FAA assistant administrator for NextGen Edward Bolton Jr. addressed the second-day opening session on October 22 at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., seeking to assure attendees that the U.S. ATC modernization program is on track.
“Five days ago we delivered to Congress, on time, a commitment of work we will do over the next three years to accelerate the delivery of key NextGen initiatives to the flying public,” Bolton said. Developed under the NextGen Priorities Joint Implementation Plan (NPJIP), the initiatives include multiple runway operations, performance based navigation, surface and data communications.
Implementation of the NextGen air-traffic-management modernization program is one of the most complicated and vital efforts the agency has undertaken in its history. The program has been beset by delays, and a report from the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General released in September concluded the problems made if difficult to fully justify FAA investments in the program.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen has previously stated that NextGen modernization is a high priority for the organization and its members, “so the association has staff representation on all the major Next-Gen government-industry working groups.” That includes membership on the NextGen Advisory Committee, which developed the NPJIP.
Assistant administrator Bolton, who came to the FAA just over a year ago, heads a workforce of more than 900 government employees and controls an annual budget of $1 billion for the implementation process, which has been criticized for sluggish progress. Bolton has a track record of success with high-profile, high-budget programs.
He came to the FAA in September last year, following a long career in the U.S. Air Force where he most recently held the rank of major general. His last assignment was deputy assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller. Previous commands included the 45th Space Wing and the Eastern Range at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., where he administered a budget of $5 billion. Bolton saw more than 20 spacelift, shuttle, test and range missions launch successfully under his watch.
Inside the beltway, he held the office of deputy director for systems integration and engineering and was principal deputy to the chief operating office, establishing policy for space, cyber and information operations. He also served as director of space and cyber operations in Washington, D.C. and oversaw development of a cyber-career field.
On the West Coast, as a level III program manager, Bolton led the satellite and launch systems and the space launch and range systems programs at the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles.