To prepare for future air traffic growth, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including its Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) and Air Traffic Organization, is planning and implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) in partnership with other federal agencies, such as the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security, and the aviation industry. NextGen will transform the current radar-based air traffic control system into a satellite-based system. As FAA begins implementing near-and midterm NextGen capabilities, a key challenge will be the extent to which FAA is able to integrate near and midterm improvements (those between 2012 and 2018) with long-term plans (beyond 2018). Furthermore, coordination among federal partner agencies and among various lines of business within FAA is important to ensure that NextGen implementation efforts are aligned. GAO's testimony focuses on (1) current mechanisms for and challenges to coordination among FAA and its partner agencies in implementing NextGen, (2) challenges and ongoing efforts to improve coordination across offices within FAA, and (3) issues related to integrating near- and midterm implementation plans with long-term NextGen plans. This statement is based on past and ongoing GAO work, and interviews GAO conducted with senior agency officials at FAA, JPDO and its partner agencies, and selected industry stakeholders.
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