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40 Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 4.1 Concept of Operation Two critical documents are created when developing an ACC. One is the CONOPSâthe recommended planning tool for identifying the scope, breadth, and functions to be contained within the proposed ACC. A Concept of Operations is a document outlining the characteristics of a proposed organiza- tion, function, or system from the viewpoint of the stakeholders who will use that organization, function, or system. A CONOPS is used to communicate the quantitative and qualitative char- acteristics to all stakeholders. The CONOPS evolves from an organizationally derived concept statement based on the specific environment and describes how a set of capabilities may be used to achieve desired objectives. The CONOPS is a permanent document and will evolve with the ACC over time. The CONOPS will seek to describe the following: â¢ The problem being addressed â¢ The mission â¢ Management intent â¢ An operational overview â¢ The objectives to be achieved â¢ Descriptions of each individual function performed in the ACC â¢ The roles and responsibilities of tasked organizations The CONOPS provides an excellent communications tool between management and staff. Initially, the CONOPS is created to express the needs and goals of the stakeholders to the project team. Subsequently, the developers create or update the CONOPS to communicate the early design possibilities to the users for review and approval. In most successful projects, the CONOPS is updated throughout the development cycle and becomes part of the operations and support documentation. As discussed in Section 3, the second document created during the development of an ACC is a project management plan for the actual design, development, and implementation of the ACC. The project management plan is a temporary document, created for the duration of the project, and is archived as part of project closeout. However, elements of the CONOPS and the project management plan are similar and much of the documentation generated by the airport team will be used in both documents. A CONOPS need not be complicated, long, or complex, but it should be tailored to the size of the airport. Smaller airports may choose to perform all of the steps listed below or only those that airport management deems pertinent to the effort. Larger airports will likely have a more in-depth document, but, again, the airport operator should choose those aspects of creating a CONOPS most applicable to the intended situation. For all sizes of airports, the most important input S E C T I O N 4
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 41 comes from the airport. A CONOPS can be created with outside assistance, but, in almost all cases, an airport can develop the basic CONOPS with its own internal resources. Three critical documents will emerge from this exercise: (1) the CONOPS; (2) a situational awareness template outlining situations that require special handling by the ACC; and (3) a policy and procedures document (see Section 2). Additional information on the policy and procedure document should be provided in this Section as well. 4.2 Basis for ACC Development As discussed throughout this Guidebook, six questions are asked as the ACC initiative is carried out: âWhy,â âWhat,â âWho,â Where,â âHow,â and âWhen.â Answering âwhyâ, âwhat,â and âwhoâ helps in developing the CONOPS. Typically, the first question addressed is âwhy.â This is the first question answered when developing the CONOPS. Airport management will have many reasons why an ACC should be created and an explicit, clear description of the justification is a critical first step. It is likely that the answer to âwhyâ will be used as a factor in all future decisions. Determining the drivers for creating an ACC is crucial and will help address other issues. For example, has there been a perceived needâbased on past issuesâor is the goal to better manage a planned airport expansion/growth projection? Are there regulatory requirements that must be addressed or is this an opportunity to have better situational awareness on which to make operational decisions? âWhyâ is typically first asked at the executive or managerial level. This is important because it helps to ensure management support for the effort will reflect the full organizational view of the facility and will provide an opportunity to examine issues that may have competing priorities (e.g., budgetary constraints or managerial conflicts). If top management is NOT asking âwhy,â strong consideration must be given as to whether or not an ACC will be a viable project. Once the CONOPS Team understands the perspective of top management, it can then further develop the âwhyâ answer to fit other organizational units. 4.3 ACC Functionality Asking âwhatâ helps to identify the depth and breadth of functionality the ACC must accom- modate to meet the desired needs of the airport operator. This is usually expressed in a mission statement and may include such items 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? âWhatâ will be asked repeatedly throughout the CONOPS process. 4.4 ACC Users âWhoâ is asked when (1) putting together a project team responsible for planning, designing, and implementing an ACC, and (2) determining the permanent âresidentsâ of an ACC. âWhoâ addresses the identity of stakeholders (e.g., individual or organizational, internal or external to the communications center). When determining external users, the CONOPS should reflect all
42 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers potential users of the ACC and whether they are outside departments or agencies interfacing with the airport or indirect beneficiaries (e.g., airlines, tenants, passengers, or other users in an airport who may benefit from a communications center). This initial assessment will address the ACCâs users at a high level, at minimum as classes or descriptions of users who are meaningful to the organization. The concept of an integrated communications center facility is not new. Facilities of this type have been established in the airport environment for years and typically grow organically over time, assuming more responsibilities to best serve the needs of the airport operator. Although the idea behind these centers is simple, the integrated approach does not necessarily come easily. Entities and organizations functioning autonomously do not always see the need for or understand the benefit of close cooperation with others. This situation is often complicated by incompatible technologies and procedures, staff operating near their limits, and constrained resources and budgets. Bringing multiple disciplines with diverse operational goals into one work area for daily oper- ations can improve the response and efficiency of most airports. When departments engage each other, individuals gain a better understanding of each departmentâs responsibilities and objectives. Close communication improves situational awareness which produces faster and more efficient management of daily operations and issues. The effect is similar to how airports use the EOC during large eventsâConstant, close interaction to improve communications and response during any range of events. Bringing the appropriate people and technology together also helps an organization begin to respond actively, rather than reactively. Bringing people and their unique interests together is the first step, whether this is achieved through physical presence or remote communications (e.g., the Internet, phones and/or radios). The second step is to provide people with an operational plan that maximizes effectiveness and delivers the greatest value to the airport. Many stakeholders are associated with an ACC/AOC. Primary departments, stakeholders, and/or functions, as well as Secondary and Exterior stakeholders are described below. These descriptions introduce the reader to potential interactions with other participants, either physically co-located or via remote communications, for information exchanges. Primary departments that may be physically in the center include â¢ Communications Dispatchers. Functions may include dispatching key airport personnel (e.g., police, fire, medical, operations, and maintenance). Dispatchers may also monitor security and dispatch a responder to alarms, particularly at the screening checkpoint and operational doors. Dispatchers monitor security closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, handle call-taking/call triage, initiate maintenance request orders, make airport pages, and help with other airport information requests and with all daily activities logged. Ideally, everyone asso- ciated with or having regular contact with the center works from the same integrated logging system, so that reports can present a holistic picture of the airportâs activities. â¢ Airfield Operations. Functions within the center may include monitoring the airfield for FAR Part 139 issues, advising and assisting operations staff to respond to airside issues/events, initiating maintenance work orders for airfield issues, issuing Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs), and responding to irregular operations (IROPS) and emergencies. â¢ Landside Operations. Functions within the center may include monitoring airport terminal and curbside/roadways issues, advising and assisting operations staff to respond to landside issues/events, initiating maintenance work orders where required, monitoring terminal activities to ensure public and sterile areas are properly maintained, and responding to irregular operations (IROPS) and emergencies.
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 43 â¢ Airport Security. Functions within the center may include monitoring pedestrian and vehicle doorsâ and gatesâ checkpoint alarms, assisting with response to security issues and emergencies, and coordinating with TSA and the badging office. â¢ Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Dispatcher. Functions within the center may include dis- patching police, monitoring patrols, and assisting with resource requests when necessary. â¢ TSA. Functions may include working with communications center staff to monitor check- point alarms and door response, monitoring security checkpoints and adjusting staffing as needed, and working with airport personnel during emergencies. â¢ ARFF Dispatchers. Functions within the center may include dispatching ARFF and medical response, monitoring responses, and coordinating resource requests when necessary. â¢ Maintenance Functions. Maintenance functions include managing maintenance work order requests and monitoring environmental factors, power systems, moving walkways/escalators/ elevators, baggage handling systems, and building maintenance systems. â¢ Paging/General Information. This function may be one of several collateral duties of a dis- patcher or may be a standalone position and may include call-taking/call triage, airport pages, response to tenant and public inquiries, and managing lost-and-found items, among other ancillary tasks. Secondary departments are those having regular contact with the ACC but that may not be in the same facility or local area: â¢ Law Enforcement Officers. They communicate with the ACC when responding to an event and provide information concerning continuing response, on-scene activity, unattended bags, suspicious items or persons, or other unusual circumstances. â¢ Public Affairs. Staff contact the ACC regularly for operational information, particularly during IROPS and emergencies. In todayâs social media world, the public affairs office can both provide and acquire information rapidly from people with access to real-time monitoring of radio/phone traffic and CCTV. â¢ TSA. During a checkpoint security event, door alarm, or other suspicious activity, TSA can have quick access to airportwide information from the ACC, including real-time monitoring of media and other external communications resources. â¢ FAA. Air Traffic Control typically works with the ACC during aircraft alerts/emergencies, dealing with issues affecting the movement of aircraft (e.g., a security breach in the terminal or delayed arrival or departure of aircraft). â¢ Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP often works with the ACC to ascertain information on travelers or aircraft movements or to request additional resources during emergencies. â¢ ARFF. Similar to Law Enforcement response, ARFF personnel will communicate with the ACC when responding to an event, when on scene, and when they have returned to station. â¢ Airlines. Airlines often call the ACC for information on issues affecting their flights, to help with expediting a security or emergency problem, and to request support resources. (Note: At some airports, airlines may be a primary user of the ACC.) â¢ Concessions. Concessions may call the ACC for information on IROPS or issues affecting their businesses and to request resources. â¢ Maintenance Trade Departments. Maintenance trade departments regularly interact with the ACC concerning maintenance request status or when additional resources are needed. â¢ Parking. Parking staff may request help from the ACC in the event of public or passenger issues (e.g., someone locking themselves out of the car), determining if the lots are full, or to report an issue or event. â¢ General Aviation (GA) Fixed-Based Operators (FBOs). The FBO, and in many cases the GA aircraft or pilot, may communicate with the ACC to seek local information or for assis- tance such as ground handling or disabled aircraft removal.
44 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers â¢ Aircraft Service Operators (e.g., catering, ground service, fueling). Personnel may be in contact with the ACC for issues affecting ramp operations (e.g., lightning, fuel spills, or unauthorized activity). External Stakeholders are those not within the airport organization or boundaries, but having regular contact with the ACC: â¢ Mutual-Aid Responders: Police, Fire, Medical Personnel. The ACC is a liaison between mutual-aid responders and on-airport responders when additional resources are requested. The ACC may provide communication among staging areas or radio channel assignments between field staff and mutual aid and may also track and log respondersâ requests. â¢ General Public. The general public may contact the ACC for general information (e.g., airline schedules, parking rates, and hours of operations) or to make an aircraft noise complaint. â¢ Federal Agencies. The FAAâs Flight Standards District Office may be in contact with the ACC in the event of an aircraft incident or accident. Such staff may be first on the scene to begin investigation of an accident, pending any National Transportation Safety Board response. â¢ Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP/911). Many ACCs coordinate with the local PSAP organization when additional police, fire, and mutual aid response is requested or if an event (e.g., a car chase off airport) involves airport property and airport LEO response/support is requested. In many airports this coordination is so important that recorded call-down lines are installed in both centers for rapid communication and coordination. â¢ City/County Emergency Management. The ACC may be involved on behalf of the Emer- gency Operations Staff during initial stages of an event to request resources or if an event is community wide; the City/County Emergency Management Team may request airport resources or facilities to assist with the event. â¢ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Initial coordination with the FBI early in an event (e.g., a reported aircraft bomb threat, sabotage, or other terrorist activity) may be initiated through the ACC. â¢ American Red Cross (ARC). In the event of a multi-casualty event, the ACC may request a response from the ARC. â¢ Hospitals. The ACC may coordinate with hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities to facilitate patient movement during emergencies or to help track the movement and status of patients. The ACC often assist with communications among Police, ARFF, airport and airline management, and the EOC or Field Incident Command staff if needed. â¢ Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The ACC may make initial contact with the CDC in the event of a suspected pandemic event or suspicious illness of persons at the airport. â¢ Weather Forecast Stations. The ACC may contact local forecasters for briefings on imminent severe weather conditions in support of airport operations or the EOC or in preparing for support during anticipated extraordinary conditions (e.g., tornadoes or icestorms). â¢ Local, State, or Federal Elected Officials. Elected officials often have an interest in the ongoing operations of an airport, especially where it is the primary transportation node for the community. This list is by no means comprehensive or complete; it merely outlines the considerable number, range, and types of functions that may be a part of the ACCâs daily sphere of activity, both in normal and abnormal conditions. Although the ACC may be an extremely important core asset in service to the surrounding community, it is still primarily an airport facility serving airport functions, and it is the airportâs jurisdiction and responsibility to determine the ultimate composition of resident and non-resident users and how each user will be accommodated.
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 45 In every instance, both for primary and secondary stakeholder interests, it remains the air- portâs sole jurisdiction and responsibility to determine, during the development of the CONOPS, the combination of users and user requirements most beneficial to the airport operatorâs best interest and to prioritize those elements within the available space, budget, and manpower parameters. Additional important benefits to identifying the intended stakeholders are to â¢ Provide the initial identification of the personnel and number and type of functions that will either be in the facility or interact with it in some form â¢ Identify the level and priorities of personnel or organizations that will be engaged in the process during design and development â¢ Identify the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders with a definition of their operational interactions, both internal and external 4.5 Initiating the CONOPS Process The first step in initiating the CONOPS process is for airport management to select the airport personnel who will be responsible for CONOPS development. The CONOPS Team may be a subset of the project management team or may be the project management team. Whether the CONOPS Team is the same as the project management team or a subset of the project management team is usually decided based on the breadth and scope of the proposed ACC, whether or not construction is involved, and how many new systems and applications are being considered for the proposed ACC. Representation from the IT group is essential if new systems are being contemplated or if a change to existing systems is anticipated. This team should represent all elements of the airport organization, including members who are not likely to have ongoing representation in the ACC. It is especially important to include both the airportâs IT team and a representative from Human Resources. The presence of such groups will help ensure that the rest of the airport is fully aware of the ACCâs mission, goals, and objectives, and will garner support early on airportwide. The ultimate goal of the CONOPS process is to have sign-off from airport management and all included stakeholders. The CONOPS signifies acceptance of the proposed scope and breadth, as well as support for the project as a whole. 4.6 Undertaking the Full CONOPS Guidance literature on developing a CONOPS is available (see Appendix A). The guid- ance generally follows similar developmental paths, even in fields other than transportation, with variations that define numerous possible scenarios and approaches to their resolutionâ none are âwrongâ. They are simply different ways of reaching the same goal. This Guidebook outlines one method for completing the CONOPS, the resources needed, and a recommended format. CONOPS development is iterative, both in initial project development over the long term. The initial CONOPS will continue to be expanded as the project team investigates airport func- tions and determines whether or not these functions should be included in the ACC. These decisions and determinations will be reflected in the official CONOPS. As with any business or project analysis, the CONOPS Team will compile numerous opinions and suggestions. Capturing as much input as possible is desirable because, although it may not
46 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers be possible to include all stakeholder concerns in the current cycle, opportunities to include additional ideas may arise as the ACC is expanded. 4.6.1 Basis for Developing an ACC The CONOPS Team takes a second look at the initial justification for developing an ACC. If the justification has changed or become clearer, this section is updated to reflect the latest catalysts for ACC development. This justification is used as one of the metrics to assess the success of the ACC project. The basis for developing the ACC provides a point of reference for the planning and design team and enables the team to (1) assess design solutions in terms of whether they meet the intent of the CONOPS and (2) identify evolving concerns that may require adjustment to the CONOPS and the resulting planning decisions. 4.6.2 Functionality The CONOPS Team will now identify, in detail, all of the functions the ACC is expected to manage and the desired outcome from each of those functions. The CONOPS Team will focus on the data to be collected and the resulting information that will be necessary to provide situ- ational awareness and meet the ACCâs communication objectives. If specific systems are obvious resources to answer these questions, they can be identified; however, for the CONOPS, it is not necessary to define specific software products or vendors. Key factors include detailed descriptions of the types of systems and services required for the ACC and its proper operation. Later there will be a need to identify any system or service constraints resulting from requirements for integration with legacy systems. This portion of the CONOPS provides a starting place for the development that will occur during the planning and design phases that follow. 4.6.3 Stakeholders Stakeholder engagement is essential in developing facilities and systems in airports. Unless airport management and staff are fully engaged, it will be difficult to develop operational require- ments, which is the goal of a CONOPS. During development, stakeholder engagement presents four challenges: â¢ Identifying the individuals and organizations that constitute the stakeholder community. Stakeholders can be defined as virtually any parties who have, or may have, an operational or business relationship with the airport operator. This may include a relationship to a specific function or facility (e.g., an ACC) and may also include a broad range of users who operate, use, rely on, manage, and/or support the facility. â¢ Obtaining the active involvement and approval of top management. Given that top manage- ment consists of the ultimate decisionmakers, master planners, and controllers of the budget, and thus are the ultimate authorities on what plans will move forward, when, and under which departmentâs jurisdiction, involvement and approval by top management is critical. An ACC can have many stakeholders, given the range of functions it fulfills, and all stake holders may not have equal influence. These stakeholders can include operations (both landside and airside), security and safety services, maintenance, IT systems, airlines, tenants, service pro- viders, transportation agencies, and the public.
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 47 If the number of stakeholders is too large for effective communications, two approaches may be taken to manage this situation: 1. Working with smaller, break-out teams, and/or 2. Identifying key stakeholders to act as leads for a related group of stakeholders. (For example, in break-out teams, one individual might represent the operational side of the airport, with the understanding that the individual will communicate with their broader community.) â¢ Establishing and maintaining effective communication with the stakeholders. For stakeholders to be useful to development, they must be engaged in a significant way. This means being conscious of their time and availability, maintaining open and transparent communications, and providing background information and identifying needs for input in a clear and timely manner. Stakeholder participation can be conducted through written questionnaires, individual meetings, and group sessions, whether for briefings, question and answer, or brainstorming. Brainstorming and free-form conversations, whether in a large forum or one-on-one, can be productive and should be considered as a reasonable part of stakeholder engagement. â¢ Integrating stakeholder input in a meaningful way. One of the most challenging parts of stakeholder engagement is finding the balance between empowering and encouraging the stakeholders while weighing the value of their input. Do not dismiss or diminish a stakeholderâs ideas and suggestions out of hand. Doing so sends a message that the stakeholder engagement effort is not valuable, and the damage this can do to ongoing and future efforts can be long lived. Listening to and respectfully acknowledging the stakeholderâs interest is, therefore, essential. However, all stakeholder input is not equal. For various reasons, some input may be inappropriate or impractical under the prevailing conditions. Consider whether these conditions need to be adjusted; however, the key individuals responsible for stakeholder engagement and the processing of their ideas need to provide a degree of filtering. When a stakeholderâs ideas are not incorporated, individuals responsible for stakeholder engagement should discuss the reasons for this decision with the stakeholder. Some ideas may be incor- porated in the future. Stakeholders are not only a valuable resource to the team developing an ACCâstakeholders are the community of daily users of the ACCâs services and information. Stakeholders are critical to identifying many of the needs, goals, and objectives that will ultimately be included in the CONOPS. Stakeholders are also typically in a position to identify what works and what does not in an existing facility. Further, with proper engagement, they can provide useful insight into why things work well or not and suggest ways for addressing issues. 4.7 CONOPS Structure The CONOPS will have the following sections: â¢ Executive Summary â¢ Mission Description â¢ ACC Operational Context and Architecture â¢ Organizational System Drivers and Constraints â¢ Center Functions â¢ Operational Scenarios, including the situational awareness template â¢ Implementation Concepts and Rationale â¢ Proposed ACC Operational Architecture â¢ Organizational and Business Impact â¢ Risks and Technology Readiness Assessment Appendix B has a sample CONOPS template.
48 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers 4.7.1 Executive Summary A CONOPS Executive Summary is usually a short overview of the operation, mission, and objectives developed for the ACC. An Executive Summary, usually around two pages in length, should be used to summarize the CONOPS purpose, including any key decisions required or made. The Executive Summary focuses stakeholder attention on the most important aspects of the CONOPS document and provides sufficient information for the executive decisionmaker to understand the purpose and contents of this conceptual document. 4.7.2 Mission Description The Mission Description is an overview of the goals and objectives, underlying mission and business rationale, the current (As Is) Architecture, a list of key stakeholders and expectations, and the current gaps in capabilities that require resolution. The Mission Description also looks at the future of the ACC and begins to lay the framework for potential expansion of the ACC as the mission evolves. 4.7.3 ACC Operational Context and Architecture The ACC operational context clarifies the boundary of the center as it is being conceived. In this section, the following six components are created: â¢ Current functional components of the ACC. â¢ Current organizations, roles, and responsibilities. â¢ Current policies, including regulations, procedures, and standards of all entities that may govern activities in the ACC, including the airport, FAA, and NIMS. â¢ Projected ACC performance drivers. â¢ Existing communication protocols and standards and intended modifications. â¢ Current and projected personnel numbers, skills, and competencies. This section also outlines what the ACC is NOT going to do and what is expected of other airport organizations and those organizations external to the airport. 4.7.4 Organizational Drivers and Constraints The CONOPS should (1) identify aspects of the current airport operational environment that constrain the proposed ACC and (2) drive the decisions as to which functions are incorporated into the ACC. To ensure that correct functions are chosen and achievable, the ACC should be considered in light of the following: â¢ The current airport operational approach, including relevant policies, regulation, and operation procedures. â¢ Legal requirements or regulations for privacy, security, and safety. â¢ Organization or Airport board mandates (where relevant) as well as the roles and responsibilities of external organizations that help realize the ACC missionâs goals and objectives. â¢ Operational elements already adopted in the airport to improve performance that will be carried into the ACC intact. â¢ Current operational and support resources, as well as systems and infrastructure constraints. â¢ Skill levels and competencies of available airport SMEs and support people. 4.7.5 Center Functions The heart of the CONOPS is the detailed description of each function being carried out in the ACC. This is one page (more if necessary) that describes each of the ACCâs functions. Typically,
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 49 an airport operator creates its own function template and uses the same template for each function. It is likely that there will be functions within functions, so it is necessary for the airport to develop a standard work breakdown structure (WBS) as often found in project management texts, such as the PMI PMBOK. The PMBOK defines the WBS as âA hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.â This definition can be used for ACC operations as well by defining the actual functions that will be carried out within the ACC organization. Each function or element in the WBS, will have the following components: â¢ A title. â¢ A detailed description of the function. â¢ Other functions that may be related. â¢ Information inputs to the function (e.g., electronic, reports and regularly scheduled meetings). â¢ All outputs from the function. â¢ Constraints or obstacles that affect the function. â¢ The primary manager of the function and the reporting structure. â¢ The roles and responsibilities of all airport staff responsible for the proper execution of the function. â¢ The intended outcome of the function. â¢ Performance metrics that measure a successful outcome for the function. As the ACC evolves and functions are added, subtracted, or amended, the CONOPS Func- tional Statement must be revised accordingly. Appendix C is an example of the ACC Functions Template. 4.7.6 Operational Scenarios Scenarios are a major part of any CONOPS. Operational scenarios are impactful situations that will affect the ACCâs normal operations and will require special handling or triage of some sort. The classic way to develop a set of scenarios usually involves gathering a group of subject matter experts (SMEs) and having them use their experience to make a list of potential scenarios that could affect ACC operations. Selection criteria are then applied (although it is usually âengineering judgmentâ or âa gut feelingâ) to determine which scenarios should be included in the CONOPS. Irrespective of how the operational scenarios are developed, the outcome is that the airport management team discusses a specific response to each scenario. Because anticipated operational scenarios oftentimes closely resemble actual scenarios, but are not exactly the same, it is wise to include areas where ACC personnel can exercise their own discretion, along with limitations on that discretion. 4.7.7 Implementation Concepts and Rationale Most ACCs initially start by upgrading, evolving, or leveraging existing communication systems or protocols. Generating entirely new solutions may seem radical and innovative, but increases project risk and must be addressed accordingly. Identifying all of the CONOPS con- cepts and the rationale for including them in the projected architecture of the ACC is essential in creating an environment that is clear to and followed by all ACC personnel. 4.7.8 Proposed ACC Operational Architecture In this section, the ACC Operational Architecture is clearly outlined in a graphical representa- tion. The architecture depicts of the information flows, systems, inputs, and outputs. A common
50 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers way to illustrate this process is to create an organizational chart, asset diagram, or hierarchy chart that will show how information will be received by the ACC and then disseminated throughout the airport and beyond to external organizations. 4.7.9 Organizational and Business Impact Incorporating a new ACC into an existing airport managementâs structure will likely result in the modification of numerous functional interactions and physical interfaces outside of the ACC. Numerous policies and procedures are likely to change to reflect the new commu- nication flows. All airport stakeholders will be interested in how the new ACC will change their jobs, roles, and responsibilities. Managementâs statement on how the new ACC will affect the rest of the organization is critical in assimilating the new structure into the existing airport organization. 4.7.10 Risks and Technology Readiness Assessment Creating a risk assessment that reflects the potential risk to the ongoing operation of the ACC ss essential in developing a CONOPS. Different from the project risk assessment, this assessment looks at the threats to ACC operations and focuses on how those threats can be eliminated or mitigated. Threats to managing the ACC must be considered as expansively as possible. Further, the actions taken in response to the risk assessment will include measures designed to increase the ability of the ACC to respond to an event or multiple simultaneous events, as well as provide increased safety and security measures as irregular operations evolve. Depending on the ACC, the immediate and long-term effects of an event that degrades, disables, or eliminates an ACC can be significant. Although this Guidebook is not intended to be a primer on conducting a formal risk assessment, the following guidance is offered to help an airport operator ask the proper questions as they specifically relate to an ACC. The key elements of an ACC Threat and Vulnerability Assessment should include the following: â¢ Developing a clear perspective of the interrelationships between the ACC and the organization, and its systems, structures, business, information/data, and people. â¢ Identifying threats and vulnerabilities and the risks associated with each. â¢ Quantifying the probabilities associated with each of the identified risks. To the greatest extent possible, the probabilities should be based on factual data. Probabilities of risk can be gathered based on past airport experiences. â¢ A review of the personnel necessary to resource the ACC during regular operations, irregular operations and emergencies. Although identifying risk is a crucial step, it is meaningless without taking steps to mitigate the most likely risks identified. Typically, addressing risks for an ACC project will result in one of three outcomes. The risk is âavoidedâ by taking alternative steps than originally considered, thereby eliminating the risk totally. For example, an identified risk concerns the location of the ACC in a particular building that does not meet certain earthquake standards. Rather, than deal- ing with the risk directly, the airport operator chooses to avoid the risk in its entirety by moving the ACC to a building that is compliant with local earthquake codes. Risk can also be âaccepted.â A projected risk may be too small or too large to mitigate and also cannot be avoided. In this case, the airport management team accepts whatever probability and effect may come. Although this is not a desirable resolution, it occurs in extreme circumstances.
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 51 The third responseââmitigationââis the most likely. The project team and, where the situ- ation is integral to the success of the project, airport management, look at each identified risk and determine the best manner to (1) reduce the likelihood the risk will occur and (2) devise a response to the risk to lessen its effect, should it occur. The reduction effort and the response must be clearly documented, with a detailed description of the necessary steps to be taken and the responsibility of the airport personnel assigned to carry out the actions. Risk management and mitigation is a continual exercise as new risks are identified and new mitigation efforts required. 4.8 Situational Awareness Situational Awareness is the perception of events and activities in real or near-real time, seen by an individual or group, and their understanding of how those events and activities may be related. More simply stated, it is knowing what is going on from moment to moment so the ACC operator can react, if and when required. Situational Awareness is the first step toward the understanding and mastery of an event or situation. There are three levels of situational awareness: â¢ Level 1âPerception. Being able to perceive your environment. This is achieved in many ways in modern command and control environments, including field communications, sensors and alarms, video surveillance, and direct observation. â¢ Level 2âComprehension. Understanding how the perceived information relates to the incident or threat as well as to other information. This can be extremely challenging in todayâs command and control environment, with potentially thousands of individual data points reporting simultaneously in multiple systems. â¢ Level 3âProjection. Being able to project from current information and events to anticipate future events and their implications. The level of situational awareness attained by the ACC staff depends on the inclusion of functions in the ACC. The more the ACC is responsible for controlling a situation or providing critical direction to others, the more likely it is to have direct receipt of operational intelligence and, subsequently, to operate effectively itself. For example, in a facility that is strictly a communication hub responsible for passing and sharing information from one party to another (rather than collecting the data and acting on it), situational awareness is less available and less critical to the ACC personnel, given that their primary role is communication for others to make decisions for action. In contrast, where ACC staff have more command and control responsibility, such staff will require more information to make critical decisions and provide direction to others accordingly. In this case, situational awareness is essential for the ACC staff to understand the conditions and act on them appropriately. 4.8.1 Delivery of Situational Awareness Situational awareness can be developed in different ways: â¢ Direct observation of an event or situation. â¢ Observation reported by third parties. â¢ Observation through CCTV systems.
52 Guidance for Planning, Design, and Operations of Airport Communications Centers â¢ Observation through sensing systems (e.g., fire alarms and security alarms). â¢ Observation related by news and media outlets. Technology-based systems are an excellent means to enhance situational awareness by extending the depth and breadth of information available to the ACC operator. CCTV and remote-sensing systems, in conjunction with properly configured access to live radio and telephone links, multiply the data sources available for enhanced situational awareness. However, there can be too much information, particularly if much of it is irrelevant or dis- tracting from a critical event. This can be detrimental to effective decision-making by over- whelming the ACC operatorâs ability to process it. There is significant evidence that shows an excess of information can place such a high demand on a human operator or responder that they cannot absorb or process it all and may miss or misinterpret critical points. This is not to suggest that available information should be limited. An ACC should have access to information where it is appropriate and useful to decision-making. Several approaches can be taken to avoid overloading the ACC without losing vital information: â¢ Disperse blocks of information to different people or teams, who filter critical data to a manager or team charged with decision-making. â¢ Establish levels of criticality for information or alarm conditions, so that more urgent concerns are elevated for attention sooner. â¢ Provide a smaller number of points to focus on, while allowing different information streams to be viewed. An example is a video wall with a limited number of screens but a high number of video feeds, allowing the ACC operator to select and change their primary views as the situation develops. 4.8.2 Situational Assessment Situational awareness is knowing what is going on around you and what to do about it. Useful and relevant situational awareness demands a thorough level of knowledge of normal activity and a similar level of information flow about what is happening currentlyâsometimes in more than one area. This requires the operator to have the tools, skills, and capabilities to understand the differences among the events, along with the available options and consequences for each response. Situational assessment is dependent both on the quality of information and the capacity for the ACC staff to process that information and make decisions appropriately, including adapting or changing direction based on how an event unfolds from moment to moment. Key considerations and elements of effective situational awareness include â¢ Good quality information delivered in a timely manner. â¢ Where situational awareness drives organizational response to an event or activity, reliable bidirectional communications. â¢ Flexibility to allow for changing conditions. â¢ The information sources that need to be delivered. (These are driven by the level of situational awareness required of an ACC staff.) 4.8.3 Situational Awareness Templates To provide a structured approach to situational awareness, the airport operator should create a situational awareness template (see Appendix D) that outlines specific airport scenarios that may occur and identifies information inputs, metrics for identifying severity, and an approved
Concept of Operations (CONOPS) 53 response to each situation. For example, if the ACC manages airport automobile traffic and that traffic regularly causes conditions that require management action, a situational awareness outline can be developed listing the information suggested above. An airport operator can go one step further and identify situations that require regular review and establish a routine for inspecting, reviewing, or monitoring the situation. Using an automated situational awareness management tool, an airport operator could permanently record each review, the results, and any actions taken. The situational awareness template is a critical component of an ACC, if the ACC is used as a management arm in addition to being an information conduit.