FAA gets its first chief operating officer

Russell G. Chew has been named the first chief operating officer for the Federal Aviation Administration, overseeing the operational and financial performance of the air traffic control system, the Transportation Department said Tuesday. He starts his new position Aug. 1.

Chew's task will be to shape FAA into a more businesslike organization that operates to strict performance measures. He will also oversee FAA's research and acquisition program.

The position was created in December 2000 as a requirement of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, or AIR-21 Act. 'Filling the COO position has been one of my top priorities, and we're pleased to have a person of Russ' caliber join the FAA," said FAA administrator Marion Blakey.

The lack of a chief operating officer has held back efforts to merge the air traffic control system's acquisition and operating functions, the General Accounting Office said in a May report. The COO is 'the 'change agent' responsible for improving the performance and delivery of air traffic services,' the report said. Previous uncertainties about the position's responsibilities, reporting relationships, and measurement criteria for performance hampered hiring a COO, GAO said.

Chew has nearly two decades of aviation industry experience at American Airlines. In his latest position, Chew directed the airline's day-to-day operations at American's central control center. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Southern California.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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