US FAA officials should elevate and expand the role of the
office responsible for coordinating the next generation air transportation
system (NextGen), says a new paper released by the US
Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In a 10-page reply to lawmakers’ questions, the GAO
recommends that the director of the Joint Planning and Development Office
(JPDO) be promoted to the rank of associate administrator, reporting directly
to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.
The JPDO director currently reports to the head of the Air
Traffic Organization (ATO) despite a mandate to design NextGen
“This change might also lessen what some stakeholders now
perceive as unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape associated with decision-making
and other JPDO and NextGen processes,” says the GAO.
In addition, the status of the JPDO office within the ATO
structure “hinders its ability to interact on an equal footing with ATO and
other partner agencies”, according to the agency. “Therefore, it is important
for JPDO to have some independence from ATO.”
JPDO’s primary role as the NextGen coordinator also should be expanded to include an
oversight mission over the efforts of partner agencies and industry, says the