Saturday, July 07, 2007

FAA History Lesson -- July 7

From the FAA Historical Chronology, 1926-1996...

”Jul 7, 1964: President Johnson issued Executive Order 11161 directing FAA and the Department of Defense (DOD) to plan on the basis of the probability that in time of war FAA would become an adjunct of DOD. Under the guiding concept, FAA would remain organizationally intact and the Administrator would retain responsibility for his statutory functions, "subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense to the extent deemed by the Secretary to be necessary for the discharge of his responsibilities . . . ." The Secretary of Defense was explicitly authorized to direct the Administrator to place operational elements of FAA under the direct control of military commanders. The order also required the Secretary and the Administrator to assure that during any national emergency short of war the functions of FAA would be performed in a manner satisfying essential national defense requirements. As a step in executing the order, FAA and DOD agreed on a memorandum of understanding on Apr 13, 1966. The understanding covered the relationship between the two agencies in the event that FAA became an adjunct of DOD, and provided for planning for this eventuality and for lesser emergencies. ”

We don’t often mention it but the FAA’s ATC system is an integral part of the national security system of the U.S. While the events of September 11, 2001 highlighted this for many people, the real story is told everyday as FAA controllers work DOD aircraft on their various missions. Most of these missions are your garden-variety training missions and transportation of equipment and personnel. Most of them. Not all of them.

Don Brown
July 7, 2007

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