AirTrafficManagement.net’s Andrew Charlton interviewed Assistant Administrator for NextGen Major General Edward L Bolton Jr about his role as the FAA executive with the primary responsibility to make the new system work. Bolton’s addition to the FAA was a major enhancement of the technical and program management skills at 900 Independence Ave. As a sign of his leadership, he made recent, significant commitment to an October 18 date when he will announce:
“…a plan with my signature on it that has milestones, timelines, metrics [and] costs, by location, to deliver capability in the one-to-three year time frame in these areas…..That’s the ’s commitment to you all, and we will execute to those milestones.”
Since then there has been the unfortunate confluence of Deputy Administrator and Chief NextGen Officer Whitaker’s “Call for Action” and the OIG’s strongly negative report on the same ADS-B status.
The Charlton interview of Major General Bolton (see below “Stand and Deliver”) contains some very specific comments on Next Gen and really merits a complete reading. Here are a few quotes to whet the appetite:
“We work in three timeframes. There are the one to three year out issues that we need to address now. Then, there are the 2018-2020 timeframe issues. Finally, we need to look beyond that. What will happen after NextGen? We need to stay focused on all three of these areas. That is why the transparency and the cross-functionality are so important.”
“”The big areas we need to work on include Data Communication, Performance Based Navigation (PBN), surface movement and multiple runway operations,’ Bolton notes. ‘Data Comm is important internationally. Interoperability is vital to everything we do in ATM, and on Data Comm, I am sure we can get there. We are on the right path. We will map out convergence and make it happen.’”
“The time for that will come. Performance metrics alone don’t get the job done. Now, we are all about getting the work done and delivering benefits. There can be no performance unless we focus now on the activity that needs to be done. It is completely appropriate that we monitor and measure the work that we are doing. That is critical for future success.”
To Bolton, the issue comes back to transparency. “As I mentioned before, if everybody knows what you are doing, and how and why you are doing it, and how you are doing it, it is easier to keep everyone on-board and focused on the end goal of the most safe and efficient airspace possible. That includes our staff, industry and the airlines. That really is our biggest challenge.”
“A4A members acknowledge that this is our ‘Last, best, chance’ to make this happen. There is no doubt that the airspace users, the airlines, want this to succeed.”
The interview provides a sense that the FAA is going to achieve its goals. On October 18, when the General delivers his signed plan and on October 28 at the CN/GO’s “Call to Action”, industry will learn whether that expectation is realistic.
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