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Next Generation Air Transportation System
Background Information

Why is this initiative needed?
Today’s aviation system cannot meet 21st century needs. That was the conclusion of numerous studies and blue ribbon panels, including most recently, the National Research Council and the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. The current aviation system cannot tackle emerging safety and homeland security issues. It cannot adequately address more efficient and enlarged capacity and changing market conditions. It cannot restore let alone enhance America’s international leadership in aviation and aerospace. Given these challenges, piecemeal solutions or tinkering at the margins will not work. The future demands nothing less than the complete transformation of the U.S. air system.

What is the Next Generation Air Transportation System?
The 108th Congress and President Bush took the first critical step toward transforming our air transportation system by passing and signing into law VISION 100 - Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (P.L. 108-176) (33kb | pdf).

The Act calls for an integrated, multi-agency plan to transform the nation’s air transportation system to meet the needs of the year 2025 while providing substantial near-term benefits. This Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) Initiative will address critical safety and economic needs in civil aviation while fully integrating national defense and homeland security improvements into this future system.

Along with the private sector and academic community, the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Transportation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy are working together to design and build the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

The first product of this landmark effort was an Integrated National Plan (5.9mb | pdf), delivered to Congress in December 2004. This strategic business plan lays out a common vision for the Next Generation Air Transportation System, establishes benchmarks for our success, and establishes a structure by which we can design and implement the changes we need to make.

What is the Joint Planning and Development Office?
VISION 100 also created the Joint Planning and Development Office. Jointly managed by the FAA and NASA and supported by staff from all the agencies involved, the JPDO serves as a focal point for coordinating the research related to air transportation for all of the participating agencies.

Overseeing the work of the JPDO is a Senior Policy Committee chaired by the Secretary of Transportation that includes senior representatives from the participating departments and agencies and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Among its key responsibilities, the Senior Policy Committee provides policy guidance and review; makes legislative recommendations; and identifies and aligns resources that will be necessary to develop and implement the Integrated National Plan. Secretary Norman Mineta chaired the first meeting of the Senior Policy Committee on September 26, 2003.

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