Air Traffic Control:

The Interim Support Plan Does Not Meet FAA's Needs

RCED-90-213: Published: Sep 11, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) planning and analysis in support of its Interim Support Plan (ISP), focusing on whether: (1) FAA adequately identified its requirements when developing ISP; and (2) the program was progressing in a manner that reflected its stated urgent nature.

GAO found that: (1) FAA inadequately identified ISP requirements; (2) FAA did not conduct a requirements analysis, as required by federal regulations and its own procedures; (3) FAA considered ISP as urgently needed, but ISP procurement and installation were behind schedule, indicating that FAA set unrealistic procurement and installation schedules; (4) FAA did not complete ISP assessment and approval until over a year after seeking congressional funds; (5) FAA recently concluded that ISP was insufficient and was initiating programs costing at least another $126 million to further expand capacity; and (6) since FAA was about 1 year behind its contracting schedule and about 3 years behind its installation schedule, it will be 1998 before the travelling public can benefit from ISP equipment.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Ongoing work indicates there are still problems in the requirements process.

    Recommendation: Because FAA has been developing additional interim projects, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to ensure that FAA properly applies its assessment and approval process and the Federal Information Resources Management Regulation (FIRMR), including conducting requirements analyses, to future projects before submitting them to Congress for funding.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation is superseded by the similar, but broader, GAO recommendation in T-RCED-92-51, the testimony on the FAA fiscal year 1993 budget request.

    Recommendation: Because FAA has been developing additional interim projects, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop specific capacity, reliability, and maintainability requirements and goals for planning and assessing interim programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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