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1 Information to make sound, accurate, and timely decisions is an absolute necessity in the modern airport environment. The data blocks, which form the basis for this information, flow throughout the airport through numerous internal and external communication chan- nels, often in a non-integrated fashion, resulting in airport management not being able to gain the situational awareness necessary to make sound day-to-day decisions and plan for strategic airport initiatives. Furthermore, with the proliferation of new technology, applica- tions, and systems, the amount of data flowing throughout the airport keeps expanding. Simply stated, the more complex the airport environment, the greater the amount of data in transit and the greater the need for a communications center. In response to these issues and trends, more airport operators are developing airport communications centers (ACCs) where airports can â¢ Channel some or all of these communications â¢ Locate traditionally separate functions so as to increase internal collaboration â¢ Integrate technology to provide a common operating picture â¢ Articulate a uniform and comprehensive image to the public, local community, and rel- evant government entities. An airport operator can choose from among many models to create an ACC best suited to meet its needsâthere is no âone-size-fits-allâ solution that an airport can adopt. However, this choice does not need to be a daunting task. Most airport operators are well aware of their operational environment, information needs, and desired operational environment and can plan and design situation-specific ACCs using common airport project management practices and collaboration techniques without the need for substantial outside assistance. The primary inhibitor to developing an ACC solely internally is typically the resources neces- sary to engage in a potentially extensive process. Developing a communications center enables airport management to take a holistic view of the entire operation, including processes and procedures, formal and informal communi- cation processes, and electronic and paper information systems. This approach can be valu- able for an airport operator when defining its future course of action for the communications center and beyond. During the ACC project, the following six questions are asked and answered. WHY? Or the Basis for ACC Development Determining the reasons for creating or expanding an ACC is probably the most important assessment an airport operator can make. The reasons help answer subsequent questions. For example, does the airport operator perceive a need based on past issues want to better S u m m a r y Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers
2 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of airport Communications Centers manage a planned airport expansion and/or future growth? Do regulatory requirements need to be addressed, or is creating or expanding an ACC simply an opportunity to have better situational awareness on which to make operational decisions? âWhyâ is first discussed in the project charter (Section 3) and then clarified in the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) in Section 4. WHAT? Or Functionality Asking âwhat?â seeks to identify the depth and breadth of functionality the ACC must accommodate to meet the needs of the airport. This description of desired functionality is often expressed in a mission statement and may include items such as â¢ What array of services is the facility expected to offer? â¢ What information does the airport operator believe is necessary for obtaining the situational awareness it is seeking? â¢ What are the potential constraints on developing an ACC? â¢ What are measurements for success in the ACC effort? â¢ What functionality should we add to our existing ACC? The âwhatâ question is addressed in CONOPS (Section 4). WHO? Or Stakeholders The first âwhoâ addresses the identity of stakeholdersâindividual or organizational, internal and externalâwho will play key roles in the operation of the communication cen- ter. This topic is addressed in the CONOPS (Section 4). The second âwhoâ relates to the staff and/or contractors who will actually design, develop, and implement the ACC. This topic is addressed in the project management plan, Resource Management document (Section 3). WHEN? Or Project Schedule The timing of the development of an ACC may be contingent on other airport projects, or development may be a standalone project. A clear projection for completion that is flexible enough to allow full testing and training and ensure that any support applications are fully ready for integration into the ACC based on the desired opening is essential. This question is addressed in the project management plan, Schedule Timeline (Section 3). WHERE? Or Location and Installed Physical Components The answer to âwhereâ depends on whether the ACC is going to be (1) a newly constructed facility or (2) incorporated into an existing structure. To answer this question, many factors must be considered in the ACC Design Document (Section 5). A secondary âwhereâ question is the location of the backup facility (which is necessary in case the primary ACC experiences a catastrophic failure). HOW? Or Development Method âHow?â is a multipart question that begins to address how the facility can be successfully developed and implemented based on the information developed throughout the CONOPS process. This question addresses issues such as funding, personnel, integration of existing
Summary 3 and planned infrastructure, architectural constraints, coordination of planning and design concerns, and other locally unique activities and assets to be accommodated for the project to move forward. âHowâ is primarily addressed in the project management plan (Section 3) but it is also discussed in the ACC Design Document (Section 5). The preceding six questions can be used to develop a new ACC or to revisit the purpose and functionality of an existing center. In fact, these questions should be used as a basis for periodically reviewing the ACC throughout its lifecycle. Perhaps more than any other airport organization, an ACC must adapt to ever-changing internal and external environ- ments, budgetary factors, staffing considerations, and complex risk and operational con- cerns. Through periodic reassessment, the airport operator can be confident that its ACC is relevant and operating at the greatest effectiveness possible. Purpose of the Guidebook This Guidebook has been developed to support an airport operator in this effort by providing an outline of a process for determining the best âmodelâ for its own ACC, and guidance for planning, designing, and operating an ACC. The guidance offered is compre- hensive and may be more than necessary for small or mid-sized airports. However, even for a smaller ACC effort or the expansion of an existing center, this detailed view of an ACC approach can provide readers with ideas they can adapt to their own scale and use. With the above six questions in mind, the Guidebook examines the lifecycle of an integrated ACC, including the concept design, planning, construction and activation, and maintenance and operation of the center. The Guidebook also addresses issues such as â¢ Developing management support â¢ Determining center functionality â¢ Factors for employing single-, hybrid-, or multi-function centers â¢ Strategies for obtaining stakeholder engagement in establishing an ACC â¢ Integrating the combined operations, including supervisory structure â¢ Siting and location for an ACC (including threat and vulnerability assessment) â¢ Layout and design considerations, including minimum and maximum staffing capacity and ergonometric concerns â¢ Systems and technology selection and support â¢ Gaining and maintaining situational awareness â¢ Data management and data security requirements â¢ Effect of external entities on ACC operations â¢ Redundancy and backup planning â¢ Activation of the ACC and functional transition This Guidebook also includes â¢ A section on project management for planning, designing, and implementing an ACC â¢ A list of external resources â¢ A glossary of acronyms and definitions. A Formal Approach to Developing an ACC This Guidebook strongly recommends the creation of two documents: a project manage- ment plan and a Concept of Operations (CONOPS). The project management plan is used to manage the overall project, including sched- uling and budgeting. Although a project management plan for an ACC is no different
4 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of airport Communications Centers than that for any other project, the airport operator should choose a team leader for the ACC project who is knowledgeable in project management techniques. Developing a project management plan helps to ensure that the project stays on track and meets the intended organizational goals. The CONOPS presents a picture of how the ACC will operate, the functions it will include, and the overall goals and objectives for the Center. The formal definition of a CONOPS is a document outlining the characteristics of a proposed organization, function, or system from the viewpoint of the stakeholders who will use that organization, func- tion, or system. It is used to communicate the quantitative and qualitative characteristics to all stakeholders. A CONOPS evolves from an organizationally derived concept state- ment based on the specific environment and is a description of how a set of capabilities may be used to achieve desired objectives. This Guidebook also includes information on the basic attributes for defining and imple- menting a CONOPS and includes airport-related guidance on the following: â¢ Obtaining Management Sponsorship â¢ Identifying Airport Stakeholders â¢ Identifying ACC Objectives and Goals â¢ Analyzing Information Needs â¢ Identifying Sources and Systems Necessary to Generate the Required Information â¢ Establishing Operating Priorities and Processes â¢ Managing Internal and External Expectations Figure S-1 illustrates the relationship between the project management plan and the CONOPS. The decision to consider developing an ACC is the first step. Once that commit- ment is made by airport management, a formal (or even informal) project charter (1a), which identifies the responsible project manager and airport personnel, and the general statement Figure S-1. The relationship between the project management plan and the CONOPS.
Summary 5 of intent is created and approved. It has been said, âIf you donât authorize a project, you donât have a project.â The next task is to develop the initial CONOPS (2a), which provides a basic outline of the initial set of functions being considered for the center. With the initial CONOPS in hand, the project team develops a more detailed project scope (1b) and a project management plan (1c) for the full design and implementation of the ACC. A crucial element of planning is establishing the total scope of the project. Although it may appear as though that was accomplished while creating the Charter, the scope was defined there at a high level. Here, through iterative and more detailed planningâprogressive elaboration (discussed below), project documents are developed at a much more detailed level. The first major step in the project management plan is the finalization of the CONOPS (2b). Although the attempt is to create as complete a CONOPS as possible, the reality is that both the CONOPS and the project management plan will evolve throughout the life of the ACC initiative. The Project Management Instituteâs Project Management Body of Knowledge uses the term âprogressive elaboration,â which is defined âas allowing a project management team to manage the project to a greater level of detail as it evolves. It involves continuously improving a plan as more detail, specific information and accurate estimates become available.â1 The challenge for the airport team implementing the ACC is to find the right level of elaboration. Too much elaboration could mean a poorly defined Project Plan and CONOPS and result in time-consuming and costly scope-creep. Too little elaboration could result in an unsatisfactory product that does not meet the needs of airport management. Once a completed CONOPS is prepared, the project scope is updated (1d) to reflect the changes to the CONOPS and the Execution of the Project Management Plan (1e) begins. Most tasks are completed in this phase, including physical construction/renovation of the ACC, selection and installation of equipment, developing policies, system implementation, and training. The process ends with the Closeout of the project management plan (1f), indicating that all necessary tasks have been completed and the ACC is ready to undertake the CONOPS (2c). 1Project Management Institute, Project Management Body of Knowledge