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September 2004

Upcoming Workshop

The Joint Planning and Development Office will hold a Transportation Users Futures Workshop September 27-29th in Broomfield, Colorado. JPDO's workshops are a central element of the JPDO strategy development process.

A select group of senior managers in major air transportation user organizations will explore alternative operating environments - or "scenarios" - for the air transportation setting of 2025.

These scenarios have been developed by the Futures Working Group of the JPDO, under the direction of The Futures Strategy Group LLC. If you are interested in attending or would like more information, see the workshops page, or contact Shannon Werner at 650-569-3838, extension 109 or .

We've Moved!

JPDO is now located at:
1500 K Street, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005


Jeff Shane at podium

Under Secretary Shane Calls for Aggressive Action on Next Generation System

In a speech delivered to a joint Air Traffic Control Association/JPDO Symposium on Network Enabled Operations for Aviation, Department of Transportation Under Secretary for Policy Jeff Shane said, "We must take aggressive action now if we are to continue to enjoy an air transportation system that facilitates economic growth in the years ahead."

The Under Secretary described the progress that the JPDO has made to date on the National Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System, adding that "even while we work to refine that document, the JPDO is pushing forward." He pointed to the Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) which the JPDO is currently assembling. The IPTs "will develop the strategies and their accompanying action plans that will lead us to the Next Generation System."

Undersecretary Shane also made it clear that transforming the air transportation system does mean that current initiatives are being scrapped or put on the back burner. "We are taking a dual approach: we are working to address immediate operational and safety issues using existing programs wherever possible, while simultaneously developing longer-term solutions," he said.

Addressing the underlying theme of the symposium, Under Secretary Shane stated that "one of the most exciting and promising concepts for the Next Generation Air Transportation System is Network Enabled Operations." He went on to observe that the Next Generation System will "have to be NEO-centric" and that it will convey a number of tangible benefits including increased capacity and enhanced safety and security. The Under Secretary argued that "through NEO, the entire nature and focus of Air Traffic Management will change, and change for the better."

Under Secretary Shane concluded, "There can be no overstating the importance to America's future of the Next Generation Air Transportation System initiative. By continuing to work together as partners in this critical endeavor we can deliver a system that will ensure that aviation continues to be a driver of our national priority."

To read the entire speech, go to

NASA's Bold Vision for Air Transport
Principal Series
NASA Principal Terry Hertz

NASA has always been ahead of its time; that goes with the territory. However, such vision does not only apply to space exploration. Before Congress even began writing legislation creating the Joint Planning and Development Office, NASA's aeronautics arm had recognized the need to look beyond the immediate horizon and do something as bold as a transforming our air transportation system in an integrated fashion to meet current and future needs.

NASA JPDO Principal Terry Hertz, who is Director of Aeronautics Technology in the Office of Aeronautics, noted that the agency had already been supplying decision support management tools for air traffic control. In fact, 20 percent of Aeronautics' work involved air traffic management technology. "We find ourselves in a unique position in that our operational customers are outside of the agency," he added.

The 13-year NASA veteran went on to explain that NASA's Aerospace Technology Enterprise mission is a perfect fit for transformation. It is: "Pioneer and validate high-value technologies that enable new exploration and discovery and improve quality of life through practical application."

In this regard, Aeronautics Technology creates, matures and then transfers technology to its customers for a safer, more secure, more environmentally friendly and more efficient air transportation system. In other words, just what the JPDO needs to help meet a broad array of objectives that are being articulated in the National Plan.

This new technology that will enable the next Generation Air Transportation System also covers a broad spectrum of activities and products ranging from the Traffic Management Advisor tool already being used by the FAA to spaced-based communications to human performance measures. Most of these concepts are beyond the risk level or capabilities of NASA's partner organizations.

When asked when the flying public and users of the system could start seeing some of the benefits of transformation, Mr. Hertz replied that some of the enabling technology will appear in the next five years. However, he also sounded a note of caution, saying that the timetable is also dependent on how quickly the public wants the benefits and is willing to pay for them. Also affecting is benefit stream is FAA's disposition towards introducing this new technology. "NASA's job is to do the right thing and answer questions," he said."

Speaking about the National Plan that will be delivered to Congress on December 12, 2004, the Director of Aeronautics Technology described it as "an evolving document." He concluded that "one plan isn't good enough. We must step back and see what issues are open. We can't predict the future. We are dealing with enormously complex issues with large social consequences. We must keep our eyes set on the vision and then continue to work and learn."

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