Aviation Acquisition:

Improved Process Needs To Be Followed

RCED-87-8: Published: Mar 26, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) National Airspace System (NAS) Plan to upgrade and modernize facilities and equipment to more effectively meet the projected increase in air traffic.

GAO found that: (1) the major systems necessary to implement the plan were subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-109 review, but FAA did not submit any of the systems for approval; (2) FAA advanced 5 of the 11 systems directly to the final production phase, while it waited for a production decision on the other systems; and (3) all 11 systems experienced cost increases or schedule delays because they did not meet the criteria to advance to the next acquisition phase. However, GAO also found that FAA took significant measures to correct deficiencies and incorporate the circular's principles and requirements into its acquisition process.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOT expressed its commitment to operational testing and evaluation (OT&E) and believes that the new OT&E policies and procedures will better ensure that major systems are adequately tested prior to full production. DOT also stated that the Transportation Systems Acquisition Review Council will ensure that OMB Circular A-109 and this GAO recommendation are followed in the future.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, FAA, should ensure that the major system projects not yet in the production phase are subject to operational testing as recommended by OMB Circular A-109, and the resulting data is made available for FAA production decisions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOT stated that the Transportation Systems Acquisition Review Council will ensure that acquisitions are fully justified, developed, and documented at the key decision points they enter the OMB Circular A-109 process.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, FAA, should ensure that new projects are included in the improved acquisition process and receive the level of management review prescribed by OMB Circular A-109, and that these projects are, in fact, sufficiently developed and documented to justify entering the acquisition process at the phase proposed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Federal Aviation Administration

 

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