Another Critical Report on NextGen Opens Question of Whether Feedback Loop Should Convert from Constant to Periodic Comment

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ARTICLE: DoT Still Concerned About NextGen Progress

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The Inspector General of the US Department of Transportation issued a report on the FAA’s management of NextGen. The conclusions were that the FAA did in fact adopt some of our previous recommendations, but…….That is a standard formula of this watchdog’s criticisms of the agency’s administration of the most complex, challenging implementation of technology in the midst of an operating airline industry (NASA’s Moon mission was in an operational vacuum). It is also the 23rd IG report concerning NextGen issued in the last 28 months.

There is no doubt that all of the appraisals are valid but one senses that, however apt, the continuous evaluations are adding to the FAA’s burden. The staff assigned to design, build and implement NextGen must include a separate office to attend IG meetings, read IG reports and respond to the IG opinions. Those FAA people might increase the pace of IG implementation if they were assigned to issue contracts, monitor performance and implement new procedures.

Yes, it is clear that the IG is not going to relent and issue no more caustic reports, but maybe it is time to convert this from a seriatim process to a periodic review. Some of the watchdog’s actions are driven by Congressional letters, but even those might be folded into categories of commentary on the FAA’s work.

It’s not that the FAA should ignore the outside reviews, but rather that the NextGen staff should be given some more breathing room to devote to their work?

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