Summary and Findings

Survey and Preliminary Study of the Military Implications of Changing Air Traffic Control

by S. L. Katten


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Military air traffic control suffers from fragmentation, no policy guidance, and poor coordination among the various programs. Few realize to what extent military aircraft are under civilian ATC. ATC has not kept up with increased traffic, higher speeds, and the mix of planes with different service needs. ATC personnel are seldom consulted on decisions vital to their effectiveness, such as airbase location. Military ATC upgrading programs are uncoordinated, producing duplications and voids. The air controller shortage increases, for lack of career incentives. USAF should request an overall, DOD-wide ATC plan under one System Project Office, with effective liaison with the FAA and the Department of Transportation, and with full military participation in analysis, design, and development of the upgraded third generation and the fourth generation ATC systems. ATC must be recognized as a complex and pervasive system vital to efficient aircraft operations of all users, and approached and managed in that context.

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