of improvements.|
|Department of Transportation||2. To ensure that the outcomes and performance expected from NextGen improvements are understood and can be monitored, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to develop a timeline and action plan to work with industry and federal partner agencies to develop an agreed-upon list of outcome-based performance metrics and goals for NextGen broadly and for specific NextGen portfolios, programs, and capabilities. The Administrator should then share this list with the appropriate congressional oversight committees. Furthermore, the Administrator should establish a clear timeline to align NextGen performance metrics with FAA's agencywide goals and performance plans.|