FAA reorganization will alter IT purchases

FAA reorganization will alter IT purchases

A shakeup in the organization of the Federal Aviation Administration announced last week by Russell G. Chew, its new chief operating officer, will change the way the agency handles IT acquisitions.

The new structure will alter how FAA addresses major IT projects such as the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, an initiative to replace old air traffic monitors with modern displays that integrate weather and traffic data on the same screen. The project has been beset by major cost overruns and schedule delays.

'The acquisitions will be made by the people who will be using them,' Chew said. 'If you were going to buy a new stereo, you wouldn't have your neighbor buy it'you wouldn't get what you wanted.'

Charles Keegan, former associate administrator for research and acquisitions, once charged with overseeing all IT purchases, now is vice president of en route air traffic services and oceanic airspace services. His IT focus will narrow to systems such as the Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures and the En Route Automation Replacement Modernization, which will replace aging computer hardware and software.

Chew also promised 'more transparency' in how the agency makes its IT decisions. He said he anticipates getting input from all stakeholders, including the airline industry and air traffic controllers, before making decisions on where the agency will spend its efforts and money.

Chew said that, over the next six to eight months, the agency will interview all of its Washington employees, who represent the majority of the 38,000 employees under Chew's direction, as part of what he described as a 'massive re-engineering of how we do business.'

Chew reports directly to administrator Marion Blakey. In addition to Keegan, reporting to Chew will be:

  • David Johnson, terminal air traffic services
  • James Washington, flight advisory services

  • Linda Schuessler, air traffic control systems

  • Steve Zaidman, navigation services, and communication and maintenance support to operating service units

  • Steven Brown, strategic planning and operating performance for the ATO, National Airspace System supervision

  • Dennis DeGaetano, ATO policies in acquisition contracting and shared business services.

  • Blakey also announced the appointment of a new chief financial officer, Thomas R. Bloom, former director of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. In addition to major changes in personnel, IT acquisitions and organization, Blakey said FAA would change its fiscal policies to a 'true cost accounting system.'

    Chew in June left American Airlines to head FAA's newly created Air Traffic Organization, which manages the nation's air traffic control system. He has spent the past months reviewing an analysis of the current air traffic organization and devising the new structure.


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