USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Site Notification

Site Notification

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

NAS Operations

How dedication keeps thousands of flights safe and efficient every day.

Each day, the FAA's Air Traffic Organization (ATO) watches over a vast airspace of more than 29 million square miles, providing service to tens of thousands of flights and millions of airline passengers. Tasked with ensuring the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS), the NAS Operations Directorate fulfills this mission by continuously monitoring and directing the daily flow of air traffic across the nation from the Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC).

The NAS Operations Directorate is a large, multilayered, and geographically dispersed organization that ensures that the nation's airspace is operated efficiently. The ATCSCC resides within the Directorate and is responsible for planning, directing, implementing, and monitoring all national traffic management initiatives (TMIs). The Directorate is also responsible for other NAS functions including Space Operations, and Collaborative Decision Making (CDM).

The largest component of the NAS Operations Directorate is the ATCSCC. The ATCSCC is the National Airspace System's central hub and ensures the entire network achieves optimum performance by balancing system demand and capacity. ATCSCC traffic managers provide strategic and tactical NAS oversight and regulate real-time air traffic when constraints such as weather, runway closures, equipment outages, security issues, or other impacting conditions affect the NAS. The ATCSCC provides a network-centric platform from which the FAA manages and recovers from large-scale disaster events and infrastructure outages.

The Director of NAS Operations leads a team of Deputy Directors of System Operations (DDSOs) who are strategically located around the country and are focused on improving system efficiency. They engage with the ATCSCC, NAS stakeholders, local FAA facilities, and other FAA lines of business to help mitigate system constraints such as airport construction and high-volume events like the Super Bowl. They also work to accomplish NAS-wide efforts such as the Air Traffic Organization's Efficiency Performance Initiatives.

As commercial space operators innovate, Space Operations keeps the NAS safe and efficient.

The Space Operations group is the Air Traffic Organization's (ATO) office of primary responsibility for launch and reentry of space operations and oversees the ATO effort to integrate space operations into the NAS. From the ATCSCC Challenger Room, ATO Space Operations coordinates launch and reentry missions with industry, the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, and Air Traffic facilities.

This group is leading the effort to improve safety and efficiency by deploying new capabilities and procedures while advances in technology and commercial enterprise increase the tempo of space operations.

NAS Operations continually strives to improve gate-to-gate strategic traffic management. The Director of NAS Operations provides leadership, direction, and guidance in the development of procedures and standards for air traffic control utilizing the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) Process. Collaborative Decision Making is a joint government, industry, aviation associations, and academia initiative focused on strengthening Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM) through information exchange.

Last updated: Friday, November 19, 2021