ATCA’s Blue Skies Initiative (BSI) is an industry-government collaborative effort that will deliver a future-ready framework for modernizing the US NAS – one that defines a short-, mid-, and long-term vision for aviation while ensuring optimization of resources for all ATM stakeholders and users; is economically sustainable and scalable; educates the aviation community, flying public, and new users; and implements new entrant technology without sacrificing security and safety.




ATCA Blue Skies Initiative (BSI) Vision

The National Airspace System (NAS) embraces emerging and future concepts and technologies to create a safe, cyber-secured, sustainable, and equitable approach enabling resiliency of services while accommodating new business models, work force modernization, and integration of new entrants into the airspace.

Drivers of the ATCA BSI initiative

The NAS is complex, the exponential growth of new and diverse users and business models, the disruption from new technologies, availability of critical assets, chronic NAS performance challenges, and the need for updated certification and acquisition processes to accommodate the rapid pace of technology are putting pressure on the NAS and its support business infrastructure to maintain and evolve NAS performance to meet the needs of the aviation ecosystem.  The NAS must be reimagined to create a sustainable capability to balance operational capacity, efficiency and predictability.  In a complex system the primary objectives may need to focus on resiliency and adaptability.

Read the Launch Press Release


We Need Your Valuable Input - Take The BSI Survey

The ATCA Blue Skies Initiative is Seeking Your Stakeholder Input on Priorities to Inform the NAS Future-Ready Framework

The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is pleased to announce the next step of the ATCA Blue Skies Initiative (BSI). ATCA BSI is seeking industry and government feedback to inform the BSI working group committee’s approach in the development of the national airspace system (NAS) Future-Ready Framework. Our latest engagement will inform decisions that prioritize investments in the areas of infrastructure, operations, and research and development (R&D) activities that will shape the NAS in a post-COVID-19 world. 

Working Towards a Future-Ready Framework for NAS Modernization

Over the last few years, a variety of new and exciting operations have transformed the NAS, seemingly “out of the blue.” ATCA’s BSI was born out of an emerging need to address the many fundamental questions of how to meet the challenges of this “new NAS Operational Environment.” Who pays? Who governs? Who maintains? With technology no longer a barrier to a future aviation vision, the challenges the larger ATM community faces are identifying the business structure, developing the standards, exploring capabilities, and fostering a workforce with a culture of innovation that will best support this new NAS. Through conversations and debates, BSI will chart a dynamic and sustainable future for ATM. 

  Take a look at what we're thinking with our ebook.
View it HERE and download it HERE 

BSI Community Questions

In order to do our work, we need you! We will be posting BSI Community Questions regularly here and at all ATCA events. The questions only take a minute, but your answers can have a lasting effect on the national aerospace system. Thank you for contributing!


Strategic Pillars

The strategic pillars will speak to five key areas:


Enable seamless and agile operations across diverse users, from surface to space.
  Derive the core NAS capabilities such as Navigation, Communications, Surveillance, Air Traffic Management, Timing and Weather. 
  Establish a framework to promote innovation and equality while enabling scalability, flexibility, and sustainability.
  Enable a culture of continuous learning to expand needed skillsets and role of human-automation teaming.
  Enable and continuously monitor the safety, security, and resiliency of the changing NAS.

Strategic Actions

Our strategic actions consist of four, near-term actions boost the basics by aggregating the future objectives, defining key NAS capabilities, functions, and performance requirements, and identifying what can be leveraged from existing programs. There are also two additional actions to shape the future including the development of a ConOps for the Future NAS and establishing business models.  


Our Plan of Action

  • Create a blended NAS description – Leveraging the enterprise level NAS Conops, emerging concepts and technologies and future perspective derive areas of consistency, conflicts and gaps to develop a blended NAS description.

  • Identify critical CNS-ATM, Timing and Weather capabilities – Derive critical NAS capabilities and functional requirements from the blended NAS description to support the traditional and future NAS.  Identify targets of opportunity to incorporate emerging concepts and technologies into the future NAS.

  • Create performance metrics – Derive performance metrics from the critical NAS capabilities and functional requirements to support mission effectiveness (resiliency and adaptability) and an enabling business infrastructure to support innovation and faster in-service decision making. 

  • Create a matrix of existing programs and personas – Leverage existing FAA, DOD, DHS, and NASA programs, capabilities and funding profiles to assess gap between where we are and where we are going (industry and government collectively).

  • Create a ConOps – Leverage the blended NAS description to develop the BSI NAS Outlook that defines short-, mid-, and long-term initiatives leading to the future NAS. Derive updates to the BSI NAS Outlook based on trend monitoring of changing needs.

  • Establish business models – Establish a business model that promotes innovation through continuous stakeholder outreach to identify changing needs and shortfalls to support strategic and tactical adjustments to the BSI NAS Outlook.



Identify operational, support and end-users stakeholders to understand their role in the NAS today and how they will interact in the future NAS.  The stakeholders also serve as an extended team and allow us to promote collaboration among members and partners to facilitate an ongoing conversation to leverage multiple perspectives and characterize an evolving NAS.

Some of the k
ey questions we are currently working on are:

Who interacts with the airspace system?

What capabilities needed to support their mission?

How will we identify who will interact with the future airspace system?

What behaviors and interactions will be required within the system and how can we ensure that data is secured and protected?

How do we best identify new non-aviation technologies that should be considered for adoption in the NAS?


 Are you interested in becoming a BSI liaison?


Blue Skies Initiative in the Journal of ATC

Blue Skies Initiative in the ATCA Bulletin

BSI Strategic House

The Strategic House model provides a framework to communicate what is needed to achieve the ATCA BSI mission.  The model starts with a vision statement characterizing the aviation ecosystem after NextGen or the BSI NAS Outlook.  The vision is built on a set of strategic pillars establishing the organizational framework to realize the mission and vision.  Next, there is a set of strategic actions that must be accomplished to leverage our existing NAS capabilities while accommodating emerging and future concepts and technologies. At the foundation of the strategic house are the enablers, the existing, emerging and future operational stakeholders and NAS end-users that will participate in and benefit from the future aviation ecosystem. 

* Please note that this image is not for republication without express, written permission from ATCA.

BSI Executive Committee

Gene Hayman, Chair
Collins Aerospace

Peter F. Dumont
Air Traffic Control Association

Jim Eck
L3Harris Technologies

Charles Keegan
Aviation Management Associates, Inc.

Dr. Parimal Kopardekar

Hon. Donna McLean

Terry McVenes


The BSI Working Group Committee will provide thought leadership, guidance, governance, and outreach capabilities to promote collaboration among members and partners to facilitate an ongoing conversation to leverage multiple perspectives and characterize an evolving NAS.

Committee Chair
Frank Matus

Committee Vice-Chair
Ronald Stroup

Staff Liaison
Abigail Glenn-Chase

Committee Members 

Rob Brown, Saab
Brett Easler,
Nicholas Flom,
University of North Dakota, Northern Plains UAS Test Site
Bob Lee,
LS Technologies
Mitch Narins, CISSP,
Strategic Synergies, LLC
Dr. Wes Olson,
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Richard Packard,
Naveen Rao,
Atlas Air Worldwide
Christopher Rogers,
Raytheon Technologies
Jacob Ruytenbeek,
Dennis Sawyer,
The MITRE Corp.
Ariel Scheirer,
Ascent Consulting
Al Secen,
Fred Wieland,
Mosaic ATM
Caroline Abramson, MITRE - ATCA YAP Liaison

Blue Skies Initiative Events

The Blue Skies Initiative plays an important role in the planning of ATCA programming and content, including panel conversations, focus groups, and surveys to engage the ATCA membership and strategic partners as an opportunity to shape BSI and the airspace of the future.

Join us for programming at the following ATCA events:

A Fully Virtual Event
Sept. 14 - 18, 2020



Virtual Programming Series
Every Thursday in October 2020



A Fully Virtual Event
Dec. 7 - 11, 2020



We are also working on bringing you dedicated Blue Skies Initiative events.

In the meantime, please take a look at our last event HERE
– and sign up for notification of all future ATCA live and virtual events HERE


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  • Welcome to the ATCA
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  • 06 Jun 2018
    Hon. Linda Hall Daschle Named 2018 Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award Winner

    The Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) is pleased to announce that former FAA Acting Administrator Linda Hall Daschle has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, one of the most prominent awards in aviation and ATCA’s highest honor.

    A pioneer for women in air traffic management, Daschle was the first female to hold the post of Acting Administrator for the FAA. She began her aviation career in Kansas nearly 45 years ago as a licensed weather observer for the agency. In 1993, she was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the US Senate for the position of FAA Deputy Administrator. One of her first tasks involved an assessment of the agency’s key air traffic modernization program called the Advanced Automation System which was eventually overhauled, saving the agency an estimated $1.6 billion. She also oversaw the advancement of new regional airline safety regulations and conducted a review of the agency’s safety and surveillance program, which resulted in one of the single largest hires of new safety inspectors in FAA history. 

    Ms. Daschle has held numerous government and private-sector leadership positions, including with the American Association of Airport Executives, the Air Transport Association, the former Civil Aeronautics Board, and with the law firm of Baker Donelson. She is currently President of LHD & Associates, Inc, and serves on the board of Aireon, LLC.

    In accepting the Glen A. Gilbert Memorial Award, Ms. Daschle joins aviation greats, including Delta’s Richard Anderson, NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, the Hon. Jane Garvey, Boeing’s Neil Planzer, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and pilot A. Scott Crossfield. (View press release HERE.)

    Tickets will be available this month. For more information, visit

    Established in Washington, D.C., in 1956 by a group of air traffic controllers, the Air Traffic Control Association has been from the outset dedicated to progress in the science of air traffic control and the preservation of a safe flight environment.
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