Advanced Automation System:

Implications of Problems and Recent Changes

T-RCED-94-188: Published: Apr 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Advanced Automation System (AAS), focusing on the: (1) problems confronting AAS; (1) causes of AAS schedule delays and cost increases; and (3) changes affecting AAS. GAO noted that: (1) serious cost and schedule difficulties have affected AAS despite several FAA management initiatives; (2) an overly ambitious development plan, inadequate oversight of software development, and changing system requirements have led to AAS cost and schedule problems; (3) FAA has not provided adequate oversight of contractor performance during initial development of a key system component; (4) FAA has been indecisive in resolving some issues about AAS basic requirements; (5) although FAA and the contractor have made some progress in developing a system that meets FAA requirements, the system is still experiencing technical difficulties; (6) FAA will need an additional $100 million for a redesigned system component because of changing requirements; (7) FAA plans to procure about 170 automated systems, at a cost of $350 million, to support the terminal facilities that will not be consolidated under AAS; and (8) AAS will impose major demands on upcoming FAA budgets.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: To solve long-standing Initial Sector Suite System cost, schedule, and technical problems, the FAA Administrator announced a restructuring of the project in June 1994. The system was scaled back and renamed the Display System Replacement.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to defer governmental acceptance of the Initial Sector Suite System until all critical operational requirements are met.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In February 1995, FAA published a Program Master Plan that includes timeframes, funding levels, and all interim and long-term actions necessary to satisfy user needs and FAA air traffic control and management requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to submit a report to Congress, before the administration proposes its fiscal year 1996 budget for FAA, that describes a comprehensive automation plan--including timeframes, funding levels, and all interim and long-term actions necessary to satisfy user needs and FAA air traffic control and management requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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