Nextgen System Implementation Successes and Challenges for FAA Senior Executives: A Qualitative Descriptive Case Study

Nextgen System Implementation Successes and Challenges for FAA Senior Executives: A Qualitative Descriptive Case Study

Author: 
Alice C. Clark-Harris
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The purpose of the qualitative descriptive case study was to describe the successes and challenges of implementing strategies and processes for FAA NextGen (Segment Bravo) second round system technology efforts in comparison to the first round system technology efforts, known as NGATS (Segment Alpha). Themes generated from this study reflects: (1) lack of clear and consistent communication on system requirements, lack of implementation focus, and its impact to stakeholders; (2) system technology concerns to include the agency and stakeholders’ knowledge and technology based issues on the new technology; and (3) budgetary funding concerns because of congressional and stakeholders’ commitment uncertainties surrounding past program/project cessations to meet implementation milestones. Implications for leadership to consider from the study includes: (1) continuous and consistent communication with internal and external stakeholders; (2) detailed strategies and processes established and monitored in each segment of program implementation efforts to completion; and (3) collaborative partnership agreements with domestic and global leaders interconnected to the project/program. Further implications for executives to consider from the study includes: (1) stakeholder technology investment challenges to operate domestically and globally; (2) Controller Pilot Data Link (CPDLC) message set challenges (bandwidth concerns); (3) new entrants-space vehicle operations and unmanned aviation systems (UAS and Drones) operating in the national airspace; and (4) co-dependency challenges of maturing technologies to achieve standardization and operational functionality.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to the aviation community, especially the DOT/FAA for their diligent work in keeping the National Airspace (NAS) safe for the flying public. I would also like to dedicate this dissertation to FAA employees and the aviation community. I have the utmost respect for each of you. This dissertation is also dedicated to Dr. Paul Foster for continual support, guidance, and encouragement in completing this major achievement. Additionally, a special appreciation goes out to FAA senior executives and delegates, federal agencies, and private industries for their support in contributing to my research study. To my family and friends, I would like to dedicate this dissertation to all that walked aside me on this amazing journey. I would like to first thank my loving and supportive family for continually encouraging and supporting me during this arduous journey. My husband Tony Harris for taking this journey with me, my daughter Aqueta Clark for keeping me grounded, cheerful, motivated, and always having a listening ear, my daughter Kourtney Harris for her support, my son Lewis Clark Jr. for his loving support in cheering me on, my daughter in law Edrika Clark for her support, and my beautiful grandchildren Jasmin, Terrell Jr., and Jessica for keeping me smiling and grounded in love and happiness. A special dedication goes out to a very special person - my mother “Veora Willis” for the knowledge and perseverance she instilled in me during my formative years – Rest in Peace. This dedication also goes to my sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and cousins for their love and support during this inspiring journey. I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my Pastor, Dr. Johnny V. Baylor and wife, Dr. Sarai Baylor for their support, understanding, guidance, and encouragement on my scholarly journey. Without the love and support of my family and friends, the reward would not be as special.
Acknowledgements: 
First and foremost, I would like to thank God for giving me the love, strength and spiritual guidance to take this journey. I would like to thank my committee chair, Dr. Shawn Boone, EdD for accepting to be my mentor and coach in the midstream of my dissertation and sticking with me to completion. His encouragement, support, and guidance pushed me to pursue new educational terrains. Dr. Boone is commended for the tireless hours spent online and on the telephone to assist and encourage me to stay on track to attain this major achievement. I would also like to thank my other committee members, Dr. Martin Gunnell, PhD and Dr. Michael Lindquist, EdD for their constructive feedback and immediate attention when needed during my journey. My sincere appreciation to my committee for their major contributions to my scholarly achievement is beyond words. To my family (Tony, Lewis (Deon) Jr., Kourtney, Aqueta, Edrika, Jasmin, Terrell Jr., and Jessica), and extended family and friends, thank you for your love and support during this arduous journey. To my friends from FAA, colleagues, and classmates from the University of Phoenix, and personal mentors, thank you for your unwavering support. We have traveled a special journey together that was bonded with love and humility. Each of you hold a special place in my life and are truly lifelong friends.