Commission calls for integrating civilian, military air traffic management

Commission calls for integrating civilian, military air traffic management

The final report of the Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry, which Vice President Dick Cheney will accept tomorrow, urges the government to integrate its communications, navigation and surveillance infrastructures.

The U.S. aerospace industry is declining because of 'systemic failures' in air traffic management, commission chairman Robert S. Walker said today at a press conference in Washington. 'The government makes all decisions within vertical stovepipes. It needs far more horizontal decision-making.'

Among other reforms, the commission called for:

  • A new, highly automated air traffic management system for all classes of aircraft, interoperable with national air defense systems. The report suggested a multiagency design task force involving the Defense Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Homeland Security Office, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • A next-generation communications, navigation, surveillance and reconnaissance capability that would let the military 'move its forces around the world, conduct global precision strike operations and defend the homeland. 'The federal government needs a joint civilian and military initiative to develop this core infrastructure.'

  • Revision of DOD acquisition policies to encourage adoption of commercial standards and increase financial flexibility.

  • All 12 presidential and congressional appointees on the commission endorsed the final report, although former deputy DOD secretary John J. Hamre, a commission member, called its lengthy recommendations 'too general and diffuse' for the urgent actions he believes the government should take.

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