Aviation Safety:

FAA and DOD Response to Similar Safety Concerns

GAO-02-77: Published: Dec 14, 2001. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 2002.

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The informal and formal networks used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the military services to exchange critical aviation safety information have proven useful. However, because recent and expected retirements threaten to erode informal networks, additional formal channels of communication are needed to ensure that common safety risks are identified and addressed in a systematic and timely manner. This includes the exchange of information on how FAA and the military services have addressed particular aviation safety concerns. Existing gaps in the formal processes used by FAA and the military services to exchange information could allow for communication lapses and delays in getting critical safety information to the right parties in a timely manner, potentially resulting in the loss of lives and aircraft.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 23, 2004, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) for exchanging aviation safety-related information and research. This MOA refers to FAA, DoD, and the military services, defines the types of safety information to be shared, and identifies key points of contact and parties responsible for rapidly distributing safety information involving similar civilian and military aircraft, equipment, parts and material issues. DoD, through the Office of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Installations and Environment, will annually update their list of offices to receive and transmit safety, airworthiness, and aeromedical information.

    Recommendation: To help ensure the systematic exchange of critical safety information, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of FAA, as directed by the Secretary of Transportation, should develop a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that defines the types of safety information to be exchanged, the mechanisms for exchanging this information, and the parties responsible for this exchange. This MOA should also establish a mechanism for the two departments to exchange information on how they have responded to specific safety concerns.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 23, 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) signed a Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) for exchanging aviation safety-related information and research. This MOA refers to FAA, DoD, and the military services, defines the types of safety information to be shared, and identifies key points of contact and parties responsible for rapidly distributing safety information involving similar civilian and military aircraft, equipment, parts and material issues. FAA, through the Associate Administrator for Regulation and Certification, will annually update their list of offices to receive and transmit safety, certification, and airworthiness information.

    Recommendation: To help ensure the systematic exchange of critical safety information, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of FAA, as directed by the Secretary of Transportation, should develop a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that defines the types of safety information to be exchanged, the mechanisms for exchanging this information, and the parties responsible for this exchange. This MOA should also establish a mechanism for the two departments to exchange information on how they have responded to specific safety concerns.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration

 

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