While FAA is making progress with elements of NextGen, longstanding problems with cost increases, schedule slips, and performance shortfalls persist, the Transportation inspector general has said in calling for action to address underlying causes of delays.
The FAA is managingthe transformation to the new air transportation system in part through its enterprise architecture plan,a key strategic planning tool that details integration and investment decisions required to advance NextGen, according to the IG.
It said that from January 2009 – May 2013, the agency made 157 key NextGen-related decisions in its EA. That’s progress, but some critical decisions have yet to be made and the EA’s usefulness has been limited because of incomplete information, a lack of policy and guidance, and unresolved NextGen design decisions.
The FAA needs an executable plan, and has faced delays in fielding foundational air traffic management hardware and software, frequent changes in senior leadership, and an industry that remains reluctant to invest in NextGen, the IG said.
It said the FAA’s recent reorganization may better position the agency to meet its NextGen goals but it’s early to say and key leadership positions remain vacant.
The agency largely agreed with recommendations to provide greater visibility into critical NextGen decisions and to assist in achieving a successful reorganization, but noted it already has in place a framework of milestones and governance to drive investment decisions aligned with its NextGen strategy, among other organized means of driving the multiyear transformation forward.