SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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STARS DEPLOYMENT UPDATE AND FAA OPERATIONAL EVOLUTION PLAN REVIEW
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
JUNE 13, 2001
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin, Vice-Chair
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
STEPHEN HORN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
ROBERT W. NEY, Ohio
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan
SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO, West Virginia
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
HENRY E, BROWN, Jr., South Carolina
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
MIKE FERGUSON, New Jersey
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
C.L. (BUTCH) OTTER, Idaho
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BILL SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
JOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BRIAN BAIRD, Washington
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
RICK LARSEN, Washington
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION
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JOHN L. MICA, Florida, Chairman
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
STEPHEN HORN, California
JACK QUINN, New York
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana, Vice Chairman
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MARK STEVEN KIRK, Illinois
TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois
DENNIS R. REHBERG, Montana
SAM GRAVES, Missouri
MARK R. KENNEDY, Minnesota
JOHN ABNEY CULBERSON, Texas
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN BOOZMAN, Arkansas
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
MAX SANDLIN, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
BILL PASCRELL, JR., New Jersey
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
NICK LAMPSON, Texas
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
BRAD CARSON, Oklahoma
JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL M. HONDA, California
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Belger, Monte R., Acting Deputy Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
ElSawy, Amr A., Senior Vice President, MITRE Corporation, and General Manager, MITRE Center for Advanced Aviation System Development
Fanfalone, Michael D., President, Professional Airways Systems and Specialists
Marchilena, Frank, Executive Vice President, Raytheon Company, and President, Command, Control, Communications and Information Systems
Stefani, Alexis M., Assistant Inspector General for Auditing, U.S. Department of Transportation
Zaidman, Steven, Associate Administrator, Research and Acquisitions, Federal Aviation Administration, accompanied by William R. Voss, Director, Terminal Business Service
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Costello, Hon. Jerry F., of Illinois
Lipinski, Hon. William O., of Illinois
LoBiondo, Hon. Frank A., of New Jersey
Millender-McDonald, Hon. Juanita, of California
Oberstar, James L., of Minnesota
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Belger, Monte R
ElSawy, Amr A
Fanfalone, Michael D
Stefani, Alexis M
ADDITION TO THE RECORD
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, statement
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTARS DEPLOYMENT UPDATE AND FAA OPERATIONAL EVOLUTION PLAN REVIEW
Wednesday, June 13, 2001
House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon John L. Mica [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. MICA. I would like to have your attention, please. We are going to go ahead and call the hearing of the Aviation Subcommittee to order this morning.
I would like to just state that the regular business will be opening statements from members of the Aviation Subcommittee. We do have two panels today. So, we have a full schedule. I believe there is going to be a vote in about 30 minutes, so we are going to try to get the opening statements in and possibly a statement by our first witness on this panel underway.
Today's hearing deals with both the STARS deployment and also an update on FAA operational evolution plan, which many of you heard about last week.
I will start with my opening statement. Today's hearing is part of our subcommittee's oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control modernization effort. I believe this hearing will provide us with the first opportunity to review FAA's recently announced operational evolution plan, also known as OEP.
The second panel today will help us in our continuing effort to monitor the progress of our STARS air traffic control modernization program.
Last week the Federal Aviation Administration announced its operational evolution plan which is designed to increase air system capacity and also modernize the air traffic control system.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC According to the FAA, the OEP should increase aviation system capacity by some 30 percent in the year 2010. This operational evolution plan was developed in partnership with the airlines, the unions, general aviation and aerospace manufacturers.
This plan, like many other FAA programs, unfortunately, is long overdue. I don't believe it is an ambitious plan. There are not any new programs that I can see that have been proposed by this OEP.
Instead, the OEP merely formalizes a written plan of action for several programs already underway at the FAA such as the Spring-Summer Plan, the Airspace Redesign, Free Flight and the Satellite Navigation Program.
The OEP integrates FAA's modernization efforts with those of the aviation industry. It allows the FAA to better manage and also to better coordinate the many aspects of air traffic control modernization and the aspects of development and deployment in particular.
It will also help the industry to develop schedules and financing necessary to equip fleets to use these new systems.
It appears as though the goals it has set, at least in our cursory review, are reasonable and also achievable.
However, with the problems of our very most congested airports, if we look at those problems, the operational evolutionary plan only gets us to where we need to be today some ten years down the road.
I must say I remain skeptical about FAA's ability to deliver all of the projects that they have outlined in the plan in the time frames detailed and also within budget.
Hopefully, however, FAA has begun to understand that cost overruns and schedule delays will no longer be tolerated. I know that Administrator Garvey and the FAA will do everything within their power to ensure that this new plan does not become part of a long list of broken FAA promises.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second half of today's hearing will continue our subcommittee's oversight of the STARS Program. STARS, like most of the FAA-ATC air traffic control modernization programs, has suffered through poor management, bad decisions and unfortunately, unrealistic goals.
I will not bore everyone with a rehash of the cost and schedule overruns that have plagued this program. Suffice it to say that it is years behind the original schedule and hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars over budget.
In the past, hearings on ATC modernization programs were conducted once or twice every several years. As I have said before, and I will repeat again, I intend to conduct them every few months until these systems are in fact up and running.
At our March 14 hearing, I asked the FAA to prepared three items for this hearing. First we requested an analysis of the milestones and costs associated with the delivery, installation and testing of STARS for the 164 sites outlined in the FAA's deployment schedule.
Secondly, I asked for a training strategy and a schedule for controllers and technicians that identifies the dates and the personnel requirements to meet the deployment schedule. Lastly, I asked for a contingency plan that evaluates whether additional Common ARTS are needed to support our terminal requirements.
The FAA has in fact completed most of these items and has briefed our subcommittee. However, it is my understanding that the Office of Management and Budget has stricken all references to costs from FAA's written testimony that is presented to us today.
Despite this, I expect our FAA witnesses to respond to today's requests, requests from this subcommittee, and provide us with cost information.
I am disappointed with OMB's attempt to keep this information from the public record. However, I believe it is critical that our subcommittee have this information as part of our oversight responsibilities.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me also announce today that the Aviation Subcommittee will conduct another hearing into the STARS Program and the progress it has made. This will be held the first week we get back in September, the week of September 10th.
We will continue to hold hearings until all the software development is complete and it is clear that STARS can be successfully deployed.
Some of you may know, I have also asked independent resources to analyze the progress we are making in some of the highly technical aspects in the development of software in particular.
I want to thank the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for their assistance in helping us with some independent evaluation and others who we will hear from today, including the Inspector General and their assessment of where we stand in the STARS Program.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. At this time I want to recognize our ranking member, the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I think you have covered everything very well in your opening remarks, so I want to make a motion that anyone who has opening remarks, they can insert them in the record and we get on with the testimony of the witnesses.
Mr. MICA. If that is without objection, if that is acceptable, then we will start immediately. I appreciate that.
I think folks are interested in hearing what the FAA has to say about this operational evolution plan. Our first witness, and he is the only witness in this panel, is Mr. Monte Belger. He is the Acting Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
He is going to provide us with, again, some details about the FAA plan that was announced last week. We are not going to run the clock on you. You are our only witness and we do want complete detail, which I think will be helpful to the subcommittee on your proposal.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, at this time you are welcome and recognized.
STATEMENT OF MONTE R. BELGER, ACTING DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Mr. BELGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do appreciate the opportunity to talk publicly about our Operational Evolution Plan, which we publicly announced last week. I want to take the time that I have to focus on putting this plan in perspective and putting it in context. Then, of course, we will be glad to respond to any specific questions.
Secretary Mineta has frequently, in his short time as the Secretary, talked about the critical issues facing us today and our ability to build infrastructure improvements to meet what everybody knows is going to be a continuing demand on our air transportation system.
We view this operational plan as the FAA's commitment to meet the air transportation needs of the United States over the next ten years.
The Secretary, the Administrator, and all of us in the FAA are committed to implementing this plan.
Before I say a few specific things about the plan, I would like to just take a moment to talk about the process we used and some of the goals we set and a couple of key points to keep in mind as we talk about the specifics of the plan.
First, we used a very open process to develop this plan. Actually, drafts of this plan were publicly available last December. We have had numerous meetings with industry. We have heard a lot of comments and a lot of ideas, which we have incorporated into our plan.
I think the result is a very thorough and comprehensive pulling together of a lot of initiatives and plans that were underway, but that perhaps didn't have the focus that they should have in terms of accountability and time lines and commitments.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I must also say at the outset that we would not have been able to develop this plan without the terrific analytical work of the MITRE Corporation who did a great deal of the analysis and the writing of the report.
We had two goals in mind when we started this. The first was safety, clearly. We wanted to make sure that everything we did, to some extent improved the tremendous safety record that we had and continue to have.
Second, we wanted a plan that would accommodate the growth and improve the performance of the air traffic control system. The bottom line is to provide more reliable and more dependable service to the folks who use our air transportation system every day.
I want to emphasize three points before talking specifically about the plan.
One is that this plan, as you said, Mr. Chairman, is a comprehensive snapshot of a lot of projects and a lot of initiatives that are already on the books. We haven't invented anything new, per se, in this plan.
The plan is also iterative. By that, I mean it is not going to look the same next year as it looks today. We are going to continuously be looking for ways that we can speed up implementation and new ideas for ways that we can continuously improve what we are already doing.
Also, a third point is that as we improve these initiatives, we are going to aggressively solicit ideas and look for the best technologies that will move our air transportation and air traffic control system 25 to 30 years in the future. We are not merely content that this ten-year plan is going to bring us to an end state.
As new ideas become implementable, as new ideas come to the point where we think they are operationally feasible, they will be included in our Operational Evolution Plan.
So, what is this Operational Evolution Plan? You know, the FAA has a variety of plans, technical plans, acquisition plans, safety plans, research plans. What we have tried to do here is to pull all of that together with some clear lines of accountability and some clear commitments as to all the things that need to be done to make these initiatives not just plans in a book, but truly implementable in the field, producing results.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, it is a realistic, pragmatic operational plan. It is not a research plan. It is not a concept plan. It is evolutionary in nature. I believe we have learned a lot over the past years. Some of our successes in the Free Flight Program, particularly, in that we have been most successful when we focus on execution in a rather incremental way.
The plan also only contains those things that we think are credible and realistically possible in the next ten years. We are not promising what we don't think we can deliver. We will upgrade the plan. Hopefully, we will be able to implement some of these initiatives even more quickly than are indicated in the plan.
So, one of the obvious questions that we get is: How is this plan different from other plans that the FAA has had in the past and does have today? Well, I think there are a couple of ways that it is different. One is, it is not just an FAA plan. It is an industry plan.
I think what we have heard in the past week or so is that there is a great deal of industry consensus and commitment to meeting some of the time lines and goals in this plan. It can't be done by the FAA alone. There are a lot of initiatives in here that will require the airlines to equip with certain types of equipment and avionics, not just in their airplanes but also in their dispatch offices.
A lot of these initiatives will require pilots, controllers and our safety folks to reach decisions on the safety adequacy of certain conclusions. So, there are a lot of activities that have to occur before we reach a point where we can say these initiatives are real. So, what we have tried to do in this plan is tie together all the safety certification work that needs to be done such as, the procedures development, the staffing issues, the equipment issues, the airline equipage issues. We have also tried to identify some of the ongoing research work that will continue as we implement these things. I think that is an important part of this plan. The FAA and NASA, particularly, have some very energetic initiatives underway from a research standpoint. As they mature to the point where we think they are operationally feasible, those research initiatives will be included in our plans.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another thing that is somewhat different about this plan is that we started by identifying the problems that we wanted to solve. We didn't start the OEP process as we have sometimes done in the past, by focusing on technology. In short what I can say about that is that all of the capacity constraints that we see in our system today can be traced to some specific problems.
We group these problems into four areas in the plan. They are the central focus of all of our efforts in this plan. Those four problem areas are arrival and departure range, which get to be very airport specific; en route or higher altitude congestion problems which are somewhat generic to the system; airport-specific weather conditions; and en route weather.
For each of these problem areas, as you look at the plan, you can see that we have identified some solutions. We have identified some kind of broad solution sets and then we identified specific solutions. For each one of those specific solutions, there is detailed information about the change that we expect, the benefits, the risks, the schedule and who is accountable in the FAA for the success of that particular initiative.
Obviously, one of the questions also is, well, when you do all of this, what do you really have? What are the benefits of implementing these initiatives? There are some very identifiable specific airport benefits which we have identified even in the Benchmark Report that we did several months ago. But in addition to those very specific airport initiatives, we think that by implementing all of these initiatives, we can accommodate about a 30 percent increase, as you said, Mr. Chairman, in commercial operations on a daily basis in the next ten years.
What that means, based on yesterday's approximately 38,000 air carrier departures in the United States, is that a 30 percent increase is about 11,000 additional departures per day. We think we can accommodate those 11, 000 additional departures in our system if we implement these initiatives.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One other point that is very important, for the discussion about benefits: No matter what the concepts or solutions are 25 to 30 years from now, the fundamental changes in this plan must be implemented. The fundamental move to satellite based communication and navigation, the fundamental change to more use of aircraft-generated data and the fundamental move to data exchange between controllers and the pilots, have to happen regardless of what end state we might be in in 25 or 30 years. That is why we think this is so important that we start now with focusing on implementation.
Let me close, if I could, Mr. Chairman, and then we will take whatever questions you might have. There are some very specific commitments in the plan. I won't go through all of those. I just want to highlight a couple of them.
There are specific commitments to new runways over the next ten years and the FAA actions that are necessary to open those new runways.
There are commitments to increased use of procedures that are based on satellite technology and based on information that is already available in the aircraft.
There are commitments to satellite technologies like the Wide Area Augmentation System and the Local Area Augmentation System. We are putting a stake in the ground that says we are going to get through a rule-making process and be able to implement reduced separation standards at high altitudes in domestic air space by 2004.
We are committing to future implementation of Free Flight Phase I and Phase II. We are committing to more use of satellite-based technologies like ADSB, which right now is allowing us to track aircraft in areas of Alaska where we don't have radar coverage.
We are committing to things like datalink, the exchange of information electronically, to begin in the Miami area in 2002. We are committing to new resources, including new staff for our Safety Certification Office, which has a tremendous workload in trying to keep up with this very quick pace of technology and making sure that we are making the right safety certification decisions.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are committing to improvements throughout the system both in the en route system and in the airport environment, including airspace redesign.
But having said that, perhaps maybe the most difficult thing in front of us, and Secretary Mineta has emphasized this a couple of times, is that maybe the most fundamental challenge that we face and maybe the hardest, is not the congestion and not the delays and not the technology needed to modernize the system. Maybe the most enormous challenge the FAA faces is getting everybody working together to solve these problems.
I think The New York Times editorial of last week, June 6th, I think it was, probably says it even better than I can. It says, ''The modernization plans, more than 50 separate items, add up to a realistic response to the current gridlock in the skies. But to work, it will require unprecedented cooperation between the FAA, airport authorities, airlines and contractors.''
Well, we are committed to making it work. We are committed to providing the leadership to bring the industry together to focus on implementation. I want to use this plan to turn our attention within the FAA and to turn the industry's attention to focus on how we can implement these initiatives more quickly. How do we get benefits sooner? I want to use this plan as the catalyst for we in the FAA and the industry to focus on these issues.
Mr. Chairman, I will respond to whatever questions there are.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Belger. I have had an opportunity to review the plan. I am pleased that the FAA has a vision to bring all of thesesystems that have been behind schedule and over budget together on some timetable and also integrate, hopefully, the highest level of technology, satellite navigation components into this, as we get to the ten-year projected completion.
However, I have some concerns. In the past the MITRE studies have shown that if we have in place all of the technological improvements that sort of were on the board or underway, sans the satellite navigational component, that we would only have a ten to fifteen percent efficiency.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is the additional efficiency out of the satellite component or how do we jump from 10 to 15 to 30 percent?
Mr. BELGER. I think, Mr. Chairman, that the 10 to 15 percent analysis that MITRE did, was probably associated with our Benchmark Report. It was a summary of all of the benefits that could be achieved at those specific airports as a result of the technology improvements.
That is a more airport-specific summary. The ranges in capacity improvements at those airports vary significantly. The 30 percent that I am talking about is more of a bigger picture, systemic increase.
Mr. MICA. You cited 11,000 per day increase in potential. The problem we have is not just having more flights. The problem is what you cite in your report on Page 2. Even when you have completed this increase in efficiency and capacity by 30 percent, on page 2 you have delay is concentrated at these airports. Then you have, ''The only airport under 29 percent is Atlanta. There are nine airports that have a 29 percent or greater arrival delay rate.''
This is where our congestion is. The only one that has an exception to this is Atlanta, which is 27 percent. They do also have plans, I think, and development underway of another airport.
But basically, your plan at these most congested airports gets us to not even a break-even point in ten years. Is that correct?
Mr. BELGER. That is correct. At those airports, that is correct.
Mr. MICA. Well, if it wasn't for these airports, we wouldn't have a problem. It is nice to have the additional increase in capacity, but we will still have the delays at these airports unless, what, we build more infrastructure? Because you can only land so many planes per hour at these airports, period, unless you have more runway capacity.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELGER. That is right.
Mr. MICA. We can have them land a little bit closer and faster as the Benchmark Study mentions and maybe with satellite navigation component included.
Finally, we have been behind schedule and over-budget in STARS, the component of this, and WAAS, our en route system. Another key component is the ASR11 radar component. We have been behind on that.
We are going to hear in a few minutes that we still have problems with that. We are behind in the oceanic modernization. What leads you to believe that we can bring these all together on time and on budget?
Mr. BELGER. Well, a couple of things. Number one, we have learned from some of those past programs. As I said, I think one of the things that we have learned, and I hope we never forget, is that the big bang, high-risk, unproven software programs are extraordinarily difficult. We ought to focus more on fast but incremental improvements to the system.
Number two, in some of those programs you have cited, I think we have also learned that we didn't have the commitment of our workforce to meet the same objectives that we were setting at the management level.
I don't think that is the same situation with this plan. I think we have the buy-in from our workforce to be successful here. This plan is not the high risk, big bang, unproven software-dependent program that some of those earlier programs were. I think that will help us be successful.
Mr. MICA. Thank you. Let me yield to Mr. Lipinski who is going to yield to Mr. DeFazio.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a couple of questions about the numbers we have heard, the 30 percent estimate, Mr. Belger.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am just curious. We have had a little bit of discussion about the things that have to come together in terms of the new systems. What other assumptions are you making, assumptions about new runways and assumptions about other infrastructure, things that would be put in place during that same time period?
Mr. BELGER. Well, we are assuming in this plan that there will be 14 new runways at the top 31 airports, the same airports that we identified in our Benchmark Study.
Mr. DEFAZIO. How many of those are currently in the application process or proposed?
Mr. BELGER. All of the 14. What we have focused on in this plan, and runways are a good example to make that point, are only those initiatives where something has been committed to the project such as Federal funds or a decision has been made to do it.
There are other airports where there are discussions about new runways, but we have not included those in the Operational Evolution Plan. We are trying to be pragmatic and realistic. The benefit of that is that it is perhaps causing other airports that are not in our plan to say ''Why not?' That is a good discussion to have. So, we are really pragmatic and practical and only committing the FAA to the staffing, the equipment, the procedures, and the safety decisions in timeframes that we think are real.
As other airports make decisions to build new runways, we will gladly put them in our plan.
Mr. DEFAZIO. I don't know that you have broken it out this way, but what percentage of the 30 percent increase in capacity could we attribute primarily to the runway construction which we are anticipating?
Mr. BELGER. A lot, an awful lot. Actually, there is a chart in the plan that lists the 31 Benchmark airports. Several of the columns in that chart show the increases in capacity we believe we will get and the increase in demand that we are forecasting for those airports.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You can very clearly see that at some airports the capacity increase is not going to keep up with demand. At others you can very clearly see that it will. By far, the biggest airport-specific increase is a result of new runways. That is clear.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Another thing, not just with this area but also in many areas in the past, I have had concerns about your certification process. I remember once having a discussion with someone from the FAA about a film which was used decoratively inside the plane, which was tested to be fireproof, which was fine.
But then it had to be tested on the wall surfaces of every plane type on which it was going to be used to be certain that it reacted in the same way.
Sometimes it seems like we take the certification process to absolutely absurd and unscientific lengths because of bureaucracy.
I recently had an opportunity to visit and see a demonstration of ADSB. I was very impressed. I was very impressed with where they are at, except they said, ''Well now we have to certify this on every single type in every configuration possible.''
I am wondering, are you rethinking any of that? Because it seems to me if you have a component or something that performs, it doesn't necessarily have to be tested in that manner to be sure that it is safe.
Mr. BELGER. We are rethinking that a lot, sir. One of the challenges that our Safety Certification folks have is that we are in an arena now with new systems. ADS-B is a good example where not only do you have to certify what is in the airport, you now have to certify what is on the ground. We have never really been in that arena before in terms of what level of certification criteria to apply to something on the ground that is just as important now as what is on the airplane in terms of the integrity, the reliability of the data. So, ADSB is a very good example.
We have actually now gotten to the point where we have signed an agreement with the folks who are developing ADSB. We have a certification plan outlined on paper as to what has to happen and when.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One of the other complexities when we are talking about certification is to be very clear about what we are certifying the equipment for. There are multiple potential uses of this new technology. Our certification folks have to be very, very clear as to what purpose it is going to be used for because the certification criteria is different depending upon the purpose for which you are going to use it.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Right. Are you looking at runway incursion problems or are you looking at free flight. They are totally different parts of a system.
Mr. BELGER. Right, right. If you are going to use it as an advisory, for example, that is one level of certification. If you are going to use it to make a specific separation decision, that requires a whole different level of certification.
Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you. My time has expired.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It is a very important hearing that you are having. I appreciate your doing this.
Mr. Belger, let me read to you a portion of a seven or eight page single-spaced staff memorandum on this, for this hearing today.
At one point it says, ''The largest of the modernization projects, the Advanced Automation System, was originally estimated to cost $2.5 billion with a completion date of 1996. The program, however, experienced numerous delays and cost overruns, which were blamed on both FAA and the primary contractor, IBM.
''In 1994, the FAA canceled part of the program and split the remaining systems into three phases and in several cases rebid the contracts.
''According to the General Accounting Office, almost $1.5 billion of the $2.6 billion spent on AAS was completely wasted. Only $1.1 billion worth of the work done on AAS was re-used in the successor programs. The IG estimates that only $20.9 million of the $396 million spent on TASS was salvaged for STARS.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''In addition, there was approximately 100 FAA employees working on the AAS Project from the mid1980's to 1994. GAO did not estimate the cost of the FAA employees. GAO estimates that FAA has spent an additional $660 million on interim projects to sustain and enhance current equipment.''
There are a lot of technical things about this that I don't really understand and I have never claimed to. But we all understand cost overruns and delays and things like that. That is my main concern. We keep looking into that.
What reassurances can you give us about that at this point?
Mr. BELGER. Well, without rehashing AAS, which has been dead for seven years now, I would like to think that we have learned a lot from that experience. AAS was a part of a much bigger modernization plan that goes back to the early 1980's.
A lot of that plan was successful. AAS was not. Nobody, I don't think, can claim that AAS was successful. But, since we restructured, as you said, in the 19941995 timeframe, we have been pretty successful, in my opinion.
We were very successful in our contract with Lockheed-Martin to put new hardware, new systems in all of our en route centers, part of that was primarily what AAS was on time and within budget.
There are a lot of other examples that I won't get into. But fundamentally, to reassure you, I would make two points: One, the commitments in this plan are such that if we are not successful in one part, the whole thing doesn't fail.
Number two, these are commitments to programs and initiatives which for the most part are already on the books. Our challenge with these won't be technology. Our challenge with these won't be software. Our challenge with these will be integrating these new initiatives into our system and making the right safety, people and human factors decisions to ensure that we are doing the right thing from a safety and efficiency standpoint.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, and maybe most important in relation to AAS, is, I believe, that we have the support of our workforce, particularly the labor organizations, to be successful with these initiatives. We have included them every step of the way.
Mr. DUNCAN. I think that was good and I think that is a positive sign for the future. But I do want to make sure. When you say that the programs and the technology and the software and so forth are things that are for the most part, you said, on the books, I want to make sure that we are not going to receive additional GAO reports in a year or two or three from now telling us about other cost overruns or delays that perhaps we don't even know about now.
Do you know of anything like that that is out there? I am sorry, we are out of time.
Mr. BELGER. The short answer is no, sir. I think you are going to hear from our STARS folks that from a software standpoint we are making good progress.
Mr. MICA. Well, we have about four minutes before a vote. If Mr. Duncan has additional questions, he can resume later.
We will recess for approximately 15 minutes.
Mr. MICA. The hearing will come to order.
We have begun questioning. Mr. Duncan has not returned. Let me recognize the Ranking Member of the full committee, Mr. Oberstar.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I greatly appreciate your continuing vigilance over the modernization of the air traffic control system technology elements. It is important that our committee continue to keep a vigilant eye over the work of the FAA.
Together, I think, our committee, with the FAA, has moved the process forward over the past decade and a half of the very big investments in the modernization program.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Belger, you have a very aggressive deployment schedule planned for STARS. I am pleased with that. But to meet that schedule, you have to have enough people to do the job, the systems specialists. You have to prepare the facility. They have to install the equipment. They have to integrate. They have to test. They have to certify.
You have established this terminal business unit to deal with the matter. But I just wonder, and by saying that, what I am really saying is I don't believe you have enough people to do the job.
When in 1993 and 1994 the Clinton administration downsized government, cut 250,000 jobs, eliminated 445 agencies and programs, FAA took the hit at DOT. FAA, one modal administration, cut more than 12 percent of its workforce. That represented 55 percent of the total cut at DOT.
You know that old story about ''I gave at the office,'' FAA really gave at the office and FAA has not recovered. Now tell me, how are you going to meet this deployment program when you have other key elements, AMASS, WAAS, ASR11, and Free Flight Tools?
I know what happens. It is somewhat like the Highway Program. They have a limited amount of dollars. So, instead of digging up a section of highway and replacing the sub-base, base and a new surface, they just do an overlay.
What you are doing is an overlay at FAA. You are stretching your bodies thin, a few here and a few there and a few some place else. Come clean. Tell us how many people you really need and we will help you get them.
Mr. BELGER. Well, Mr. Oberstar, I think you have very accurately focused on deployment as our big challenge for STARS. I don't want to steal Mr. Zaidman's thunder, although he would probably like for me to, but the deployment, let me just talk about the deployment of STARS and then some personal thoughts.
It might be one of the most difficult challenges we have ever taken on. If you think about what we are doing in our field facilities today, the job that our technicians and engineers and controllers are doing today in the new systems that we are fielding right now is really phenomenal.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, we are going to be asking them to take on the STARS deployment in addition to all those things that we are doing now on a schedule that is going to be very, very, very aggressive. We are going to be putting equipment into facilities. We are going to be uncovering issues in infrastructure, issues in facilities that we are not even aware of now in some of these older facilities. That is going to be a real, real challenge.
I think that our success lies in two areas. One is to make sure that we have a rock solid priority agreement with our field workforce as to what the priorities are. I think the terminal business unit will help us do that. Number two, as you said, make sure that we have the right resources to do that.
I think our job as management is to make sure we give the tools to the people that we are asking to do this work. We will commit to make sure that we request the funding that we think we need.
We are going to have an opportunity in the next several years with the implementation of some of the AIR21 initiatives to make sure that our requests are fully aired. So, we will commit to do that.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I understand how complex and how difficult a challenge it is. I have been to the TRACONs, the towers and the en route centers. It is wonderful to see the 9020's gone. It is wonderful to see all this new equipment. It sort of gets the hair standing on the back of my neck when I go into those old facilities where the old round scopes are standing like ghosts of the past. But it is a good feeling as well.
I think few people understand the complexity and the challenge that FAA has to deal with. This is not retrieving bank records. This is not retrieving documents off the Internet. This is dealing with real lives in the air, five, six, seven miles in the air, moving at ten miles a minute and two million people a day and hundreds of thousands of aircraft movements a day. This is real time, real life. You have to get it right. To do that, you need the people.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will reserve for the moment, Mr. Chairman. I need to come back on a second round and ask about the OEP.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Let me now yield to the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Oberstar has focused on the area that I wanted to talk to Mr. Belger about. Thank you for being here and thank you for holding these hearings, Mr. Chairman. I hope we will continue to monitor this very carefully.
In the materials you presented to us, you presented a very complete picture of a number of things. The personnel issue is the one that is left out. Day in and day out, my concern is whether we have the proficiency that is available and the proficiency that can only make the system work, no matter what the equipment is.
What are we doing, benefits, pay, morale, and those kinds of things to retain those extremely experienced folks that are making the system work at this point? Could you give me your views on that, please, sir.
Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir, I will. First of all, in the short term, we would like to hire 1,000 new controllers next year. That would give us a net increase of about 600, based on an attrition of about 400.
That would bring us up to the level that we had committed to in our labor agreement with the controllers' union for the last two years of that contract. So, if we are able to hire 1,000 new controllers that number next year, I believe we will be in pretty good shape in fiscal years 2002 and 2003 in terms of controllers.
There is an issue beyond the 2005, 2006 timeframe. I think everybody recognizes that we will probably have a larger number of retirements in that timeframe than we have historically had because of the retirement eligibility of people that were hired in the 1980's. That is an issue we are all going to have to face.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC After the 2003 timeframe we are going to have to look at making sure that we hire enough people so that we are ready for the attrition that will occur in the 20062007 time frame.
As far as benefits and pay and the like, particularly for our controller workforce, I would like to think that the current labor agreement is pretty good in that area.
The bottom line answer to your question is that we are all going to have to look at making the right decisions from a staffing standpoint in the next couple of years to make sure that we are able to keep up, not only with attrition, but also with the growth that we are anticipating.
Let me just give you a couple of examples. As we implement these initiatives in this plan like adding new sectors or bringing on new equipment the FAA will need more people because you can't open up a new sector, install new equipment or a new work station and not have the people to staff it.
Those are things that we are working very closely with the controller's union on. The administrator and I have met personally with them several times. I think we are in pretty good shape for the short term, but we have to look at that for the longer term.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you, sir. When I dial 1800-WXBRIEF, I get some good positive information about what those folks need. That is very appropriate.
The other thing is there are a number of incredible things that are about to be available to the pilot in the cockpit of the airplane. That re-emphasizes the coordination between professionals on both ends of the system. Again, whatever we can do to make sure that that works.
Another item I want to mention is there is tremendous fuel savings, energy conservation, getting the right airplane at the right altitude. As we develop and implement the capability to provide weather information transmitted to the cockpit, TCAS information, these are the kinds of things that these highly trained professionals are going to allow us to fully utilize as we work with the system.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One more point and I will quit. Information given to the pilot, information for arrival into DCA is a perfect example. If more speed and separation information were on that approach chart, you would not have to have the communications. People on the ground and in the air who know the system, they can do it, but speed information and other altitude would be very helpful and eliminate conversation.
Thank you and let us keep up the good work.
Mr. BELGER. Thank you, sir.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Let me recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Honda.
Mr. HONDA. I have no questions at this time.
Mr. MICA. Ms. Millender-McDonald.
Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you so much for convening this very important hearing, along with the Ranking Member, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to submit my statement for the record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection it is so ordered.
Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Thank you very much.
Mr. Belger, I, too, am interested in the increase in training for air traffic controllers. I met with some of them a couple of weeks ago from the areas around California.
Their concern is, in additional to modernization, of course, which is very important and hopefully it is a priority with all of us, but also the attrition numbers that will be leaving about, what is it, 2006 and 2007 and the urgency to train new air traffic controllers to meet the demands as we look at growth and capacity build-out.
I just wanted to get again your commitment to making sure that we have ample personnel on board to meet the demands, especially in California with the Los Angeles Airport having reached its capacity and beyond and other areas out in Palmdale and other regions of the Southern California area that are going to be impacted by this capacity growth.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Certainly we are concerned about the modernization of our airports and equally concerned about training and having professional persons on board to meet the demands that will occur with this growth.
Mr. BELGER. Well, I personally and on behalf of FAA, will commit to that. We want to live within the parameters of the current contract, which takes us through 2003. We know very well that we are probably going to have increased attrition in the 20062007 time frame, as you said. And we know that it takes several years to train controllers to get up to the level where they are fully productive. So, we know we have to make some decisions in the 20032004 timeframe.
Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Right, because we also are looking at this age limitation, too, on air traffic controllers. We have, no doubt, urgency there.
Given the FAA plans for modernization of the air traffic controllers and here with your OEP plan, how does that differ from the one that we are looking at in terms of STARS and the FAA's modernization plan?
Mr. BELGER. Well, our modernization plan goes far beyond just STARS. It is a compilation of the initiatives that both FAA and the industry have to implement in order to achieve future capacity and efficiency benefits. Yet, STARS is an integral part of that. The modernization of our terminals, which STARS does, is absolutely critical to the infrastructure upon which to put these new systems and to get the real benefits in the future. So, STARS is an integral part of our infrastructure and success in the future.
Ms. MILLENDER-MCDONALD. Mr. Chairman, I thank you so much, and thank you Mr. Belger.
Mr. MICA. Thank you. Let me recognize the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Isakson.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Belger, I just want to echo the statements made by Mr. Hayes from North Carolina and Mr. Oberstar with regard to personnel. The most important person in the FAA in the safety aspect is that controller. With Hampton in Atlanta so close to me, I know how hard they work and how stressed and stretched they have been. I am very supportive of that.
I know our next panel is about STARS, but I wanted to make an observation, which I would like for you to comment on. In your plan, your ten-year plan, you focus on specific timetables and accountability and then integrating your actions, which include your equipment, your avionics, research, safety, et cetera.
Then when you go back to your chart of the many things that go together to improve the efficiency and expand our capacity, one of those is the coordination of efficient surface movement, which brings up the STARS question to me.
They have a timetable for installation, which I have reviewed. If that is delayed further, because your plan is integrated and because the terminal aspect, which you mentioned yourself, is so critical, it is going to hold this plan back; isn't it?
Mr. BELGER. Well, it might hold back parts of it in the terminal area, yes. That is why it is so critical that all of these things come together. If we don't have the modern infrastructure in our terminal environments upon which to build more sophisticated software improvements, yes, it could delay us. There is no doubt about that.
Mr. ISAKSON. Just for my benefit, in Common ARTS versus STARS, the STARS, when installed will expand that capability greater than can be expanded with Common ARTS, is that correct?
Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir, I think that is true. I think you will hear a little more detail about that from the next panel. But that is true.
Mr. ISAKSON. But in the meantime we are continuing to install Common ARTS as we protract putting in STARS, is that right?
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELGER. We are. We can't afford to do some of the things we have in the past where we just stopped making incremental improvements. We have to continue to make the incremental improvements. If we have a system we can put in today, my opinion is we ought to put it in and take advantage of the benefits we can get from it.
Mr. ISAKSON. Thank you, sir.
Mr. BELGER. Thanks.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. Norton would like to yield to Mr. Oberstar for five minutes.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you. The cache of the Jane Garvey era at FAA is inclusiveness, openness, consensus building, all very important, all qualities that have changed the culture both within FAA and in its relationship with other participants in aviation, in the industry and in labor.
You are going to need all those qualities to carry to the next stage with the OEP plan that has just been announced. As I reviewed and read through this document, it isn't strikingly new in its elements. What is new is that it is all together in one piece. It has principally four elements, half of which deal with weather.
But what I am curious about is what are your plans to implement, to harmonize the OEP with the other initiatives within the agency and to ensure that everybody is committed, all the participants within FAA are committed to achieving the goals?
It compliments the NAS plan architecture, but tell me what down the road I guess over 20-some years I have seen lots of plans and I don't want to see yet another one gather more dust.
Mr. BELGER. The way we developed this plan was that I and the Associate Administrators, met at least every Monday afternoon since probably last November or so, to focus on the development of this plan. We are going to continue to meet weekly as we implement this plan.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The easiest part might be developing the plan. The harder part is implementing it. We will continue that focus within the FAA. For the interim, I will take the lead to do that with all of our Associate Administrators and the other key people identified in this plan who are accountable.
For the long term, though, I think we know we have to make some decisions to instill some long-term credibility and integrity to implementing this plan. We know we have to do that. We are focusing on making some decisions there.
For the time being the Associate Administrators and I are personally accountable for implementing these initiatives. Let me just give you, if I could
Mr. OBERSTAR. I want you to touch on how you are going to bring into this plan the other outstanding plans, those that have not yet been implemented.
Mr. BELGER. One of the real time examples would be runways. Sometimes we think of runway construction sometimes as just pouring concrete. Well, there is a lot more to it from an FAA and industry standpoint.
So, if you think about a new runway at Atlanta or at St. Louis, two that come to mind, not only do we have to go through the laborious process that we have now for all the preparatory work, but there are also some very real safety decisions that have to be made about how those runways are going to be used. Additionally, there are safety certification decisions, and equipment decisions.
For example, the benefits at Atlanta and St. Louis are based upon using the new PRM technology. There are pilot issues that have to be resolved. There are controller human factors issues and operational issues that have to be resolved. That is in addition to what people think of as just the normal environmental and planning work that goes into building a new runway.
So, within the FAA we are pulling together the safety organization, the airports organization, the air traffic organization, and the research and acquisition organization to make sure that we know what we have to do to be ready to operate those runways on the time schedule that we are establishing. We are doing that in each one of these areas.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OBERSTAR. Do you have the personnel to do that? That is my earlier question. You really need more people, Mr. Belger. I know that and you know that. Maybe you are reluctant to say it because you have constraints organizationally and structurally. But one person can do only so much.
Mr. BELGER. We are going to give it our best shot, Mr. Oberstar. We are committed to implementing this plan.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, I am delighted with that. I know with you and Jane Garvey at the helm the best effort is going to be made.
You mentioned PRM, and just triggered something I have been meaning to ask about. So, I am reluctant to do it in a public forum, but I was very puzzled at a comment at a TRACON I visited recently. The comment was that airlines can opt not to participate in PRM. Some do and others don't at the same airport, at the same TRACON.
How can that be and what do you need to push them into the acceptance? This is a very important user safety tool.
Mr. BELGER. Right. There are several issues still to be resolved to get the full benefit of PRM. The fundamental reason that we don't require crews to be trained is that there are other options for them to use to land at that airport. There is an ILS there now that they can use and do use very successfully.
The procedure which is based on PRM, will give us some benefits if we can resolve some of these other issues, legitimate pilot issues that have been raised. If we can resolve those, I believe that the airlines will come to the conclusion that the benefits are there and therefore they will train their crews to use it.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Some have jumped forward and are into it and others are holding back. If it is principally pilot training, they don't want to take the time to run them through the training or they don't want to install the equipment that is necessary aboard the aircraft to harmonize with PRM.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When I saw it in operation, I mean I saw it in the test stage many years ago, but I saw it just in the last few weeks again, I was astonished that this circumstance exists.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
I will now recognize the gentle lady from New York, Mrs. Kelly.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Belger, I wish you would indulge me just for a minute. It is my understanding that the FAA is in charge of all air traffic control in the United States, no matter what the tower is doing at controlling. Is that correct?
Mr. BELGER. That is fundamentally correct. We do share responsibilities at some airports with the Department of Defense, but it is fundamentally the FAA, yes.
Mrs. KELLY. Thank you very much for explaining that. That means that you also control air traffic out of both public and private airports?
Mr. BELGER. That is correct.
Mrs. KELLY. In the years I have sat on this committee, my impression, and this is not directed at you specifically, but my impression of the FAA in general is that it is really terrific at making plans but not so good at immediate help.
I am very delighted to see that you have the listing and one of the things you want to do is give us some specific timetables because we need them and we need them fast.
I think also that I am very encouraged by your comment that we have to continue to make incremental improvements. In my area we have had a real problem because we have a tower where the air traffic controllers were directing airplanes to land and take off using binoculars.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have now gotten a TARDIS system there, something that was developed within the FAA. It seems to be extremely well accepted by the air traffic control people. It basically does a lot of what the STARS group does, but for a lot less money.
From what I understand it can range anywhere from about $20,000 to $50,000 to install a system.
In terms of an incremental improvement, wouldn't it be a good idea to put the TARDIS system in immediately in the airports that don't have it and then you have an ability to at least connect airports in regional areas?
Mr. BELGER. Well, there are a couple of issues related to TARDIS and other systems like that. They are one-of-a-kind systems and we have made decisions on an airport-specific basis to put those systems in. They do create some maintenance and some logistical problems for us.
There are benefits at those airports that we have decided to put them in. We will continue to look at those on an airport-by-airport basis.
But the real answer is to get STARS installed and have the remote displays associated with STARS which will provide us with a much, much better capability for the controllers to observe the radar.
Mrs. KELLY. I don't dispute that STARS is probablyif we ever get it finished and up in the toweris probably going to be a reasonably good system.
My concern is doing something now so it decreases the possibility of mid-air collisions such as occurred out of Meigs Field and places like that where we now have TARDIS. I think we need something fast. I think we need something in the control towers where there is currently nothing.
There still are a number of towers where the air traffic controllers don't even have computers.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would hope, sir, that you would go back to the FAA and try to address the immediate needs. It is not that expensive in the overall scheme of things, especially when you look at what the cost of STARS is.
I thank you very much for making the remarks you have made. I do believe that increasing the number of air traffic controllers may help.
I fly in and out of LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark. That is where I fly. That has been a choke point in air traffic nationally for too long. The sooner we get the systems up and moving, the better.
Thank you for appearing.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentle lady.
Let me recognize the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Ehlers.
Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just wanted to follow up on a statement you made a moment ago, Mr. Belger, that this would require additional personnel. I thought the FAA was in the process of trying to and I recognize the need for additional personnel as the system increases and grows but when you add all the new programs you are putting in place which will reduce the need for manpower such as the Automatic Digital Transmission between the towers and the planes for routine commands, I envisioned that you were going to maintain personnel at roughly the same level.
I was a little surprised that you were saying that you were going to need an increase. I thought the increased traffic was going to be balanced by the improvement in laborsaving devices. Could you comment further on that?
Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. I hope I can clarify that. When I say ''additional resources,'' that may or may not be a net increase overall. For example, we have been able this year to open some new sectors and new controller workstations without increasing staffing. We have been able to do that collaboratively with the labor organization by using overtime, by changing work schedules and doing some innovative things. I think we can probably still do that over the short term.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You are exactly right that some of these new initiatives will decrease controller workload which will allow us to be more efficient. The use of datalink, for example, will cut down on the number of voice interactions with the aircraft which should allow us to handle more traffic with the same number of controllers.
So, you are right, there will definitely be areas where we can gain some efficiencies and other initiatives which might result in the need for additional resources.
So, I didn't mean to leave the impression that it was necessarily a net increase, but we have to have the flexibility in the FAA to move people to where we need them and at the right time to be able to be successful here.
Now, there is an issue though in terms of perhaps net increase. That does get to the 20062007 time frame when we start looking at attrition that is higher than it is today.
Mr. EHLERS. Can you tell me what the status is of Free Flight and when you will begin implementing that and when you expect to have it fully implemented?
Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. Well, we are implementing free flight now, today. There are tools in use in the Indianapolis and Memphis centers, part of Free Flight Phase I, which are in use today, full-time. One of the en route tools in Indianapolis and Memphis is right now, today, saving the airlines $1.5 million each month in fuel costs through more direct routings.
We are successfully able about 40 percent of the time more to give the pilots the direct routes that they want through those centers. So, those tools are in place today. We are committing in this Ops Plan to continue to install and implement those tools throughout the next ten years. There are specific commitments in the plan as to locations and times to implement the Free Flight Phase I and Phase II tools. Up to this point, we have met every Free Flight Phase I milestone.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. EHLERS. All right. I hope you can continue to meet and exceed them because given today's energy situation, the increased fuel savings will help not only reduce costs for the airlines, but also help the nation.
In particular, if we don't begin doing that, the prices of the fuel are going to increase to the point that it is going to have a dramatic impact on the economics of the aircraft industry or the airline industry, I should say.
Thank you very much. I yield back.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
Let me recognize now Mr. Horn from California.
Mr. HORN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Belger, you have an operational evolution plan. You intend to spend about $4 billion in facilities and equipment in the last several years and now and more.
I was interested in Secretary Mineta's speech earlier this week where he noted very inspirationally that there needs to be the Senior Executive Service rotating within the agency and between agencies.
I am wondering along Mr. Oberstar's line, what are you doing in terms of getting management people to carry out this plan? Management is management. Sure, you need to know this and that. But the failure when we had that $4 billion dollar debacle was because there wasn't management.
It wasn't the FAA at that time. It was the contractor. You could just walk in and know these people don't know what they are doing. There are no set times to do this. They were looking at new things every morning.
I just wondered to what degree could the Senior Executive Service from other parts of the department be helpful in this regard.
Mr. BELGER. Two points, sir. The first point is that the Senior Executives in the FAA who are accountable for implementing this plan are working with me on a daily basis. One of the fundamental things in this plan, is a commitment to meeting these dates and to following up on the implementation. As I said earlier, developing the plan is probably the easy part. Implementing it is the hard part.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second point is that the idea of rotating people through new positions to get new ideas, new initiatives and a fresh approach is a good idea. Frankly, I think if you look at the senior leadership in the FAA over the past three years since Administrator Garvey has been there, my guess is that of the 16 or 18 top executives, probably 60 percent of those are new to their positions.
So, we are not going to resist bringing in outside folks or rotating folks within the agency.
Mr. HORN. Are there enough outside of the agency but within the Department of Transportation to help you on this management?
Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir, I think so.
Mr. HORN. So, you do have what, a dozen or ten rotating?
Mr. BELGER. I am not sure what you mean by rotating them. I don't think the FAA has a formal program for automatically rotating people. But, we have been pretty successful at bringing folks in from the outside into key jobs and also in moving some folks within the agency.
Mr. HORN. Well, I am glad to see that you care about this because that is the way you are going to get your executive manpower.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
If there are no additional questions, I just had a couple of points and maybe you can respond in writing if you don't care to now, Mr. Belger.
Quite a bit of the work that is proposed in this plan will be contracted out. Is that correct? Maybe you could provide the subcommittee with the percentage. I would imagine 60, 70, 80, maybe 90 percent of it will be contracted out. Some of it will be done in-house, some of the deployment, training of personnel, retraining.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think some questions were raised here about the personnel requirements that I think are important. We need to project that.
It also raises the question of costs of the program. The information we have gotten to date is that we are looking at about $11 billion in facilities and equipment and maybe $77 billion in providing services over this decade.
Maybe you could share with us any hard costs information for the whole plan. I think that would be of interest.
Then I am wondering, when we implement all these new technologies, aren't there some efficiencies? Is there some percentage of efficiencies? I mean certainly sometime in the future, maybe not in our lifetime, but they will have the technology probably to eliminate most of the personnel.
I know that causes some of the thousands of FAA folks to shudder, but neither will they be around, nor will we, when that is implemented.
But we are probably going to have in the not too distant future the capability of possibly eliminating some personnel as a result of technology improvements.
I would like to see any estimates on what bringing on board the latest technology will have as an impact in the development, deployment and completion of this plan.
Mr. BELGER. OK. Well, three things there, I think, sir. We will provide for the record some information about the percentage of work in here that will be contracted out and we can do that.
[The information follows:]
Approximately 80 percent of the $11.5 billion in capital costs of the OEP will be contracted out. This estimate is based on the current ratio of contract versus in-house work in the Facilities and Equipment account.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BELGER. Secondly, as to the costs, you mentioned the $11.5 billion. That is our estimate over the next ten years of our capital costs that we would devote specifically to implementing this plan. It is well within the total out-year capital budget that we expect to get. Our problem there will be making the right priorities within the appropriations that we get every year.
Now, again, I am big on putting things in context and into perspective. That $11.5 billion is what the FAA expects to spend in our capital account. It doesn't include the monies that airports would spend, for example, on new runways. It doesn't include the cost for the airlines to equip their aircraft with some of the new technology, nor does it include the costs for the airlines to equip their dispatch operations with new technology and new tools.
The third point that you mentioned was efficiencies in the future. Clearly, some of these technologies and new procedures are going to make our work force more productive. Things like Datalink, which is clearly going to reduce the controller workload. It is clearly going to improve safety.
But, at the same time, we are going to be looking at growth. We are going to be looking at an increase of about three percent a year in air carrier operations. So, we have to find the right balance between the efficiencies and the people we need to keep up with the growth. We will do that working with you all, I hope.
Mr. MICA. Well, thank you.
In fact, Mr. Honda moves that we leave the record open for a period of three weeks. Without objection, that is so ordered. We will have additional questions in writing for you.
We have been joined by the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kirk, who just had one or two questions in conclusion.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KIRK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Very briefly, I understand from Team O'Hare that up to 20 percent of the delays there could be mitigated by Land-and-Hold-Short operations. On most of the runways at O'Hare, the distance to the intersection is longer than all of the runway lengths at Midway.
We have the FAA's technical center at Atlantic City working on this. I hear we have some good news.
Could you describe for the committee the FAA's work on land-and-hold-short?
Mr. BELGER. We have worked very hard over the past couple of years addressing some safety issues that were raised by the pilots.
You know, we used land-and-hold-short for 30 years without a problem. It is pretty frustrating to lose that capability, particularly at an airport like O'Hare where we know there are real time, almost immediate benefits if we could reinstitute it.
The issues raised by the pilot community are legitimate issues. We are trying very, very hard to get agreement on the safety assumptions that need to go into the modeling to make the safety decision that that is a safe procedure.
We are working very, very hard. I am optimistic, as you said, over some things that have happened in the past couple of weeks. We have highlighted LAHSO in our operational plan. We are working on it every day. It is a safety and human factors issue with the pilots and controllers. They are legitimate and we are trying to solve them.
Mr. KIRK. Lastly, one key issue for us that helps the O'Hare situation is moving to a meaningful Stage 4 noise standard. I understand the United States is preparing to attend the ICAO Conference this summer on this. We have a European proposal.
I would hope that we would move to an aggressive Stage 4 standard. Can you outline the administration's timeline for a decision on Stage 4 and when we will announce our position prior to the ICAO Conference?
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. I will be glad to give you the timeframe even later this afternoon. I don't have that in my head. But we are working with the industry and the other government agencies to make sure that we have a government position before the ICAO meeting which I believe is in September. I will be glad to give you that timeframe with a phone call, if I could.
Mr. KIRK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman.
I want to also thank the Deputy Administrator for your testimony today in cooperation with the subcommittee. We will have no further questions at this time, but we will be submitting some in the record.
You are excused. Again, thank you.
Let me call our second panel today. Now we are going to turn our attention to the STARS deployment and get an update from those involved in the program.
Our first witness is going to be Mr. Steven Zaidman. He is the Associate Administrator of Research and Acquisitions for the Federal Aviation Administration. He is accompanied by Mr. William R. Voss who is the Director of Terminal Business Service at FAA.
We also have Ms. Alexis M. Stefani. She is the Assistant Inspector General for Auditing in the Department of Transportation.
We have Mr. Frank S. Marchilena. He is the Executive Vice President of Raytheon and President of the Command Control Communications, and Information Systems.
Mr. Amr A. ElSawy is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of MITRE, CAASD, and Mr. Michael Fanfalone, who is the President of the Professional Airways Systems and Specialists.
We are pleased to welcome you to our subcommittee this morning. We will start first with Mr. Zaidman. We do have a number of panelists here, so we will run the clock. We would like you to summarize your testimony in five minutes.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you have additional lengthy statements or information data that you would like to have made part of the record, upon request to the Chair, that will be entered into the record.
So, with that, let us hear from Mr. Zaidman.
STATEMENT OF STEVEN ZAIDMAN, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, RESEARCH AND ACQUISITIONS, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM R. VOSS, DIRECTOR, TERMINAL BUSINESS SERVICE, FAA; ALEXIS M. STEFANI, ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR AUDITING, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; FRANK MARCHILENA, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, RAYTHEON COMPANY, AND PRESIDENT, COMMAND, CONTROL, COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS; AMR A. ELSAWY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MITRE CORPORATION, AND GENERAL MANAGER, MITRE CENTER FOR ADVANCED AVIATION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT; AND MICHAEL D. FANFALONE, PRESIDENT, PROFESSIONAL AIRWAYS SYSTEMS AND SPECIALISTS
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I am pleased to have the opportunity to once again speak with you about the FAA's effort to develop and deploy STARS.
When we met three months ago, Chairman Mica, you requested that we follow up with three IOUs and you so stated them in your opening statement. I am pleased to say that we have provided you and your staff and the committee members with those IOUs.
I would first like to note that the early display capability technology, the first phase of STARS that we talked about at the last hearing, is going operational today. In fact, it went operational today at 10:25 in Syracuse, New York.
Why that is important is that now that it gives us the green light to deploy the 11 additional EDC systems starting in early 2002 and concluding in early 2003. So, that is very good news.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have also provided you a summary chart that deals with our deployment plan for STARS through early 2005. STARS waterfall, as the committee is very aware, runs through 2008. Like I said when I testified in March, and we have pretty specific information on 2005 We are working to obtain the specific data through 2008, but that is not yet ready.
The deployment plan includes the 11 EDC sites that I just referred to as well as the first 54 sites that will receive full STARS. Those 54 sites are critical sites because they have the oldest technology, ARTS III-A equipment, which is most in need of replacment.
As the chart shows, we have also indicated the beginning and ending dates of construction where digital radar is needed (referenced by ''D'') as well as when we expect the service to be turned on. We call this initial operating capability.
As you also referenced, Mr. Chairman, the corresponding data does indicate that there are potential increases in overall program costs associated with our planned deployment of STARS. We know there are more falling through early 2005 and we are prepared today to address any questions you have along those lines.
We have also developed a contingency plan in the event that STARS encounters further unanticipated developmental problems. We have identified several sites in the STARS waterfall that are scheduled critical, and they fall into two areas. One area is where we will establish new TRACONs within the next several years.
The other area is existing TRACONs, which are our terminal approach control facilities that either have a high failure rate of the current aging equipment or do not have the sufficient capacity. We are prepared to address questions that you may have or the committee may have with regard to that contingency plan as well.
Additionally, I know we are all concerned about digital radars ASR11. So, as part of our contingency plan, we address both digitizing the existing older analog radars as well as modifying STARS to accept analog radar data programs. We would be happy to address that as well.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Having provided you with the information that the committee requested at the last hearing, I would also take a moment to note that STARS has undergone an independent evaluation by MITRE, primarily MITRE Bedford, which Mr. Elsawy, I understand, will address. We asked for that evaluation following the March hearing in response to some of your concerns that we get an independent voice to look at the software development.
Hopefully, that will provide additional confidence to the committee that the software development phase of STARS is on track.
I would also like to talk about something that Mr. Belger addressed in terms of achieving FAA productivity enhancements. As part of that, we have created the Terminal Business Service, which is now led by Mr. Voss. What changes for FAA is that for the first time on this program we are combining the development of STARS with the implementation of STARS and putting them in one organization along with the accountability for that.
We are trying to minimize what we call the STO5 problems. So, we are addressing the terminal automation area, including the radar and the automation, the people, and the installation as one systems approach rather than have each aspect in different pockets of FAA. We think that will result in not only more timely delivery of the service to the user, but also more economical delivery of that service.
So, in closing, Mr. Chairman, we have made steady progress on STARS since I last appeared before this committee in March. I am glad that the program metrics and software are on track. I am confident that the Raytheon performance metrics are on track.
I also acknowledge that there will continue to be significant challenges in this program with significant risk areas. The ultimate success of STARS and terminal automation will depend on how FAA addresses those risks.
To that end, I look forward to working with you as well as the other members of the committee as we complete the development and deployment of STARS. Thank you.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Thank you. I take it that Mr. Voss is here just to answer questions. You don't have a statement.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. That is correct.
Mr. MICA. We asked the Inspector General's office to join with us in not only trusting, but also verifying what FAA is doing with the STARS Program.
We are going to hear now from Ms. Alexis Stefani with the Inspector General's Office and her assessment of where we are. Welcome. You are recognized.
Ms. STEFANI. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, we appreciate the opportunity to update the subcommittee on the FAA's efforts to develop and deploy STARS.
The STARS Program, as you know, is designed to provide the software and hardware platform necessary to support future air traffic control improvements that are vital to enhancing the capacity of the national air space system.
Today, I would like to discuss two points: STARS deployment risks and STARS contingency planning. First, deploying STARS within costs and schedule remains at risk. Since we testified in March, STARS software development is nearly completed.
However, at this point we are concerned about the compressed software testing schedule, the significant number of trouble reports generated during software testing to date and delays with the ASR11 radar, all of which could impact FAA's deployment success.
Under a build a little, test a little, deploy a little approach, FAA split development of full STARS into several configurations, such as Version 1, Version 2, and Version 2+. The test schedules for these multiple versions overlap and timeframes for testing are aggressive. Any delay in testing could impact STARS' deployment.
In May, FAA completed the first phase of system acceptance testing for the full STARS Version 1 software. The test identified over 500 trouble reports. Of those, 112 were so serious they affected the essential performance of the system or could jeopardize safety or security. Another 77 trouble reports were considered test critical. These trouble reports bear careful watching and need to be fixed before moving on to operational testing.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The next key milestone for assessing progress is in mid-July when retesting of Version 1 will begin. If these existing problem reports cannot be satisfactorily resolved, FAA will need to rethink its testing schedule.
FAA is also acquiring 100 ASR11 radars at a cost of approximately $800 million. This program poses a major risk to STARS deployment. This is because STARS is a fully digitized system and it requires a digital radar, such as ASR11.
DOD actually has the contract with Raytheon and has been testing the ASR11. It has identified significant problems including false radar targets and false tracks. Based on DOD's test results, FAA identified five major areas that need to be addressed before it can proceed.
Recognizing the impact on the STARS Program, FAA is exploring purchasing digitizers which convert existing analog radar signals to digital signals to support STARS.
These digitizers will cost over $1 million a copy and will require extensive testing. As of today, it is unclear who will pay for the digitizers while Raytheon works to fix the problem with ASR11.
My second area focuses on recommendations we made in March. FAA must quantify all costs associated with STARS deployment and evaluate if additional Common ARTS will be need to supplement its terminal modernization efforts.
Given the importance of STARS in modernizing NAS and little room for delays, FAA has to correctly position the agency so it can move quickly. Let me be perfectly clear: We are not calling for a major change at this time, but rather better planning. A private business would do the same under similar circumstances.
At the last hearing, we recommended FAA prepare a detailed schedule for STARS deployment and quantify all costs associated with the effort. Since then, FAA has developed a detailed schedule for the first 67 sites through September 2004.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In March we stated the STARS program costs would likely increase and recommended that FAA identify costs associated with the program.
At the last hearing, we estimated that the program could cost in the $1.7 to $2 billion range. STARS costs have continued to rise. Final cost projections are incomplete. FAA has identified an additional $171 million, increasing the current baseline costs to $1.57 billion. They have also, through the detailed scheduling, identified $104 million in additional costs necessary for things such as training and facility modernization.
This takes the total cost up to near to $1.7 billion for the program. However, it is important to recognize that those costs are for 67 sites. We still don't have firm estimates for the 99 sites planned for deployment through fiscal year 2008.
With this limited information, we cannot assess, nor can FAA assess if the 2008 date is achievable or what total projected costs of the program will be. We feel that FAA needs to complete the process through 2008 for both the costs and the schedule.
We also recommended that FAA evaluate if additional Common ARTS with displays would be needed. In making this recommendation, we envisioned that FAA would evaluate whether Common ARTS, in addition to the six existing and four planned locations would need to be expanded to additional locations to support FAA's efforts.
Instead, FAA has analyzed an all-or-nothing approach between Common ARTS and STARS. In our opinion, it makes good sense for FAA to develop a viable contingency for STARS including specific milestones and trigger dates to decide if additional Common ARTS systems need to be purchased and installed at specific sites.
This is especially important since FAA has determined it needs about an 18-month lead-time from procurement to operational use per site for Common ARTS, which would put early sites such as Philadelphia at risk now.
That concludes my statement. I will be happy to answer any questions.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Thank you. We will withhold questions until we have heard from all of the witnesses.
Let us hear from Frank Marchilena who is the President of Command Control Communications & Information Systems of Raytheon who is, I guess, our prime contractor in the STARS Program.
Mr. Marchilena, welcome. You are recognized.
Mr. MARCHILENA. Good afternoon. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the opportunity today to update the subcommittee on Raytheon's work on the STARS Program.
Since we last met in March, Raytheon, the FAA and the Department of Defense have continued the program on schedule and have successfully accomplished significant milestones in the areas of development, support and deployment.
In addition, plans for near term and long term deployment activities have been reviewed and we are confident that the baseline plan is achievable. Also, I believe opportunities exist to accelerate the STARS deployment and I would like to discuss some of those possible ways that an increased rate could be achieved.
As I mentioned in March, the STARS early display configuration product has been in error-free operational use for over a year at the initial sites of El Paso and Syracuse. The final EDC product, which provides the remainder of the controller requested computer-human interface requirements successfully completed operational test and evaluation at the FAA's technical center in April.
The final EDC product is now operational at El Paso and Syracuse and is in process for deployment at 11 additional sites beyond the initial sites.
In addition, the DOD STARS system at Eglin Air Force Base has been controlling life air traffic since entering multi-service operational test and evaluation in June 2000. All of these systems have been received with very positive feedback from the users.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is a great testament not only to the system's stability, usability and supportability, but also to the people and organizations involved in fielding a new product.
Now, let me summarize where we are in the full STARS systems development. In March I reported that just 15,000 lines of code remained to be developed for STARS national deployment. Today I am pleased to report that all of the software that is needed for the national deployment of STARS, except for 7,000 lines of code, or about one half of one percent of the total software of the system, completed development and a major portion of it has been tested both by the FAA and Raytheon.
This software is now running in shadow mode operation at El Paso to gain early user feedback. Development of all air traffic controller and maintainer requested computer and human interface changes needed for national deployment is complete and incorporated.
The first phase of full STARS system acceptance tests were completed in May as planned. The successful tests were conducted over a seven-week period and included over 9600 test steps.
The last 7,000 lines of code remaining in development addresses the final advanced functional interfaces to other elements of the national airspace system.
This is the full STARS product that is the baseline for national deployment. As I stated in March, this last bit of development is proceeding on schedule with completion planned for October of this year.
Continued on-plan accomplishment combined with a half of one percent of the software remaining to be developed leads to the conclusion that the STARS development program is low-risk, to be completed as planned.
An independent review panel conducted by MITRE in May of 2001 has confirmed that these plans are reasonable and achievable.
Before I move off the STARS development program, I would like to recap for you the methodology used in procuring STARS. Raytheon provided to the STARS system over 900,000 lines of software code from its company-funded AutoTrac and TracView air traffic management systems. This formed the STARS baseline that has now been tailored with requested modifications to the computer human interface and unique features for operating within the national airspace.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This approach has proven very successful and should been considered as a model for future large development programs.
With STARS development at low risk to complete, the program focus has shifted to STARS deployment. Critical to a system's deployment is the associated support structure. In this area STARS is well positioned as we enter limited production. Four key support elements have already been established and are in place.
The STARS Central Support Complex in Atlantic City;
Operational Support Facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire and Houston;
The interim depot in Norfolk, Virginia; and
The Training Academy in Oklahoma City.
Two additional STARS training systems were brought on-line last month at Oklahoma City, expanding the capacity from four to six systems allowing for an included throughput of STARS training. Next year two additional operational support facilities will be brought on line to complete the FAA's plan to support the near term planned deployment rate.
Initial deployment has been initiated and 11 additional EDC sites are proceeding to come on line for fiscal year 2002 and 2003. The equipment for the first two of these sites in Memphis and Hartford is already being prepared for delivery to the site. STARS equipment has also been delivered, installed and integrated at the DOD's first low rate initial production site at McGuire Air Force Base.
In the long term, STARS is currently planning to complete deployment to the FAA facilities in fiscal year 2007 and DOD facilities in fiscal year 2011. This equates to a peak deployment rate of approximately 35 systems per year for the FAA, and 15 systems per year for DOD for a total deployment rate of 50 systems per year.
Raytheon is fully ready to support this schedule and have the capacity to deploy STARS at more than twice the planned rate if required. If higher deployment rates are desired, key areas of facility modernization, training and support need to be addressed. Let me briefly address these areas.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC FAA facility modernization is a key area that needs to be addressed for accelerated STARS deployment. Through the FAA's Technical Support Services Contract, an in-place, pre-qualified network of support contractors already exists in every FAA region and can facilitate modernization needs in an accelerated fashion.
Site preparation and facility modernization requirements could be performed through the in-place STARS or TSSC contracts. A flexible plan could be implemented earlier to address modernization needs of the smaller facilities that are currently planned for STARS deployment in the out-years.
Another key element to accelerate deployment is training. Both air traffic controller and maintenance technician training need to be completed for a facility to go operational. Raytheon can provide additional training systems beyond those already provided to the FAA academy to expedite FAA's ''train the trainer'' methodology.
In addition, computer-based or other web-based delivery training courses could help accelerate deployment demands.
In another key area critical to accelerated deployment, the FAA operational support activities that include software maintenance and site adaptation packages needs to be supplemented by providing additional management and technical resources during the peak deployment years. This would include supplementary support to the FAA Technical Center and STARS Operational Support facilities.
One last element of deployment is the required radar interface. Of the 166 FAA TRACONs that are scheduled to receive STARS, 74 planned sites are ready with digital ASR9's that are in operation.
The FAA's ASR-ll Program is procuring 24 new digital ASR11 radars per year for installation at sites that have the older analog radars. If an expedited STARS deployment path is pursued, the accelerated rate can be accommodated through increased annual buys of ASR11s in combination with the use of an interim digitizer at sites awaiting ASR11 installation.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In summary, I am pleased to say that the vast majority of the STARS national deployment baseline development is behind us and we are moving forward with all stakeholders in agreement. Remaining development activities are achievable and considered low risk. And we, Raytheon, have accomplished this well within the cost baseline established over two years ago.
The FAA's current integrated deployment plan provides a low-risk path to terminal area modernization, but I believe that an accelerated deployment can be achieved. With consensus from all interested parties, a flexible deployment approach can help accelerate STARS deliveries.
Raytheon is ready to support the FAA's flexible deployment approach and can assist in facility modernization training and support. If deployment funding were to be provided earlier, starting in fiscal year 2002, we believe that STARS deployment schedules could be accelerated by two years.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Marchilena. The balance of your remarks will be included in the record without objection.
We have less than four minutes in a vote. I am going to recess the subcommittee for approximately 30 minutes. We will come back at 20 minutes before the hour. There is a vote on and that will give people a break. Then we will continue with the balance of the witnesses' testimony. Thank you.
Mr. MICA. I would like to call the subcommittee back to order.
We have two remaining witnesses in this panel. We will hear now from Mr. Amr A. ElSawy. He is Senior Vice President and General Manager of MITRE. Welcome sir, you are recognized.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ELSAWY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and good afternoon.
Late in April of 2001, the FAA asked MITRE to conduct an independent assessment, based on your request, of the STARS Program. I would like to focus specifically on two areas: the software development schedule and the System Acceptance Test Schedule prior to the operational test and evaluation period at which time Raytheon turns the system over to the FAA.
As Mr. Zaidman said, we assembled a red team of experts from MITRE's Software Engineering Center and the Economic and Decision Analysis Center, both in Bedford and McLean. We attempted to look at the two issues: the software development schedule as well as the testing schedule.
Let me start by talking about the software assessment schedule first. There were approximately, as Mr. Marchilena said, at the time of the assessment, less than 15,000 lines of code that were planned to be developed. Those accomplish two functions specifically.
We examined the effort required for that code. As part of our examination, we did a detailed review of the software development processes at Raytheon. We looked at the plans. We looked at the documentation. We interviewed the development team members and the managers.
We looked at 44 other software programs that Raytheon was involved in as part of this program to try to get a sense of what their actual performance was against other plans and the actual performance of the team.
In addition to that, we also ran an industry standard software estimation models to validate the Raytheon experience against those models. So, I will be reporting based upon that process.
Overall, Raytheon's software schedule for the full STARS two (FS2) modules which we concentrated on is achievable, is only slightly compressed in the sense that the existing plan calls for 6.1 months of development and in fact the predicted is 6.4. So, that is less than five percent compression.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The model estimated that we would have approximately a 7.8 month predicted schedule compared to a 6.4. That is well within what we call the compression schedule in the industry. As long as it is less than 25 percent, there is a high likelihood that that schedule is achievable. So, we believe that the 6.4 month is very much achievable.
In analyzing Raytheon's FS2+ software development, we looked also at the staffing plans and we evaluated the attrition rates for the team. We in fact concluded that Raytheon has the needed staff on board to be applied to the software development activities as well as the testing activities.
Raytheon, in our opinion, would have to experience a significant increase in their planned effort or in the software integration effort for us to see a significant change from those planned schedules.
The analysis that we are talking about is based on data that is collected on a week-to-week basis. So, as part of our review, we recommended that FAA continuously monitor the software development process.
You have heard a lot of numbers this morning. That is a function of the fact that those numbers have to be baselined on a week-by-week basis. From week to week, you may see changes. Over the next six months or so, that is going to be a critical element of the monitoring of this program.
In fact, monitoring of the development activities, the software progress and making sure that the lines of code estimates are completed, over the next six months, is going to be a critical process.
Raytheon has the processes in place and has the metrics in place to be able to do that. In briefing Mr. Voss and the STARS Program Office, they have accepted our recommendation to continue to monitor the progress on a week-to-week basis.
So, let me now shift to the System Acceptance Test Phase where the various pieces of the software come together prior to the operational test and evaluation. In order to successfully go through this process, the Type l and Type 2 and test critical problem trouble reports have to be in fact closed out. That is part of the Raytheon agreement with the FAA.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Based on our analysis of the data as late as June 5th, we believe that the Raytheon planned resources for the Systems Acceptance Test appear to be adequate in order to close the PTRs. That is not to say that there are not risks associated with that.
But overall, we think that the effort required for closing PTRs and retesting remains well within Raytheon's planned capability and well within the resources available in order to meet the milestones of the program.
The reason that we continue to recommend the continuous monitor of the PTRs is as you bring the two software pieces together or the systems together with the hardware, you always have the risk of discovering new problems or new issues and that may in fact stress the software development team and the integration and test teams.
So, between now and the December timeframe we are in a critical time in the program in terms of continuing to monitor the PTRs, the Program Trouble Reports. They must be recognized and classified early in the process. Staff must be applied to make sure that the issues are resolved on a timely basis.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my recommendations and my observations. I would request that my statement be submitted for the record. I would be happy to answer some questions when you are ready.
Mr. MICA. Without objection your entire statement will be made part of the official record.
We will postpone questions until we have heard from our final witness. That is Michael Fanfalone. He is the National President of the Professional Airways Systems and Specialists.
Welcome, sir. You are recognized.
Mr. FANFALONE. Thank you. Chairman Mica, Congressman Lipinski and members of the subcommittee, on behalf of the more than 11,000 FAA systems specialists and technicians, flight inspection pilots and procedures development specialists, aviation cabin and manufacturing inspectors, as well as their safety support staff, I thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I will summarize my testimony today and ask that my full statement be entered into the record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection your entire statement will be made part of the record. Please proceed.
Mr. FANFALONE. Thank you. The success of the STARS Program is critical to upgrading this country's terminal automation capabilities and to enable future increases in capacity and functionality.
Let me be clear at the outset of my remarks that PASS is not in favor of curtailing STARS. Rather, I would like to bring to your attention several concerns and to ask for your continued oversight.
As I mentioned in previous testimony before this subcommittee, while STARS is aimed at replacing the terminal automation systems at approximately 172 FAA towers and TRACONs, as well as 102 DOD facilities, the immediate and pressing need is that nearly 50 of the existing ARTS IIIA facilities cannot tolerate any further slippage to the schedule.
These must be replaced by the 2004 timeframe. The hardware will no longer be supportable. The software will not accommodate any growth in air traffic operations and they cannot be retrofitted.
From our vantage point, there are four elements of the STARS Program that need to be focused on in order to replace the IIIA facilities in time to keep from putting the NAS at further risk. First is the STARS software development itself. The initial full-service software package, known as FS1, is currently being tested. However, it adds minimal enhancements to the functions that currently support air traffic control.
The next version is FS2 that will support more functions and 100 percent of the computer human interface requirements. The final version, FS2+, will then support the full operation requirements and is scheduled to be on line by November 2002.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In an independent study, as was mentioned, MITRE Corporation has found that Raytheon should be able to deliver FS2+ in time to meet the schedule.
Notwithstanding that any slip due to problems in development or testing can jeopardize the overall schedule, this should be encouraging news to everyone.
The second element needing full attention deals with the STARS safety functions, namely minimum safe altitude warning, conflict alert, and Mode C intruder.
STARS uses the radar tracker program to provide both visual and audible alarms should aircraft go below a safe altitude or when two aircraft are in close proximity of each other. During testing, however, these have either failed to alarm properly or have given high false alarm rates.
To certify STARS for safe operation, these performance issues must be corrected.
The third element is that STARS requires digital radar information. The ASR11, currently in development, is suffering problems from its own software setbacks including weather processing, poor receiver sensitivity and the inability to run both transmitters at the same time.
FAA is looking into a supplemental radar digitizer should the ASR11 not be ready in time. A lengthy delay, however, could mean 100 or more radar sites would need this equipment and at $1 million per site, this will be extremely costly.
The fourth element addresses the capability of the technical workforce itself to support STARS during installation and then once it is operational. Their training is critical to the overall success of the program.
PASS has provided FAA with a training plan that actually makes the deployment schedule possible through on-site just-in-time training that also assures that the existing systems continue to be supported.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Although this plan was agreed to last November by the highest levels in FAA, it has not received the level of support from Airway Facilities management that is needed for success. Because of this the full-service training curriculum is not completed, nor are there a sufficient number of instructors yet available.
Given these four critical elements and the fact that the ARTS IIIA sites cannot tolerate any setbacks to the schedule, I ask that this subcommittee hold FAA accountable for developing a meaningful supplemental plan that includes timeframes and cost estimates.
As the President of PASS, I offer the technical expertise of our members to assist FAA in analyzing options and in developing such a plan. But FAA itself must see this as a priority.
Again, I thank the subcommittee for conducting this all-important hearing and for inviting PASS to testify. I would be happy to answer any questions. Thank you.
Mr. MICA. Thank you. We will begin the questions. I have some first, for FAA.
Last month's testing of FS1, I understand, yielded about 500 trouble reports or PTRs. I want to know, first of all, how significant these PTRs are. I am told that about 112 of 478 must be fixed before FAA can begin the testing of FS2. Maybe you could respond and tell me your assessment.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Yes, I will be happy to, Mr. Chairman. We divide PTRs in four categories. One and two are critical. Three and four are less critical. The numbers you cite are generally accurate. We are consistent with MITRE, and I will give you two statistics to show you the trend.
On May 25 when the MITRE report was issued, there were 152 outstanding level one and two trouble reports. Less than two weeks later, on June 5th, we were down to 90. That is a decrease of 52 in a little under two weeks. Our target, Raytheon's target, is to bring that number down to zero by July 6th. The total number of PTRs on May 25 was 416. On June 5, they were down to 350. This was the total, including the less critical PTRs, which was a difference of 66. Our target with Raytheon by July 6 is to bring the total number down to 150 before entering the next phase of testing.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I should say that PTRs are generated on the criticality to the system, as Mr. Fanfalone mentioned, and on the alarm example, not on the complexity or the time that it takes to fix them.
Many of the Level Three and Four PTRs are documentation shortcomings that need to be fixed. Some of them are items that need to be addressed that will have an operational impact on the system but not a critical impact on safety or efficiency.
So, ultimately we will drive the total number of PTRs down to zero, but this is normal in our testing. When it comes to the overall systems acceptance testing, we have had a success rate of 95 percent successful completion of the test parameters which is one of the highest that I have been familiar with in my years at FAA. That was for FS1.
In contrast to that, the EDC system that is in service now, had a pass rate of 85 percent. So, I think we are improving along with the system as we learn more and more how to develop it.
Mr. MICA. In March I asked the FAA to develop detailed cost and schedule information for all 164 STARS sites. So far you have only provided us with information for 56 sites. Can you give us some detail, possibly reveal to the committee some of your additional cost estimates that have not been disclosed, and also schedule for completion.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Yes. The list that you have in front of you, Mr. Chairman, has the first 67 sites. We have done a detailed study and site surveyed many of those locations to identify what equipment is there now and what needs to be changed.
Our information at this point in time shows there is an additional $80 million requirement, not for the automation itself, but for training, and site adaptation, which is a major challenge for the STARS system.
With respect to the full system of 172 locations, we are less certain in our assessment for two reasons: One, we didn't have the opportunity to do as detailed an assessment on a site-by-site basis for the remaining 100 or so systems. The second reason is that between now and 2005 the National Airspace System (NAS), will be changing.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In April we did an initial assessment of the total cost of the whole system. It would be an additional $236 million. But through the efficiencies noted in the Terminal Business Unit under Mr. Voss' leadership, we scrubbed that number.
As of June, that number is down to $171 million. Now, I would just caution the committee that these are preliminary numbers. They may go down further or they may go up as we complete these site-by-site assessments.
Mr. MICA. One of the critical components to the development of the STARS Program is that ASR11. While it sounds like we have made some good progress in solving some of the STARS software challenges, the reports we have gotten from just about everybody indicate that the radar component is having some serious problems.
What is FAA planning to do to see that the ASR11 schedule doesn't slip and impact STARS?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. We have been working with the Department of Defense who manages that contract with us in that they have similar ASR11 requirements as well as Raytheon. Our FAA engineers, the DOD engineers, and the Raytheon engineers all have agreed upon a solution which has been a challenge to ASR11.
Basically the ASR11 report, preliminary findings that came out of DOD said there was a higher level of false target reports than is optimally needed by that radar. This would require a software change in how that radar looks at airplanes, birds and weather, which is, we think, very possible.
The start of FAA operational testing and evaluation testing is scheduled to begin this December. I think that date may be at risk to as much as June. I am not saying that with certainty. But it depends on how we, Raytheon and DOD initiate the software fixes in the coming months between now and the fall.
I will have a better estimate, certainly by the next time we see you in September.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. You will see me the first week we get back, the week of September 10, all of at least our Federal folks.
I also have a concern that if we don't have these radars developed and in place, they require one key component, as I understand it is a digitized component. If that is not in place, I am told that we are going to have to have some type of a digitizer acquired to make the STARS function.
I am also told that that cost about $2.1 million a copy. Is that being considered as a backup plan? Who produces the digitizers?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Well, that cost number is correct. That is part of our backup plan. We would ask that Raytheon produce or obtain those digitizers as part of the service delivery of ASR11.
Mr. MICA. Now, you know Raytheon are nice folks and they are working on this program, but part of their obligation, I guess, is producing the ASR equipment and they are producing that; right?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Yes, they are.
Mr. MICA. Raytheon needs to produce it digitized so it can work as an integrated component to the STARS Program. Do they have any penalty or is this just an extra cost to the government, an add-on that they didn't have any obligation to deliver that equipment with a digital component.
Mr. ZAIDMAN. That would have to be the discussion of negotiations under the Raytheon contract both with FAA and DOD who is the contract authority for the ASR11. My personal belief, Mr. Chairman, is that we have contracted out for not only equipment, but also a service.
The STARS does require a digital input. Speaking for the FAA, we would hold the vendor accountable for delivering the service capability to FAA, not just the technology as a piece-by-piece procurement.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. How big a procurement would you estimate would be required at this stage?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. At this stage we have one place, notably Philadelphia, that requires a digitizer for one particular radar that feeds into the Philadelphia TRACON, that being Willow Grove and the Naval Air Station there. That is our immediate need. Philadelphia goes on line in STARS in November 2002.
The next site requiring digital feed, I believe, is Santa Barbara, which goes on line at the latter part of 2004. This is a very serious watch item because, as you say, it does require a digital signal to operate STARS. But having said that, Mr. Chairman, Raytheon is looking at the STARS architecture to see if modifications can be made to accept an analog signal as well, much like Common ARTS does today. That would alleviate the need for digitizers. Raytheon, with STARS-like products overseas, does have this capability..
Mr. MICA. Did you want to respond, Mr. Marchilena?
Mr. MARCHILENA. Yes. I would like to say first of all that I don't think you understand the changes that are being made to the ASR11, the first set of them for weather at the outer fringes of the radar capability are already done and in test.
The second set of changes that are required, half of those were actually specified or defined on June 6, and they will be in test by July. The second half of those will be defined by June 21st. I believe having the radar ready for testing in October is not a problem at all.
I would also like to point out that the first system delivery in November 2002, relative to the scheduled delivery of ASR11 now has 18 months of contingency in it. With one digitizer, if you really wanted to go put one on in Philadelphia, or use scan converters, the other thing that can be done. In going to Santa Barbara, you would now have 28 months of contingency in the schedule. So, I don't believe there is much schedule risk here.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Ms. Stefani, the Inspector General sort of reported back that one of the critical junctures is going to be mid-July. Can you tell us the importance of what we need to be looking for at this mid-July juncture and how that will affect the program?
Ms. STEFANI. Yes, sir. As a result of the May tests where the over 500 trouble reports were identified, the mid-July tests will retest the changes made. So, it is very key to see how effective the changes were. That really is the key to see where we go to next.
The STARS versions are like building blocks. But they are interrelated. They are not modular. So, in order to continue the program and continue the testing, Version One has to be solid so that Version Two can work.
Mr. MICA. By the week of September 10th, we should be able to tell whether they have actually accomplished those timetables and objectives?
Ms. STEFANI. Definitely for Version One, yes.
Mr. MICA. Mr. Marchilena, you spoke a little bit about deployment and felt that we could actually increase the schedule for deployment. Is that correct?
Mr. MARCHILENA. From a Raytheon point of view, yes, we can increase the schedule.
Mr. MICA. But the problem, I guess, is personnel possibly the radar component?
Mr. MARCHILENA. I don't believe the radar component is that risky. In the radar portion of it, I can speak for what Raytheon does.
Mr. MICA. Can you cite again what it would take to expedite the deployment?
Mr. MARCHILENA. We could reduce it by about a year and a half to two years by moving deployment forward. We can take the 2006 and 2007 funds and move them into 2002 through 2005. I believe we could take about a year and a half to two years out of the schedule by doing that.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From a radar point of view, what we would have to look at is that the current requirement for production on the radars is 36 radars. Raytheon's capital investment will allow us to go as high as 50 radars. So, we believe doing that we should be able to take a year and a half out.
Now, that is without what it takes for installation and everything else. Those things ought to be looked at.
Mr. MICA. That is dependent on the radars being on time and being operational. You have orders for 36 per year.
Mr. MARCHILENA. Thirty-six per year is our capability.
Mr. MICA. But you say you can do 50.
Mr. MARCHILENA. Yes.
Mr. MICA. Then what would sort of be the balance that would have to be brought forward?
Mr. MARCHILENA. Well, if you moved to 50, what you probably would need to do is to have a cushion in the radars of about one year. Out of the 36, 24 of them were FAA. So, you need to have a cushion of about a year to put in there. That may mean a year of using scan converters or digitizers at certain places. Those details need to be worked out.
Mr. MICA. Mr. ElSawy, you spoke about a five percent deviation, which is acceptable. Then we jumped from 6.4 to 7.8, which gets us up to a higher deviation. What is the likelihood we are going to see the higher rather than the lower?
I can go with you on the lower acceptability deviation, but
Mr. ELSAWY. Let me be clear, Mr. Chairman. The 6.1 number and the 6.4 number are based on the Raytheon plans and the demonstrated performance on 44 software projects by the same team.
The 7.8 number is based upon the modeling. Based upon that, we believe that given Raytheon's demonstrated performance, that the 6.1 to 6.4 numbers are more likely.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But even if you accepted the higher number of 7.8, the difference between the 7.8 and the 6.4 is well within the capability of Raytheon to perform. So, we believe that 6.1 to 6.4 are very likely and very reasonable.
Mr. MICA. Well, again, we will have an opportunity the week of September 10th to get an update.
Let me yield at this time, and I appreciate her indulgence, we will extend as much time as she needs to ask questions.
Ms. Tauscher, you are recognized.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Zaidman, I get the sense that Mr. Marchilena is very optimistic. I think he is probably optimistic by nature. Can you explain to me why there is a disparity, in my opinion, and perhaps others of what is realistic and what is probable about this ASR11 situation?
You talked just now in testimony or a response back to the Chairman about a slippage of as much as eight or nine months, December to June. That is a lot of time in my mind. It looks like this is an accelerated schedule to begin with. What happens if we fall out of bed?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Well, I guess I am paid not to be overly optimistic but I do see the glass as half full. The FAA's responsibility is to provide the service. We are under contract with DOD to take 36 radars per year. Raytheon can manufacture up to 50. It is the responsibility of FAA to deploy these radars but radars are tricky business. We cannot simply do it to affect STARS. FAA has to acquire new land, particularly from private sources and do environmental studies, all the things that one needs to do in a systems context to deliver the service capability.
So, while it is true that a vendor can increase the rate of production, FAA's ability, to install the radars in compliance with the processes that are in place, may lag behind the manufacturer's ability to produce the hardware. It is solely FAA's responsibility to do this.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, looking at the need for STARS to have digital service, to me, it is more than producing a radar. It is the ability to turn on that radar and have it accepted in the NAS, which includes all the facets of that.
Ms. TAUSCHER. This whole issue of the digitizers seems to kind of be like something that we can fix. But it seems very hard to me. Is it a solution that we use analog temporarily or is it that we demand to have digitization?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Well, the FAA requirement was for digital radars. There are several reasons for that. Basically, the quality of the signal is much better. In fact, out west, many of the FAA and DOD radars are digitized today because of the transmission distances from the radar site to the automation. The world is going toward digitalization, whether it is stereo equipment or cell phones or radar, because that is where the technology is. So, it is a requirement for FAA to have digital service.
In the interim, as Mr. Marchilena correctly says, there are short term work-arounds, if you will, from adding digitizers to having scan converters at the automation end. So, we can solve the problem, but the long-term solution, and I am talking about June back to December of this year, is to provide a digital signal from a digital radar.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Marchilena, how hard is it going to be to do that?
Mr. MARCHILENA. Well, it is not very hard. The STARS system that was installed at McGuire Air Force Base uses a digitizer now. It has analog radars.
The system that we installed in Hong Kong, which was the basis for the STARS takeoff, uses analog radars. This is not difficult to do.
Ms. TAUSCHER. You know, it is often said that 80 percent of the software takes 20 percent of the time and 20 percent of the software takes 80 percent of the time. Is the remaining 7,000 lines of code for STARS the most difficult?
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MARCHILENA. Absolutely not. It is the easiest. The most difficult code was brought to this program from previous products of Raytheon. The 900,000 lines of code, the most difficult code, is in the radar tracking code. The code that was added to this system basically is that which interfaces with the human and puts the display up. It is like what you get on your laptop. That is the stuff that needs to be done.
The stuff that was actually modified for this program, the tough code, was brought from the AutoTrac and TracView programs that have been sold worldwide.
Ms. TAUSCHER. So, you don't expect that there is any risk at all that the remaining code would take longer than expected to develop?
Mr. MARCHILENA. No.
Ms. TAUSCHER. When will we know that you have actually completed that?
Mr. MARCHILENA. Well, we have been on track. We were here in March. It has actually been on track for a couple of years. We were here in March and said that we would be down the road. We are down the road where we thought we would be. OK. There seems to be no risk to the ultimate October schedule.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Zaidman, do we have enough benchmarks in our schedule coming forward to make sure that we are not slipping in any of these places?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. I believe we do. We have benchmarks at various levels, from a high level down to virtually a week-by-week schedule for the various activities that have to be done.
For the first time, I think, with this committee's help, we have integrated that schedule, not just STARS and not just radars, but facility enhancements that have to be made to the physical infrastructure to accept the new equipment.
I think we are in pretty good shape. The key for FAA is to manage what we call high-level risk areas. The radar is one of them. The software is another one. We talked about PTRs. So, a measure of success for good program management is knowing your risk areas and having the appropriate metrics to know whether you are getting better or not.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you don't have the right metrics and risk areas, then really you don't know what you have. So, I think that is the challenge.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. ElSawy, given your assessment of the risk for STARS software development, how aggressive do you think the FAA should be in developing a contingency plan for the delay of STARS?
Mr. ELSAWY. Well, I think we need to separate the two parts. One is the FS1, FS2, System Acceptance Tests. I think clearly as we said, there are risks but it is something that has to be monitored on a week-by-week basis. The program office is doing that.
The overall plan that Mr. Zaidman discussed, I think, is pretty clear in terms of the options for the radar. Restarting from scratch at this point in time, I think, would be extremely expensive and also very, very high risk.
So, I think, as the subcommittee has recommended, there are certain areas where there needs to be options and alternatives in the schedule. I think that is very prudent.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Zaidman, what is the next deal-breaker deadline that we have coming up?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Well, the restart of what we call FS1 testing and the readiness review and initial testing of what we call FS2+. I am sorry about all these acronyms. But it does represent an incremental approach by FAA to knowing if we are on track. Those are two key watch points for us.
The third I would mention is the ASR11 testing that Mr. Marchilena talked about.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Fanfalone, can you talk a little bit about why you think it is important to have more than one full-time software specialist or at least one full-time software specialist per site?
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FANFALONE. What STARS brings to the workplace is a software environment that is new and unique in the FAA. Part of the responsibility of FAA is to manage the software system itself to provide the right information security at that system and to do radar data analysis.
That really needs to be a full time activity with properly trained people as opposed to a collateral duty by people who are responsible for also maintaining radars and beacons and other systems.
We don't have anyone in the environment out there who will ultimately be responsible only for STARS.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Is there something that can be done in the training regimen prior to installation or prior to going live at a site where this would mitigate the necessity of having someone there full-time?
Mr. FANFALONE. Well, it needs to be part of the training plan itself and the training plan that we have designed actually precedes the hardware deployment by about 18 months to make sure that the work force on site has the necessary prerequisite training so that when hardware is delivered they can then receive the necessary STARS training which would be about seven to twelve weeks, depending on the individual.
All of this is with the goal in mind that once commissioning on the site happens, our folks are fully trained and fully certified and capable of maintaining the system. So, we need about an 18-month lead time prior to hardware delivery for any given site.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Mr. Zaidman, does that work for you? Is that part of what you put into your schedule?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. Yes, I am pleased to say that with Mr. Fanfalone's work force we have a reliability rate in FAA for the National Airspace System of 99.7 percent. It is through the dedication of our air traffic controllers and specialist workforce that we have maintained that. So, I wholeheartedly agree.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. TAUSCHER. Yes, I think they are terrific. I think we are very blessed to have them work so hard. I think this is a great new skill set for them. I think as much as we can do to get them ready and to keep them in the loop. I know you work closely with Mr. Fanfalone. I appreciate that.
That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you for your questions.
I have one final question for FAA. It has come to the attention of the subcommittee that the FAA has discovered some stress cracks in ASR9 structural supports. I am curious as to what FAA is doing to fix the problem.
Also, I am told that the ASR9 computer processors need to be updated. What is the situation with this and what is it going to cost us to correct this situation?
Mr. ZAIDMAN. I am familiar with both of those, Mr. Chairman. Last year we did discover some stress fractures in the physical configuration, box beam support of the ASR9. We have fixed those. We designed a fix with Northrup-Grumman and with Lincoln Laboratory, one of our consultants.
In this year's budget, fiscal year 2002, we have a requested line item called ASR9 service life extension program. It is a request for a little over $12 million. Half of that money is dedicated to making the design changes nationally to fix the physical stress problem that you refer to.
The second part of that request begin money on making electronic improvements for upgrades of the processors and the electronics for the ASR9 as part of a multi-year program.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Mr. FANFALONE. Mr. Chairman, may I make a comment, please?
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MICA. Yes, just one final comment. Go ahead, Mr. Fanfalone.
Mr. FANFALONE. I would like to speak to the idea that has been presented today of accelerating the schedule for STARS. I would certainly encourage FAA not to begin trying to accelerate that schedule. I would hope this committee would support us on that. The comments you made about the ASR9 stress problems and so forth highlight the fact that there are about 50,000 systems and sub-systems out there that support the NAS infrastructure that our folks are responsible for.
So, while we are trying to put STARS in in a very responsible fashion, the 6,100 technical employees that I am responsible for are also trying to maintain 50,000 other systems. So, I would hope we don't try to accelerate an already ambitious STARS schedule.
Mr. MICA. Well, I appreciate your comment. I am looking for ways actually to accelerate the deployment, but also to ensure that we have adequate personnel, and that we also have adequate attention to some of the problems that we have with existing equipment and sites.
So, we will try to work on both and hopefully we can achieve that because we are far behind in both the development and deployment of these systems.
Today has given us an opportunity to again get another assessment of where we are in the very critical element of the overall plan that we heard presented here earlier, the operational evolutionary plan which is sort of our overall blueprint for the next decade.
However, we still have not gotten to where we need to be with one of the most critical elements and that is the final development and deployment of the STARS system which really is key to the operation of a modern air traffic control system right in the center and heart of the whole operations and that is the close proximity of our airports.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, I know no other way to proceed. Again, coming from the private sector, I expect the vendors and those working to implement this program to be responsive to us. We are calling everyone back the week of September 10th. We will get back with you with the specific date.
At that time I want FAA to report to us on several items. The first is the comprehensive risk assessment for the STARS deployment and also an assessment of our development progress. Secondly, a comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation plan for delays in the ASR11 program. We heard today that is one of the key components to make this program work. We may have some problems again with development and deployment of that equipment.
So, we want another update. We are reaching, as the Inspector General has pointed out today, a critical juncture in mid-July. So, we expect reporting back to the subcommittee. Hopefully, we can be responsible to the taxpayers who are paying for this, the traveling air passenger public who use our air system and expect a modern, dependable, and safe air traffic control system.
There being no further business to come before the Aviation Subcommittee, this hearing is adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 1:25 p.m. the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
Statement by Congressman Jerry F. Costello, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation
Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling today's hearing. I would like to welcome today's panels of witnesses. In this hearing we will discuss the FAA Operational Evolution Plan as well as continue discussion of STARS.
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The FAA released its Operational Evolution Plan (OEP) last week. The OEP should increase aviation capacity by 30% by 2010. This effort is the result of a partnership with the airline industry, the unions, general aviation and
aerospace manufacturers, and will align and integrate the FAA's modernization plan with those of the industry. I am hopeful that this will be a successful project.
The Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) is a joint program through the FAA and the Department of Defense, which is to replace the aging Automated Radar Terminal System at Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities across the nation.
As we learned at the last STARS hearing earlier this year, the modernization program had faced substantial cost overruns and numerous delays. It is my understanding that the complete implementation date for STARS is not until 2008, and we are currently more than two years past the original completion date for STARS.
It is important that we have an efficient, safe and reliable air traffic control system in place, but I am concerned with the cost overruns and the time delays of STARS. I am hopeful that the program is on the right track, and look forward to today's hearing to learn more about the current status.
Statement of Michael D. Fanfalone, President, Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS)
Chairman Mica, Congressman Lipinski and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and present our views on the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). PASS provides exclusive representation for more than 11,000 of the FAA's Systems Specialists, Flight Inspection Pilots, Aviation Safety Inspectors and support staff. These are the people who maintain the integrity of the National Airspace System (NAS). They certify, install and maintain the systems that comprise the NAS; conduct aviation, manufacturing and flight inspections throughout the industry; and provide procedures and flight checks necessary to ensure the NAS meets the needs of an ever growing and more complex aviation system.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC STARS will play a major role in the modernization of the NASa huge and complex network of interconnected systems. STARS will essentially modernize the automation systems and controller displays for the nation's air traffic control towers and terminal radar control facilities (TRACON's). We are encouraged by the priority given the STARS program. However, we also recognize many challenges exist, such as developing software, incorporating safety functions, providing digital radar capability, modernizing buildings, and securing full support for the training and staffing needs of Systems Specialists.
Even with the magnitude of issues, cancellation of STARS at this point in the acquisition process would ensure failure of modernization in the terminal services environment. PASS asks this Subcommittee to continue overseeing its development. Because terminal automation upgrading plays such an important role in NAS modernization, we again ask that the FAA be accountable for developing a meaningful supplemental plan as a contingency should the STARS schedule be delayed for any reason.
STARS software development is based on the concept of developing a base model and building from it. The initial baseline is known as STARS Full Service-1 (FS1), a software package with minimal enhancement to the functions currently supporting air traffic control. It is being tested and is scheduled for deployment at the two FAA key sites, El Paso and Syracuse, and a Department of Defense (DoD) facility, Fort Rucker, in early spring of 2002. Since this software is unable to fully support air traffic operations, subsequent software is required. FS2 software, currently being developed, has further enhancements to support more functional requirements and also contains 100 percent of the computer human interface requirements. A final version, FS2+, will then support the full requirements necessary for approximately 90 percent of the locations scheduled for full-scale deployment in November 2002. MITRE Corp. has completed an independent study and has found that Raytheon should be able to deliver FS2+ within the advertised schedule. Notwithstanding the concern that any slip in development or operational testing can jeopardize the schedule, this should be encouraging news to everyone involved.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTARS Safety Functions
Full service software for STARS requires a radar ''tracker'' to provide aircraft and flight data information to the controller displays as well as the necessary safety functions required by FAA, including Minimum Safe Altitude Warning, Conflict Alert and Mode C Intruder. Minimum Safe Altitude Warning provides visual and aural indications when an aircraft is at an unsafe altitude, while Conflict Alert and Mode C Intruder indicate when two aircraft are within close proximity to each other.
In order to ensure accuracy of these safety functions, Arcon Laboratories validates the mathematical algorithms used by the tracker. At present, Arcon has validated the basic tracking algorithm, but has not validated the Raytheon algorithms used for the safety functions. On advice from the FAA and Arcon, Raytheon has elected to use the same safety algorithms currently used by the Common Automated Radar Terminal System (Common ARTS). While this approach does provide known validated algorithms, formal tests have indicated that the Minimum Safe Altitude Warning has sometimes failed to sound an alarm when needed and Conflict Alert and Mode C Intruder have exhibited high false alarm rates. In order to certify STARS for safe operation in the NAS, these performance issues, which are currently being worked on, must be brought to a successful resolution.
Digital Radar (ASR11, Radar Digitizer)
Digital radar information must be available for STARS. At present, DoD and the FAA, in a joint acquisition, have contracted Raytheon to develop and deliver a digital radar. The Airport Surveillance Radar11 (ASR11), FAA's version, is suffering from its own developmental setbacks including software development, weather processing problems, poor receiver sensitivity and lack of diversity (the ability to run both transmitters at the same time).
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The FAA, to its credit, has begun investigating supplemental action to mitigate the potential lack of digital radar. The FAA is testing a radar digitizer to ensure the STARS program goes forward in the event the ASR11 is delayed. This digitizer seems like a good option, but it is expensive at $1 million per radar site. A lengthy delay in providing the ASR11 could mean 100 or more radar sites would need this equipment. This should not be the only option considered. Another option could be for Raytheon to develop a means for STARS to accept analog radar input and then digitize the information internally. Obviously, this task involves more development of the STARS software baseline. Another possibility is to retrofit the analog radars with existing solid-state digital receiver sub-systems. While this is certainly an option, it should only be a short-term, stopgap effort, as it does not address the need to replace these aging radar systems. The agency still expects the ASR11 program to be delivered on time and within budget and, therefore, is only seriously looking at using a radar digitizer in a very limited supplemental role. PASS does not share that degree of confidence and strongly suggests the other options be seriously considered as well.
The STARS waterfall schedule will depend, in part, on the capabilities of the technical workforce, and proper training is critical for success. PASS has provided the FAA with a training plan that will actually make the deployment schedule possible through on-site, just-in-time training that allows every Systems Specialist to be trained and certified by the time STARS becomes operational at each site. PASS' training plan is based on best practices of industry, including Web-based training and the adoption of industry standard certifications for pre-requisite training (Microsoft, A+, Solaris and Net+ certifications). The PASS plan enables the FAA to meet Administrator Garvey's goal of full deployment by the end of fiscal year 2008.
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Although the PASS plan was agreed to at the highest echelons of the FAA last November, its implementation and execution has not received the level of support from Airway Facilities (AF) required for success. Due to this lack of support, it has been overly difficult to develop the full service training curriculum and hire instructors. Although two individuals have been identified for months now to develop the curriculum, nothing has been completed. Additionally, the agency has failed to exercise any of the flexibility that Personnel Reform advertised and refuses to offer incentives to attract sufficient instructors to accomplish the training.
Another aspect adversely impacting the schedule is that AF management does not accept that the STARS system moves the workforce into the software world. Integrated, networked systems, such as STARS, require on-site support, including system administration, radar data analysis, on-going site adaptations and information security. PASS believes these functions are critical and warrant at least one full-time software specialist per site who is specifically trained and appropriately compensated. However, AF, guided by its nickel and dime traditional mentality, insists these are no more than collateral duties for watch-standers responsible for many systems besides STARS.
PASS has had an increasingly difficult time keeping bargaining unit employees engaged in modernization efforts because of the half-hearted follow through by AF on agreements. Without the ''buy in'' of field-level technical specialists, PASS strongly believes adhering to ambitious schedules such as STARS and other modernization efforts will be questionable.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSupplemental Plan
The FAA needs to be realistic about beginning deployment in just two years. We believe a supplemental plan must be established now to ensure the most severely outdated equipment is replaced. ARTS IIIA, the automation system with the direct need to be replaced, is beyond its life cycle at approximately 50 locations. ARTS IIIA hardware is no longer supportable, its software cannot support any growth in air traffic and it cannot be retrofitted. It needs to be replaced. With an aging workforce as the only ones who know how to keep this system running and a limited training platform, ARTS IIIA simply cannot be supported beyond the 2004 time frame without inducing significant risk to the integrity of the NAS.
PASS believes Common ARTS should be seriously considered in the formulation of a supplemental plan. It is currently deployed at approximately 140 locations in two configurations, with each running the same Common ARTS software. We have a high level of confidence in the ARTS IIIE version that is currently running at six of the busiest TRACON'S and is scheduled to be installed and operational at four additional facilities in the next two years. Additionally, it is currently undergoing a hardware upgrade to support the expanding functionality required at the large consolidated TRACON's. We feel comfortable that should the STARS platform not be ready in time, a version of Common ARTS software running on an ARTS IIIE platform will satisfy the requirements at the critical ARTS IIIA facilities.
However, this cannot be a last minute decision. Whether the agency chooses the Common ARTS option or another one, vendors need sufficient lead-time, at least for their own planning. FAA needs to identify its supplemental plan now should STARS not be ready to begin replacing the ARTS IIIA as scheduled.
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Terminal Business Service
PASS remains guardedly optimistic regarding the newly created Terminal Business Service (ATB), a management approach that is long overdue. While bureaucratic management tends to reorganize to defuse blame, ATB's basic principle to provide a singular focus for responsibility and accountability seems like a step in the right direction. ATB must be able to survive in a government bureaucracy and by already absorbing a larger scope of the terminal picture has shown it just may be able to do that. We will continue to support ATB's efforts to bring structure, responsibility and accountability to the terminal environment.
Operational Evolution Plan
Last week's announcement by the FAA of the Operational Evolution Plan (OEP) is also encouraging. The OEP provides a holistic look at the NAS and, as such, helps clarify the root causes of delay and capacity issues. With a common understanding among the industry stakeholders, meaningful solutions can be possible. Stakeholders must realize they need to do their own part or delays and capacity issues will only worsen. Additionally, the OEP is not an overnight fix. With the summer storm season upon us, everyone in our industry must continue to work the OEP and not revert to finger pointing.
The successful deployment of STARS is dependent on continued financial support by Congress and a coordinated and collaborative approach to resolving issues as they arise. PASS is fully prepared to continue supporting the modernization efforts for the terminal environment. However, we need FAA's help to do so. We ask this Subcommittee to continue providing much needed oversight of the STARS program, including the incorporation of the issues we have raised today. On behalf of the PASS members who are committed to maintaining the NAS and certifying air safety, I thank Chairman MICA, Congressman Lipinski and the Members of this Subcommittee for holding this hearing.
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Opening Statement of Congressman William O. Lipinski
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. Since my time here today is limited, I will keep my remarks brief.
A modern air traffic control system is a critical component of our national aviation system. As a result, oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration and its effort to modernize our nation's air traffic control system is one of the most important responsibilities of this Subcommittee.
Unfortunately, the FAA does not have a great track record when it comes to its efforts to modernize. For example, STARS, the focus of today's hearing, is over-budget and behind schedule. During our hearing in March, we learned that the development of STARS is now complete and that the next challenge is deploying the system to the field. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses here today about how the STARS program has been progressing over the last three months and the status of the deployment schedule.
I also look forward to learning the details of the Operational Evolution Plan. From my understanding, the OEP provides a solid blueprint for relieving congestion in our national aviation system over the next ten years. I hope that the FAA as well as the aviation industry is fully committed to the goals outlined in the report.
Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. I commend you for your vigilant follow-up on the STARS program. I yield back the balance of my time.
Opening Statement of Frank A. LoBiondo
Thank you Chairman Mica and Congressman Lipinski for holding this second hearing to receive testimony updating the Subcommittee on FAA's efforts to deploy STARS (the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System).
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I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues on this Subcommittee who recently visited the FAA Tech Center in my Congressional District, where the FAA is in the process of testing the software. I believe this visit provided an invaluable opportunity for the Members of the Subcommittee to view first hand the dedicated work that is ongoing at the Tech Center to insure that this system meets all of its milestones and provides the necessary solutions to the problems associated with modernizing our national air traffic control system.
I want to welcome our panel of witnesses and once again welcome Steven Zaidman, the FAA's Associate Administrator for Research and Acquisitions, who oversees the FAA Tech Center's involvement in this program.
I look forward to receiving your testimony today. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Statement of Frank Marchilena, Executive Vice President, Raytheon Company, and President, Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Lipinski, and Members of the Subcommittee.
My name is Frank Marchilena and, I'm an Executive Vice President of Raytheon Company and President of Raytheon's Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems.
I appreciate the opportunity today to update the subcommittee on Raytheon's work on the FAA/DoD STARS program.
Since we last met in March, Raytheon, the FAA, and the Department of Defense have continued the program on schedule and have successfully accomplished significant milestones in the areas of development, support and deployment. In addition, plans for near-term and longer-term deployment activities have been reviewed and we are confident that the baseline plan is achievable. Also, I believe opportunities exist to accelerate the STARS deployment and I would like to discuss some possible ways that an expedited rate could be achieved.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As I mentioned in March, the STARS Early Display Configuration (EDC) product has been in error-free operational use for over a year at the initial sites of El Paso and Syracuse. The final EDC product, which provides the remainder of the controller-requested Computer Human Interface requirements, successfully completed operational test and evaluation at the FAA's Technical Center in April. This final EDC product is now operational at El Paso and Syracuse and is in process for deployment to eleven additional sites beyond the initial sites. In addition, the DoD STARS system at Eglin AFB has been controlling live air traffic since entering multi-service operational test and evaluation (MOT&E) in June 2000. All of these systems have been received with very positive feedback from the users. This is a great testament not only to the system's stability, useability, and supportability but to the people and organizations involved in fielding a new product.
Now, let me summarize where we are in the Full STARS system development. In March I reported that just 15K lines of code remained to be developed for STARS National deployment. Today, I am pleased to report that all of the software needed for the National Deployment of STARS, except for 7K lines of code or 1/2 of 1% of the total software has completed development and the majority of testing has also been completed by both Raytheon and the FAA. This software is now running in shadow mode operation at El Paso to gain early user feedback. Development of all air traffic controller and maintainer requested computer human interface changes needed for national deployment is complete and incorporated. The first phase of Full STARS System Acceptance Testing completed in May as planned. This successful test was conducted over a seven-week period and included over 9,600 test steps. The last 7K lines of code remaining in development addresses the final advanced functional interfaces to other elements of the National Airspace System (NAS). This is the Full STARS product that is the baseline for National deployment. As I stated in March, this last bit of development is proceeding on schedule, with completion planned for October of this year.
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Let me summarize our STARS development accomplishments since we met in March:
EDC product development and test completed on schedule in April and is planned for deployment to 11 additional sites beyond El Paso and Syracuse in 2002/2003
Full STARS Computer Human Interface development is complete and in test
Full STARS development completed as planned in May
Full STARS software successfully completed the first phase of System Acceptance Testing in May
The STARS National Deployment Baseline continues on plan for completion in October 2001
Continued on plan accomplishments combined with just 1/2 of 1 % of the software remaining to be developed leads to the conclusion that the STARS development program is low risk to complete as planned, and an independent review panel conducted by MITRE in May 2001 has confirmed that these plans are reasonable and achievable.
Before I move off of the STARS development program I would like to recap for you the methodology used in procuring STARS. Raytheon provided to the STARS system over 900K lines of modern software code from its company funded AutoTrac and TracView air traffic management systems. This formed the STARS baseline that has now been tailored with requested modifications to the computer human interface and unique features for operating in the NAS. This approach (after stakeholder consensus was reached) has proven very successful and should be considered as the model for future large development programs.
With STARS development at low risk to complete, the program focus has shifted to STARS deployment. Critical to a system's deployment is the associated support structure. In this area, STARS is well positioned as we enter Limited Production. Four key support elements have been already established and are in place:
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC the STARS Central Support Complex in Atlantic City, NJ;
Operational Support Facilities in Nashua, NH. and Houston, TX;
the Interim Depot in Norfolk VA; and
the Training Academy in Oklahoma City.
Two additional STARS training systems were brought on-line last month at Oklahoma City expanding the capacity from 4 to 6 systems allowing for an increased throughput of STARS training. And next year, two additional operational support facilities will be brought on-line to complete the FAA's plan to support the near-term planned deployment rate.
Initial deployment has been initiated and eleven additional EDC sites are proceeding to come on-line for FY 02/03. The equipment for the first two of these sites, Memphis and Hartford, is already being prepared for delivery to site. STARS equipment has also been delivered, installed and integrated at the DoD's first low rate initial production site, McGuire AFB. In the longer term, STARS is currently planning to complete deployment to the FAA facilities in FY07 and the DoD facilities in FY 11. This equates to a peak deployment rate of approximately 35 systems per year for the FAA and 15 systems per year for the DoD for a total deployment rate of 50 systems per year.
Raytheon is fully ready to support this schedule and have the capacity to deploy STARS at more than twice the planned rate if required. If higher deployment rates are desired, key areas of Facility Modernization, Training, and Support need to be addressed. Let me briefly address these areas.
FAA Facility modernization is a key area that needs to be addressed for accelerated STARS deployment. Through the FAA's Technical Support Services Contract or TSSC, an in-place, pre-qualified network of support subcontractors already exists in every FAA region and can facilitate modernization needs in an accelerated fashion. Site preparation and facility modernization requirements could be performed through the in-place STARS or TSSC contracts. A flexible plan could be implemented earlier to address modernization needs of the smaller facilities that are currently planned for STARS deployment in the out years.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another key element to accelerate deployment is training. Both air traffic controller and maintenance technician training needs to be complete for a facility to go operational. Raytheon can provide additional training systems and services beyond that already provided to the FAA Academy to expedite the FAA's ''train the trainer'' methodology. In addition, computer based and/or web-based delivered training courses could help meet accelerated deployment demands.
In another key area critical to accelerated deployment, the FAA's operational support activity that includes software maintenance and site adaptation packages needs to be supplemented by providing additional management and technical resources during the peak deployment years. This would include supplementary support to the FAA Technical Center and STARS Operational Support Facilities.
One last element of deployment is the required radar interface. Of the 166 FAA TRACONs that are scheduled to receive STARS, 74 planned sites are ready with a digital ASR9 that is in operation. The FAA's ASR11 program is procuring 24 new digital ASR11 radars per year for installation at sites that have the older analog radars. If an expedited STARS deployment path is pursued, the accelerated rate can be accommodated through increased annual buys of ASR11 in combination with the use of an interim digitizer at sites awaiting ASR11 installation.
In summary, I am pleased to say that the vast majority of the STARS National deployment baseline development is behind us and we are moving forward with all stakeholders in agreement. Remaining development activities are achievable and considered low risk. And we, Raytheon, have accomplished this well within our cost baseline established over two years ago. The FAA's current integrated deployment plan provides a low risk path to terminal area modernization, but I believe that an accelerated deployment can be achieved. With consensus from all interested parties, a flexible deployment approach can help accelerate STARS deliveries. Raytheon is ready to support the FAA's flexible deployment approach and can assist in facilities modernization, training and support. If deployment funding were to be provided earlier starting in FY 02, we believe that STARS deployment schedules could be accelerated by two years. This would result in an ultimate cost savings to the government by decommissioning the older maintenance intensive equipment sooner, thus bringing the benefits of a modern Air Traffic Control System to the user and the flying public earlier. In conclusion, as we move forward, the STARS National deployment baseline provides a reliable, open architecture system that is consistent with the FAA's safety and capacity improvements planned in the Free Fight initiatives.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you very much for your time and I would be pleased to answer any questions.
CONGRESSWOMAN JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD STATEMENT AT HEARING ON FAA'S EFFORTS TO MODERNIZE THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM
I want to thank Chairman Mica and Ranking Member Lipinski for calling today's hearing in order that we might focus on the Federal Aviation Administration's efforts to modernize our air traffic control system. The modernization of this system continues to be a priority for both the Subcommittee and the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Today's hearing is an opportunity to shed light on the Federal Aviation Administration's progress in developing the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) and the just released Operational Evolution Plan (OEP).
I, like so many of my colleagues have heard from many constituents and community groups whose quality of life is directly impacted by their ability to use air transportation as their mode of travel. As the need for air transportation increases we run the risk that our current air traffic control system will be inadequate to meet future demands. Last year, more than 600 million people used air transportation. In just 10 years, the number will skyrocket to a billion.
The FAA air traffic control modernization program has a history of cost overruns, delays and failures; STARS has been no exception. STARS is more than 2 years past the original date for operational readiness and is still several years away from becoming operational.
The FAA, under the leadership of Administrator Garvey, has made significant progress in modernizing the air traffic control system. Our system can no longer be characterized as outdated and antiquated. Garvey's strategy of ''build a little, test a little, deploy a little, has begun to pay dividends. The STARS program has finally moved from development to deployment with initial versions operational in Syracuse, NY and El Paso, TX. All of these activities are essential to meeting the present and future demands of our air traffic control system.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Can the air traffic control system be improved? Absolutely, modernization is an ongoing process that requires planning, vision, and teamwork. The FAA's release of its OEP formalizes action plans for several efforts already underway at the FAA. The OEP will integrate and align modernization efforts with those of the aviation industry.
I am pleased that this subcommittee, with the help of our witnesses today, will once again examine the issues involved with modernizing our air traffic control system. If we want to be in a position to meet the demand for air travel in the future, we must have a system in place that can efficiently and safely move passengers and cargo.
I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses today regarding the aviation communities' efforts in modernizing our air traffic control system.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Statement of the Honorable James L. Oberstar, Ranking Democratic Member, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Thank you, Chairman Mica and Congressman Lipinski, for calling this hearing today to continue this committee's oversight of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement SystemSTARS, which is a fundamental building block for future air traffic control (ATC) modernization. Vigilant oversight by this Committee in the past has been successful in keeping the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on track to achieve its ATC modernization goals.
I am particularly concerned about the deployment schedule for STARS and other FAA modernization programs. At our March 14th hearing we learned that the deployment schedule is the highest risk for STARS. To meet the aggressive STARS deployment schedule, the FAA must have enough systems specialists available to prepare the facility, and to install, integrate, test and certify the new equipment. I know that the Terminal Business Unit is trying to coordinate deployment activities in the terminal environment to ensure that schedules are realistic, given the number of available staff. But, while this is occurring in the terminal area, I am concerned that this coordination is not Agency-wide.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Concurrent with STARS deployment, several other key systems are being deployed, including AMASS, WAAS, ASR11, Free Flight tools, and oceanic automation, just to name a few. Focusing on one specific program often causes the FAA to shift resources from other, less visible programs to satisfy Congressional concerns. Alternatively, the Agency often addresses staffing shortfalls by extending program deployment schedules. I would rather see additional staff hired than schedules stretched out extensively on other projects. I therefore urge FAA to conduct a realistic assessment of staffing needs for the next several years, given the number of modernization programs currently underway.
I understand that the FAA is also here to talk about its new Operational Evolution Plan or OEP. The OEP is a 10-year plan that coordinates FAA, NASA and industry efforts to solve the National Airspace System (NAS) congestion problems. This plan embodies the defining characteristics of Administrator Jane Garvey's leadership at the FAAinclusiveness, openness, and consensus building with all government and industry stakeholders. While the OEP elements are not new and challenges for implementation still exist, the FAA should be commended for creating this plan.
As I have said before, the solution to our congestion problem is multifaceted, with a critical role for everyone to play. The FAA must modernize the ATC system. The airports must build new runways. And the airlines must equip their aircraft to take advantage of the new technologies and procedures. With everyone working together, off the same plan, all the stakeholders will know what is expected of them and when.
The FAA has created dozens of plans before the OEP, and many of these ended up on a shelf gathering dust. It's time to stop just developing
planswe must now implement the good ideas in these plans. To successfully implement the OEP, the FAA must harmonize it with other plans within the Agency and ensure its employees are committed to achieving its goals. To this end, I am glad to hear that the OEP compliments the NAS Architecture (the FAA's comprehensive plan for NAS infrastructure modernization), and that it is a living document, intended to be updated as key decisions are reached, risks are mitigated, or new technological advances are made.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I look forward to hearing from the witnesses today.
Statement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) submits the following statement for the record on behalf of its 1.3 million members across the country and on behalf of its affiliate, AFSCME Council 26 which represents over 2000 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These FAA employees work on various FAA programs and have developed an expertise in many areas of aviation technology. The following statement is submitted by Rose Merchant, AFSCME President, Local 953 who has been an air traffic controller with the FAA for the past nineteen years.
I appreciate the opportunity to provide a statement with regard to the testimony given at the June 13, 2001 subcommittee hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) efforts to deploy the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS). I have spent over half my career developing requirements and conducting independent operational testing and evaluations on automation systems for the FAA. I have worked on the STARS system since its inception and it is in this capacity that I offer the following comments.
Raytheon has met or been close to meeting most of the deadlines for software development for STARS. However, one problem has been on the quality of that product to pass operational testing and to meet the operational needs. Raytheon's track record, versus analytical data on what their capability should be for resolving Problem Trouble Reports (PTRs) is what should be reviewed. Raytheon has had difficulties in meeting the projected PTR resolution schedule, requiring regression tests to evolve the software to the point of meeting the operational need. This has occurred in all phases of STARS (EDC1, EDC2, FS1, and the DoD version FSL).
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Delays in the ASR11 program and the associated problems for STARS were adequately addressed in the hearing and are actively being pursued by the FAA. One area of concern that was not discussed in the hearing is the effort that will be required to optimize each of the ASR11 radar for STARS and whether resources will be available. STARS has the capability to have multiple radar inputs (including long and short range). These radars vary in that long range radar is based off of true north while short range are off magnetic north. The effort required to mosaic the various radars together is extensive.
Overall, STARS has evolved to be a successful program due to the dedication of the employees that work on the program. As has been pointed out in at least two recent subcommittee hearings, STARS has made a major recovery. Having achieved this success. FAA is now changing the way they do business? The FAA is in the process of implementing the Terminal Business Service. While some aspects of the life cycle maintenance of these systems needs to be evaluated, the process for development of these systems, in particular STARS, was working effectively through the Integrated Product Team, referred to as the I-Team. The I-Team consisted of representatives from development, operational, test, and deployment organizations and members from various unions. Together, these individuals were responsible for the improvements to STARS.
The Terminal Business Service (ATB) changes the organizational structure, adding layers of management and essentially eliminates the equal voice for each of the organizations in the STARS program. More important, the operational focus, developing a system that actually meets the needs of the controllers and maintainers, is no longer discussed. In the initial discussions on the formations of ATB, it was described as a marriage between the development and the operational organizations. However, ATB overwhelmingly is represented by individuals from the developments organization. As a result, the focus is no longer cost, schedule, and performance but rather cost and schedule.
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The following are specific areas of concern with ATB and the negative affects that are starting to materialize:
The FAA has been criticized in the past for not holding managers accountable. The current ATB structure adds additional layers of management thus diluting the manager's accountability. It also changes the way operational requirements are determined and implemented. Today, there is one organization, the Air Traffic System Requirements Service (ARS) that receives requests for changes to requirements or additional requirements. ARS is then responsible for validating the operational need and conducting Investment Analysis for determining how (if at all) a requirement is to be implemented. Under ATB, there are up to five avenues for requirements to be established, eliminating the single point of contact. ''Requirements creep'' was determined to be one of the major factors in the failure of the Advanced Automation System (AAS) in the mid 1990s.
Several years ago, two independent studies identified that testing was a major factor in the deployment of systems that were not operationally acceptable. These studies stated that the fault did not lie in a failure to test (in fact the test organizations found considerable problems with the systems) but was caused by the test organizations receiving funding and direction from the development organization. They found that testing was often truncated due to cost or schedule problems. The agency addressed this issue and to some degree separated the responsibility of the test organization from the development organization. ATB not only puts the test organization back under the funding and direction of the development organization but went one step farther in that the employees that are responsible for the testing now have as their immediate supervisors those individuals responsible for the cost and schedule of the program. This conflict of interest was recently shown when the long standing criteria for classifying PTR were changed during testing of FS1 software. The criteria for exiting test is no type 1 or 2 PTRs. Typing of the PTR indicates the severity of the issue with type 1 being the significant operational impact. There were several type 1 and 2 PTRs that were downgraded to type 3s to allow the test to be ''concluded''.
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Employee to Manager Ratio
Over the past few years the FAA has decreased the number of supervisors and managers to adhere to the 15:1, employee to supervisor ratio. The establishment of the ATB does not adhere to this ratio. In several areas there is as little as 3:1 ratio. Layers of management have been added thereby reducing the number of employees each supervisor manages. In addition, there have been deputy positions created further decreasing the ratio. An example is the STARS Product Team. The STARS Product Lead has a deputy, two supervisors, and three staff. Each of those two supervisors has a deputy. One of the supervisors manages two additional supervisors while the other supervises four additional supervisors. This equates to a total of 12 supervisors/managers supervising 58 employees, a 5:1 ratio.
In addition, there are 9 team leads (all FG14 or FG15 grades) that do not have any employees or team members to lead.
In summary, the affect that the ATB will have on the development of automation systems is negative. All the problems that plagued the FAA through AAS and the early years of STARS, including ill-defined requirements, problems with testing, and development of a system that does not meet the operational needs will be seen again.
On behalf of the AFSCME members in the Air Traffic Services, I thank Chairman Mica and Members of the Subcommittee for holding these hearings and considering this statement.
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