Report: NextGen "May Not Deliver"
The FAA is falling short in developing the NextGen airspace system, according to a report (PDF) released last week by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. Unless the FAA can do a better job of maximizing resources and controlling costs, "NextGen may not deliver the expected long-term benefits and ultimately puts billions of taxpayer dollars at risk," the report says. "FAA has not yet acquired the necessary skill sets and expertise to successfully implement NextGen." The report made five recommendations to the FAA, including a suggestion to set realistic benchmarks for training air traffic controllers and pilots in the use of new avionics and procedures. The FAA proposed appropriate action plans for addressing the recommendations, the report said.
The report says a number of critical actions are still needed for successful implementation. Most important, the FAA needs to set realistic expectations and firm requirements for what can be achieved in the midterm and realistically assess the risks. Also, the FAA is missing opportunities to leverage the research and development work of partner agencies that could significantly enhance NextGen development and reduce costs. For example, the FAA has yet to inventory the Department of Defense's vast research base for NextGen or fully leverage ongoing work for an accurate satellite-based precision landing system and net centric operations, the report found.