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Continuing growth in regional and global air travel has resulted in increasing traffic congestion in the air and on the ground. The resulting congestion, which constrains expansion of the air transportation industry, inflicts schedule delays and decreases overall system efficiency, creating a pressing need to develop more efficient methods of air traffic management (ATM). New ATM techniques, procedures, airspace automation methods and decision support tools are being researched and developed for deployment in time frames stretching from the next few years to the year 2020 and beyond. As these methods become more advanced and increase in complexity, the requirements for information generation, sharing and transfer among the relevant entities in the ATM system increase dramatically. However, current aeronautical communications systems will be inadequate to meet the future information transfer demands created by these advanced ATM systems. Therefore, the NASA Glenn Research Center is undertaking research programs to develop communications methods and key technologies that can meet these future requirements. As part of this process, studies, workshops, testing and experimentation, and research and analysis have established a number of research and technology development needs. The purpose of this paper is to outline the critical research and technology needs that have been identified in these activities, and explain how these needs have been determined.