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to Face Challenges in Acquiring Major Air Traffic Control Systems' 
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Report to Congressional Requesters: 

June 2005: 

National Airspace System: 

FAA Has Made Progress but Continues to Face Challenges in Acquiring 
Major Air Traffic Control Systems: 

GAO-05-331: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-05-331, a report to congressional requesters: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) multibillion-dollar effort 
to modernize the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system has suffered 
from cost, schedule, and/or performance shortfalls in its system 
acquisitions for more than two decades and has been on our list of high 
risk programs since 1995. FAA’s performance-based Air Traffic 
Organization (ATO) was created in February 2004, in part, to address 
these legacy challenges. 

In this report, GAO examined (1) FAA’s experience in meeting cost, 
schedule, and performance targets for major ATC system acquisitions; 
(2) steps taken to address legacy problems with the program and 
additional steps needed; and (3) the potential impact of the 
constrained federal budget on this program. 

What GAO Found: 

The ATO met its acquisition goal for fiscal year 2004. However, prior 
to the establishment of the ATO, FAA had experienced more than two 
decades of cost, schedule, and/or performance shortfalls in acquiring 
major systems under its ATC modernization program. For example, 13 of 
the 16 major system acquisitions that we reviewed in detail have 
experienced cost, schedule, and/or performance shortfalls when assessed 
against their original milestones. These 13 system acquisitions 
experienced total cost growth from $1.1 million to about $1.5 billion; 
schedule extensions ranging from 1 to 13 years; and performance 
shortfalls, including safety problems. We found that one or more of 
four factors—funding, requirements growth and/or unplanned work, 
stakeholder involvement, and software complexity—have contributed to 
these legacy challenges. While FAA met its recent acquisition goal, it 
is important to note that this goal is based on updated program 
milestones and cost targets for system acquisitions, not those set at 
their inception. Consequently, they do not provide a consistent 
benchmark for assessing progress over time. Also, as indicators of 
annual progress, they cannot be used in isolation to measure progress 
over the life of an acquisition. 

Although additional steps are warranted, FAA has taken some positive 
steps to address key legacy challenges it has had with acquiring major 
systems under the modernization program. For example, the ATO has cut 
funding for some major systems that were not meeting their goals and is 
reassessing all capital investments to help ensure that priority 
systems receive needed funding. The ATO has improved its management of 
software-intensive acquisitions and information technology investments 
and begun to more actively involve stakeholders. As we recommended, the 
ATO plans to establish an overall policy to apply its process 
improvement model to all software-intensive acquisitions. However, 
additional steps could be taken to improve its management of system 
acquisitions. For example, the ATO could use a knowledge-based approach 
to managing system acquisitions, characteristic of best commercial 
practices, to help avoid cost, schedule, and performance problems. 

The ATO will also be challenged to modernize the ATC system under 
constrained budget targets, which would provide FAA with about $2 
billion less than it planned to spend through 2009. To fund its major 
system acquisitions and remain within these targets, the ATO has 
eliminated planned funding to start new projects and substantially 
reduced planned funding for other areas. However, when forwarding its 
budget submission for review by senior officials at FAA, DOT, the 
Office of Management and Budget, and Congress, the ATO provides no 
detail on the impact of the planned funding reductions on ATC 
modernization and related activities to modernize the NAS. Our work 
shows that the ATO should provide these decisionmakers with detailed 
information in its budget submissions about the impact of funding 
decisions on modernization efforts. Without this type of information, 
decision-makers lack important details when considering FAA’s annual 
budget submissions. 

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that the Secretary of Transportation direct FAA to 
provide detailed information to Congress about the impact of planned 
funding cuts on the agency’s ability to modernize the ATC system, and 
the National Airspace System (NAS). 

In commenting on a draft of this report, the Department of 
Transportation (DOT), FAA, and ATO said they generally agreed with the 
report. They did not comment on the recommendation. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-331. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Gerald L. Dillingham, 
(202) 512-2834, dillinghamg@gao.gov. 

[End of section]

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

FAA Has Had Difficulty Meeting Cost, Schedule, and/or Performance 
Targets for Major System Acquisitions, but Made Progress in Fiscal Year 
2004: 

FAA Has Taken Some Positive Steps to Address Key Legacy Challenges, but 
Additional Steps Are Warranted to Reduce Risk and Strengthen Oversight 

A Constrained Budgetary Environment Could Further Challenge the ATO's 
Efforts to Modernize the ATC System: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments: 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Background and Status of FAA's 16 Major System Acquisitions 
We Reviewed in Detail: 

Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X): 

Airport Surveillance Radar Model-11 (ASR-11): 

Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon Interrogator-Replacement (ATCBI-6): 

Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP): 

Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC): 

En Route Communications Gateway (ECG): 

En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM): 

Free Flight Phase 2 (FFP2): 

FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI): 

Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS): 

Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS): 

Next Generation Air-to-Ground Communication (NEXCOM): 

NAS Infrastructure Management System--Phase 2 (NIMS-2): 

Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS): 

Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS): 

Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS): 

Appendix II: Information on the 39 Additional Systems under the ATC 
Modernization Program: 

Appendix III: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Changes in Cost and Schedule Targets for 16 Major ATC System 
Acquisitions: 

Table 2: Four Key Factors Contributing to Cost Growth, Schedule 
Extensions, and/or Performance Problems for 13 ATC System Acquisitions: 

Table 3: Description and Status of Nine Additional Major ATC System 
Acquisitions with Cost, Schedule, and Performance Targets: 

Table 4: Cost and Schedule Information for Nine Additional Major 
Systems under the ATC Modernization Program: 

Table 5: Cost and Schedule Information for the 30 Buy-It-by-the-Pound 
Systems under the ATC Modernization Program: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Sixteen Major Systems We Examined in Detail by Phase of 
Flight: 

Figure 2: ASDE-X Screen Depicting an Airport Layout with Active 
Aircraft Targets: 

Figure 3: Changes to ASDE-X Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 4: ASR-11 Equipment: 

Figure 5: Changes to ASR-11 Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 6: ATCBI-6 Screen Display Depicting All Transponder-Equipped 
Aircraft: 

Figure 7: Changes to ATCBI-6 Cost and Schedule Targets: 

Figure 8: ATOP Equipment Reporting Aircraft Position Information: 

Figure 9: Changes to ATOP Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 10: CPDLC Text Message on an Aircraft Display: 

Figure 11: Changes to CPDLC Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 12: ECG Maintenance Workstation Display: 

Figure 13: Changes to ECG Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 14: Changes to ERAM Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 15: Free Flight Phase 2 User Request Evaluation Tool: 

Figure 16: Changes to FFP2 Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 17: FTI Primary Network Operations Control Center: 

Figure 18: Changes to FTI Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 19: ITWS Situation Display: 

Figure 20: Changes to ITWS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 21: Key Components of LAAS: 

Figure 22: Changes to LAAS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 23: Multimode Digital Radio: 

Figure 24: Changes to NEXCOM Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 25: NIMS Infrastructure: 

Figure 26: Changes to NIMS-Phase 2 Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 27: OASIS Dual Screen Display: 

Figure 28: Changes to OASIS Schedule and Cost Estimates: 

Figure 29: STARS Controller Workstation: 

Figure 30: Changes to STARS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Figure 31: Key Components of WAAS: 

Figure 32: Change to WAAS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

Abbreviations: 

ACE-IDS: Automated Surface Observing System Controller Equipment 
Information Display System: 

ADL: Aeronautical Data Link: 

ADS-B: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast: 

AFSS: Automated Flight Service Stations: 

ALSIP: Approach Lighting System Improvement Program: 

AMS: Acquisition Management System: 

ARCSCC: FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center: 

ARTCC: Air Route Traffic Control Centers: 

ARTS: Automated Radar Terminal System: 

ASWON: Aviation Surface Weather Observation Network: 

ASDE-X: Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X: 

ASOS: Automated Surface Observing System: 

ASR-9: Airport Surveillance Radar-Model 9: 

ASR-11: Airport Surveillance Radar-Model 11: 

ATC: Air Traffic Control: 

ATCBI-6: Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator Replacement: 

ATCT: Air Traffic Control Towers: 

ATO: Air Traffic Organization: 

ATOP: Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures: 

AWOS: Automated Weather Observing System: 

AWSS: Automated Weather Sensors Systems: 

C3: Command, Control, and Communications: 

CARTS: Common Automated Radar Terminal System: 

CCS: Command Center Conference Control System: 

CDM: Collaborative Decision Making: 

CFE: Communications Facilities Enhancements: 

CMMI: Capability Maturity Model Integration: 

CNS: Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance: 

CIWS: Corridor Integrated Weather System: 

COTS: Commercial-Off-the-Shelf: 

CPDLC: Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications: 

CTS: Critical Telecommunications Support: 

DME: Distance Measuring Equipment: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 

DSP: Departure Spacing Program: 

E-Scan: Electronic Scan: 

ECG: En Route Communication Gateway: 

ERAM: En Route Automation Modernization: 

ETVS: Enhanced Terminal Voice Switches: 

FAA: Federal Aviation Administration: 

FFP2: Free Flight Phase 2: 

FIS: Flight Information Service: 

FISDL: Flight Information Service Data Link: 

FTI: FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure: 

GAO: U.S. Government Accountability Office: 

GNSS: Global Navigation Surveillance Systems: 

HAATS: Houston Area Air Traffic System: 

HOCSR: HOST/Oceanic Computer System Replacement: 

IATS: Initial Academy Training System: 

ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization: 

iCMM: integrated Capability Maturity Model: 

ILS: Instrument Landing System: 

IOC: Initial Operating Capability: 

IT: Information Technology: 

ITIM: Information Technology Investment Management: 

ITWS: Integrated Terminal Weather System: 

JRC: Joint Resources Council: 

LAAS: Local Area Augmentation System: 

LRR: Long-range Radar: 

NAS: National Airspace System: 

NDI: Non-Developmental Item: 

NASR: National Airspace System Resources: 

NEXCOM: Next Generation Air-to-Ground Communication System: 

NEXRAD: Next Generation Weather Radar: 

NIMS-2: National Airspace System Infrastructure Management System-Phase 
2: 

NOTAM: Notice to Airmen: 

NTSB: National Transportation Safety Board: 

NWS: National Weather Service: 

OASIS: Operational and Supportability Implementation System: 

OMB: Office of Management and Budget: 

ORD: Operational Readiness Date: 

PRM: Precision Runway Monitor: 

RFI: Radio Frequency Interference: 

RIRP: Runway Incursion Reduction Program: 

RTCA: Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics: 

RVR: Runway Visual Range: 

SAWS: Stand-alone Weather Sensors: 

SF-21: Safe Flight 21 Program: 

SLEP: Service Life Extension Program: 

STARS: Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System: 

TDLS: Tower Data Link Services: 

TFM-I: Traffic Flow Management-Infrastructure: 

TMA: Traffic Management Advisor: 

UHF: Ultra High Frequency: 

URET: User Request Evaluation Tool: 

VOR: Very High Frequency Omni-directional Range: 

VORTAC: Very High Frequency Omni-directional Collocated with Tactical 
Air Navigation: 

VRRP: Voice Recorder Replacement Program: 

VSCS: Voice Switching and Control System: 

WAAS: Wide Area Augmentation System: 

WMSCR: 

Letter June 10, 2005: 

Congressional Requesters: 

In 1981, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began what it 
initially envisioned as a 10-year modernization program to upgrade and 
replace the National Airspace System's (NAS) facilities and equipment 
to meet projected increases in traffic volumes, enhance the system's 
margin of safety, and increase the efficiency of the air traffic 
control (ATC) system--a principal component of the NAS. To date, FAA 
has spent $43.5 billion for its NAS modernization effort[Footnote 1] 
and plans to spend an additional $9.6 billion through fiscal year 2009, 
primarily to upgrade and replace ATC systems and facilities.[Footnote 
2] For more than two decades, ATC system acquisitions under the NAS 
modernization program[Footnote 3] have experienced significant cost 
growth, schedule delays, and performance problems. As a result, the ATC 
modernization program has been on our list of high-risk programs since 
1995. To improve FAA's management of the modernization program, 
Congress, in 1995, gave the agency acquisition and human capital 
flexibilities,[Footnote 4] which FAA has largely implemented. 

In 2000, Congress and the administration took further steps to improve 
the modernization program's management. Through legislation and an 
executive order, they laid the foundation for, among other things, a 
performance-based organization to manage FAA's ATC investments and 
operations and a chief operating officer to lead it. In response, FAA 
hired a chief operating officer in August 2003 and created the Air 
Traffic Organization (ATO)[Footnote 5] in February 2004. The ATO 
inherited the decades-long legacy of cost, schedule, and/or performance 
problems with major ATC system acquisitions and at the same time 
received $400 million less for fiscal year 2005 than it had planned to 
spend for ATC modernization. In addition, projected funding levels from 
the administration are about $2 billion less than FAA had planned to 
spend for fiscal years 2005 through 2009. 

The ATC modernization program is critical to meeting future air traffic 
safety, capacity, and efficiency needs. FAA reported that U.S. airlines 
carried nearly 690 million passengers in 2004 and that it expects the 
number of passengers to reach 1 billion by 2015. According to FAA, the 
agency has spent about 58 percent, or $25.1 billion, of the $43.5 
billion total for NAS modernization on system acquisitions designed to 
replace or upgrade various ATC systems. 

In light of past problems with and continuing concerns about funding 
major ATC system acquisitions under the ATC modernization program, you 
asked us to examine (1) FAA's experience in meeting cost, schedule, 
and/or performance targets for major system acquisitions under its ATC 
modernization program; (2) the steps FAA has taken to address long-
standing challenges with the ATC modernization program and additional 
steps that are needed; and (3) the potential effects of the constrained 
budget environment on FAA's ability to modernize the ATC system. To 
address these objectives, we reviewed in detail 16 of the 55 system 
acquisitions[Footnote 6] under the ATC modernization program, primarily 
by interviewing FAA officials and obtaining and analyzing key 
acquisition documents.[Footnote 7] We selected these 16 systems in July 
2004, when this review was still a part of our broader work on FAA's 
efforts to modernize the NAS.[Footnote 8],[Footnote 9] Specifically, we 
selected the 16 ATC system acquisitions with the largest life-cycle 
costs that met the following criteria: each system had cost, schedule, 
and performance targets; was discussed in prior GAO and Department of 
Transportation Inspector General (DOT IG) reports, had not been fully 
implemented or deployed by 2004, and received funding in 2004. We 
reviewed this list with FAA officials to ensure that we did not exclude 
any significant system. In fiscal year 2005, these 16 major ATC system 
acquisitions account for about 36 percent of FAA's facilities and 
equipment budget.[Footnote 10] (See app. I for additional information 
on these 16 systems.) We also collected information on the remaining 39 
system acquisitions under this program, which account for about 19 
percent of FAA's facilities and equipment account for fiscal year 
2005.[Footnote 11] (See app. II for additional information on these 39 
systems.) In addition, we reviewed past GAO and DOT IG reports. We 
interviewed FAA officials within the recently created ATO and collected 
and analyzed the documents they provided. We also interviewed officials 
with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Transport 
Association, Department of Defense (DOD), National Air Traffic 
Controllers Association, and RTCA.[Footnote 12] Furthermore, we 
convened a panel of international aviation experts.[Footnote 13] Our 
review did not focus on FAA's efforts to modernize its airports and 
other agency facilities. We conducted our review from November 2004 
through May 2005 in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards. (See app. III for additional information on our 
objectives, scope, and methodology.)

Results in Brief: 

The ATO has shown progress during its first year of operation by 
meeting its acquisition goal for fiscal year 2004. However, for more 
than two decades, FAA has experienced cost growth, schedule extensions, 
and/or performance problems in acquiring major systems under its ATC 
modernization program and has been on our list of high-risk programs 
since 1995.[Footnote 14] Since their inception, 13 of the 16 major 
system acquisitions that we reviewed in detail for this engagement have 
experienced cost, schedule, and/or performance shortfalls when assessed 
against their original baselines or performance targets. Specifically, 
the total cost for these 13 major system acquisitions ranged from $1.1 
million to about $1.5 billion over their original cost targets. In 
addition, these 13 system acquisitions also experienced schedule 
extensions that ranged from 1 to 13 years[Footnote 15] over their 
original schedule targets. Furthermore, several of these 13 system 
acquisitions experienced performance shortfalls related to safety. Our 
work indicates that one or more of the following four factors have 
contributed to the legacy challenges FAA has experienced in meeting 
system acquisitions' cost, schedule, and/or performance targets: (1) 
receiving funding for acquisitions at lower levels than called for in 
agency planning documents, (2) adding requirements and/or unplanned 
work, (3) not sufficiently involving stakeholders throughout system 
development, and (4) underestimating the complexity of software 
development. Three of the major 16 ATC system acquisitions we reviewed 
in detail are currently operating within their original cost, schedule, 
and performance targets, despite challenges that are symptomatic of 
past problems. To its credit, the ATO has reported that it met its 
annual acquisition performance goal for fiscal year 2004: to meet 80 
percent of designated milestones and maintain 80 percent of critical 
program costs within 10 percent of the budget as published in its 
Capital Investment Plan. However, in our opinion, having and meeting 
such performance goals is commendable, but it is important to note that 
these goals are updated program milestones and cost targets, not those 
set at the program's inception.[Footnote 16] Consequently, they do not 
provide a consistent benchmark for assessing progress over time. 
Moreover, as indicators of annual progress, the goals cannot be used in 
isolation to measure progress in meeting cost and schedule targets over 
the life of an acquisition. Finally, given the problems FAA has had in 
acquiring major ATC systems for over two decades, it is too soon to 
tell whether meeting these annual performance goals will ultimately 
improve the agency's ability to deliver system acquisitions as 
promised. 

FAA has taken a number of positive steps, primarily through the ATO, to 
address key legacy challenges it has had with acquiring major systems 
under its ATC modernization program; however, additional steps are 
warranted to reduce risk and strengthen oversight. Some of the positive 
steps taken directly address the four factors we identified as 
contributing to cost, schedule, and/or performance problems, while 
others support more general efforts to improve the modernization 
program's management. For example, the ATO has demonstrated a 
willingness to cut some major acquisitions that are not meeting their 
performance targets, even after investments of significant resources, 
and is reassessing all of its capital investments to help ensure that 
high-priority system acquisitions receive needed funding. The ATO has 
also improved its management of information technology investments and 
software-intensive acquisitions; these efforts are positive steps 
toward minimizing growth in requirements and unplanned work and better 
assessing the complexity of software development. For example, on a 
number of software-intensive acquisition projects, the ATO has applied 
a process improvement model that resulted in positive outcomes such as 
enhanced productivity and greater ability to predict schedules and 
resources. As we recommended, FAA plans to institutionalize the use of 
this model by establishing a policy to define the ATO's expectations 
for process improvements and a plan to address and coordinate process 
improvement activities throughout the organization.[Footnote 17] The 
ATO has also begun to include stakeholders in all phases of system 
development, so that they can provide input in response to technical or 
financial developments. However, we have identified additional steps 
that are needed to reduce risk and strengthen oversight. For example, 
we found that the ATO does not use a knowledge-based approach to system 
acquisitions, characteristic of best commercial practices for managing 
commercial and DOD product developments, which would help avoid cost, 
schedule, and/or performance problems.[Footnote 18] We recommended, 
among other things, that FAA take several actions to more closely align 
its acquisition management system with commercial best practices. FAA 
said that our recommendations would be helpful to them as they continue 
to refine this system. Continued improvement and management attention 
will be crucial if the organization is to succeed in addressing key 
legacy challenges.[Footnote 19]

The current constrained budget environment, which includes lower future 
budget targets than those of recent years, poses further challenges to 
the ATO as it attempts to modernize the ATC system. FAA plans to spend 
$4.4 billion from fiscal year 2005 through fiscal year 2009 to fund key 
modernization efforts; however, this funding level is about $2 billion 
less than the agency had expected in appropriations for this 5-year 
period. To fund its major system acquisitions while remaining within 
the budget targets, the ATO has eliminated planned funding to start new 
projects and reduced planned funding for other areas. However, when 
forwarding its budget submission for review by senior FAA, DOT, and OMB 
officials and by Congress, the ATO provides no detail on the impact of 
the planned funding reductions on ATC modernization and related 
activities to modernize the NAS. Our work shows that the ATO should 
provide these officials and Congress with detailed information in its 
budget submissions about the impact of reduced budgets on both ATC and 
NAS modernization. To do so, the ATO should explicitly identify the 
trade-offs it is making to reach budget targets, highlighting those 
programs slated for increased funding and those slated for reduced 
funding. Without this type of information, decision-makers lack 
important details when considering FAA's annual budget submissions. We 
are recommending that FAA provide this information to Congress 
annually. 

In commenting on draft of this report, DOT, FAA, and ATO generally 
agreed with the report and provided technical comments, which we 
incorporated as appropriate. The FAA officials said they are continuing 
to consider our recommendation and indicated they would provide a 
written statement required by 31 U.S.C. 720.[Footnote 20]

Background: 

The mission of FAA, as a DOT agency, is to provide the safest, most 
efficient aerospace system in the world. To fulfill its mission, FAA 
must rely on an extensive use of technology, including many software-
intensive systems. FAA constantly relies on the adequacy and 
reliability of the nation's ATC system, which comprises a vast network 
of radars; automated data processing, navigation, and communications 
equipment; and ATC facilities.[Footnote 21] Through this system, FAA 
provides services such as controlling takeoffs and landings and 
managing the flow of traffic between airports. 

FAA is organized into several staff support offices and five lines of 
business, which include Airports, Aviation Safety, Commercial Space 
Transportation, the Office of Security and Hazardous Materials, and the 
newly formed ATO.[Footnote 22] The ATO was formed in February 2004 to, 
among other things, improve the provision of air traffic services and 
accelerate modernization efforts. To create the ATO, FAA combined its 
Research and Acquisition and Air Traffic Services into one performance-
based organization, bringing together those who acquire systems and 
those who use them, respectively. The ATO is led by FAA's chief 
operating officer, consists of 10 service units,[Footnote 23] and has 
36,000 of FAA's 48,000 employees. 

The ATO is the principal FAA organizational unit responsible for 
acquiring ATC systems through the use of the agency's Acquisition 
Management System (AMS). Because FAA formerly contended that some of 
its modernization problems were caused by federal acquisition 
regulations, Congress enacted legislation in November 1995 that 
exempted the agency from most federal procurement laws and regulations 
and directed FAA to develop and implement a new acquisition management 
system that would address the unique needs of the agency. In April 
1996, FAA implemented AMS. AMS was intended to reduce the time and cost 
of fielding new system acquisitions by introducing (1) a new investment 
system that spans the life cycle of an acquisition, (2) a new 
procurement system that provides flexibility in selecting and managing 
contractors, and (3) organizational and human capital reforms that 
support the new acquisition system. 

AMS provides high-level acquisition policy and guidance for selecting 
and controlling ATC system acquisitions through all phases of the 
acquisition life cycle, which is organized into a series of phases and 
decision points that include (1) mission analysis, (2) investment 
analysis, (3) solution implementation, and (4) in-service management. 
To select system acquisitions, FAA has two processes--mission analysis 
and investment analysis-that together constitute a set of policies and 
procedures, as well as guidance, that enhance the agency's ability to 
screen system acquisitions submitted for funding. Also through these 
two processes, FAA assesses and ranks each system acquisition according 
to its relative costs, benefits, risks, and contribution to FAA's 
mission; a senior, corporate-level decision-making group then selects 
system acquisitions for funding. After a system acquisition has been 
selected, FAA officials are required to formally establish the life-
cycle cost, schedule, benefits, and performance targets--known as 
acquisition program baselines,[Footnote 24] which are used to monitor 
the status of the system acquisition throughout the remaining phases of 
its life cycle. 

Through its NAS modernization program, FAA is upgrading and replacing 
ATC facilities and equipment to help improve the system's safety, 
efficiency, and capacity. These systems involve improvement in the 
areas of automation, communication, navigation and landing, 
surveillance, and weather to support the following five phases of 
flight (see fig. 1): 

* Preflight-The pilot performs flight checks and the aircraft is pushed-
back from the gate. For preflight, we looked at Collaborative Decision 
Making (CDM) and OASIS. 

* Airport Surface-The aircraft taxis to the runway for takeoff or, 
after landing, to the destination gate to park at the terminal. For 
airport surface, we examined the Airport Surface Detection Equipment-
Model X (ASDE-X). 

* Terminal Departure-The aircraft lifts off the ground and climbs to a 
cruising altitude. For terminal departure, we examined the following 
systems: Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-11), Integrated Terminal 
Weather System (ITWS), Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS), Standard 
Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS), and Traffic Management 
Advisor (TMA). 

* En route/Oceanic--The aircraft travels through one or more center 
airspaces and approaches the destination airport. For en route and 
oceanic, we examined the following systems: Air Traffic Control Radar 
Beacon Interrogator-Replacement (ATCBI-6), Advanced Technologies and 
Oceanic Procedures (ATOP), Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications 
(CPDLC), and User Request Evaluation Tool (URET). 

* Terminal Arrival--The pilot lowers, maneuvers, aligns, and lands the 
aircraft on the destination airport's designated landing runway. For 
terminal arrival, we looked at the systems already listed under 
terminal departure: ASR-11, ITWS, LAAS, STARS, and TMA. 

In addition, for the major ATC systems that support multiple phases of 
flight, we examined the following systems: En Route Communications 
Gateway (ECG), En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), Next-
Generation Air-to-Ground Communication (NEXCOM), and Wide Area 
Augmentation System (WAAS). Furthermore, for major ATC systems that 
support NAS infrastructure, we examined FAA Telecommunications 
Infrastructure (FTI) and NAS Infrastructure Management System (NIMS)-
Phase Two.[Footnote 25] (See app. I for additional information on these 
16 systems.)

Figure 1: Sixteen Major Systems We Examined in Detail by Phase of 
Flight: 

[See PDF for image]

[A] CDM, TMA, and URET are decision support tools that fall under the 
Free Flight program, which is currently called Free Flight Phase 2 
(FFP2). We reviewed FFP2 as a single system acquisition. 

[End of figure]

FAA Has Had Difficulty Meeting Cost, Schedule, and/or Performance 
Targets for Major System Acquisitions, but Made Progress in Fiscal Year 
2004: 

For more than two decades, FAA has experienced cost growth, schedule 
extensions, and/or performance problems in acquiring major systems 
under its ATC modernization program and has been on our list of high-
risk programs since 1995. For example, 13 of the 16 major system 
acquisitions we reviewed in detail continue to experience cost, 
schedule, and/or performance shortfalls when assessed against their 
original baselines. The three other major system acquisitions that we 
reviewed in detail are currently operating within their original cost, 
schedule, and performance targets, but are experiencing challenges 
symptomatic of past problems. Of the remaining 39 system acquisitions 
within the ATC modernization program, few have had problems meeting 
cost and schedule targets.[Footnote 26] However, the ATO made progress 
during its first year of operation by meeting its acquisition goal for 
fiscal year 2004. 

Thirteen of the 16 Major ATC System Acquisitions We Reviewed in Detail 
Continue to Experience Shortfalls When Assessed against Original 
Performance Targets: 

Thirteen of the 16 major system acquisitions that we reviewed in detail 
for this engagement under the ATC modernization program have continued 
to experience cost growth, schedule delays, and/or performance problems 
when assessed against their original performance targets (see table 1). 
These major system acquisitions had total cost growth ranging from $1.1 
million to about $1.5 billion over their original cost targets. In 
addition, these systems required extensions in their initial deployment 
schedules ranging from 1 to 13 years. Furthermore, several systems 
experienced safety-related performance problems. 

Table 1: Changes in Cost and Schedule Targets for 16 Major ATC System 
Acquisitions: 

Dollars in millions. 

ATC system: Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X); 
Original date: September 2001; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $424.3; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $510.2; 
Change: $85.9[A]; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2007; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2009[B]; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 2. 

ATC system: Airport Surveillance Radar Model-11 (ASR-11); 
Original date: November 1997; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $743; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $916; 
Change: $173; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2005; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2013; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 8. 

ATC system: ATC Radar Beacon Interrogator-Replacement (ATCBI-6); 
Original date: August 1997; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $281.8; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $282.9; 
Change: $1.10; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2004; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2008; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 4. 

ATC system: Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP); 
Original date: June 2001; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $548.2; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $548.2; 
Change: None; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2006; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2006; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): None. 

ATC system: Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC); 
Original date: 1999; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $166.7; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): To be determined; 
Change: N/A; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: June 2005; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: To be determined; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): N/A. 

ATC system: En Route Communications Gateway (ECG); 
Original date: March 2002; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $245.2; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $245.2; 
Change: None; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2005; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2005; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): None. 

ATC system: En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM); 
Original date: June 2003; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $2,150; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $2,150; 
Change: None; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: December 2010; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: December 2010; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): None. 

ATC system: Free Flight Phase 2 (FFP2); 
Original date: June 2002; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $546.2; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $546.2; 
Change: None; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2006; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2007; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 1. 

ATC system: FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI); 
Original date: July 1999; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $205.7; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $310.2; 
Change: $104.5[C]; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2008; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2008; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): None. 

ATC system: Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS); 
Original date: June 1997; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $276.1; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $286.1; 
Change: $10.0; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: July 2003; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2009+; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 6+. 

ATC system: Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS); 
Original date: January 1998; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $530.1; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $696.1; 
Change: $166.0; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2006; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: To be determined; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): N/A. 

ATC system: Next Generation Air-to-Ground Communication (NEXCOM); 
Original date: September 1998; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $405.7; (First segment only); 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $986.4; (First segment 
only); 
Change: $580.7; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2008; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: To be determined; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): N/A. 

ATC system: NAS Infrastructure Management System-Phase 2 (NIMS-2); 
Original date: May 2000; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $172.9; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $172.9; 
Change: None; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2005; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2010[D]; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 5. 

ATC system: Operational and Supportability Implementation System 
(OASIS); 
Original date: April 1997; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $174.7; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $155.50; 
Change: ($19.2); 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2001; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2004; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 3. 

ATC system: Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS); 
Original date: February 1996; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $940; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $1,460; (Phase 1 only); 
Change: $520; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: 2005; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2008; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 3. 

ATC system: Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS); 
Original date: 1994; 
Cost targets: Original cost: $509; 
Cost targets: Current cost (as of March 2005): $2,036[E]; 
Change: $1,527; 
Last-site implementation targets: Original date: December 2000; 
Last-site implementation targets: Current date: 2013; 
Last-site implementation targets: Change (in years): 13. 

Source: GAO presentation of FAA data. 

N/A: Not applicable. 

[A] According to FAA officials, the change in cost target for ASDE-X 
was due to an increase in the scope of the project. 

[B] FAA plans to extend ASDE-X's current deployment target from 2007 to 
2009 because the project's budgets were cut in fiscal years 2004 and 
2005. 

[C] The increased costs were for requirements which, while included in 
the original baseline, were unknown at the time the original baseline 
was prepared. 

[D] In light of reduced funding, FAA is revising NIMS-2's targets; 
a Joint Resource Council decision is planned for May 2005. 

[E] September 1999 and May 2004 estimates for WAAS development exclude 
$1.3 billion in satellite communications leases. 

[End of table]

For 12 of the 13 major system acquisitions[Footnote 27] we reviewed in 
detail with cost, schedule, and performance shortfalls, one or more of 
the following four key factors contributed to these shortfalls: 

(1) The funding level received was less than called for in agency 
planning documents. Most major ATC system acquisitions have cost, 
schedule, and performance baselines that are approved by FAA's Joint 
Resources Council--the agency's body responsible for approving and 
overseeing major system acquisitions. Each baseline[Footnote 28] 
includes annual funding levels that the council agrees are needed for a 
system acquisition to meet its cost, schedule, and/or performance 
targets. The estimated cost for a given year assumes that the program 
received all funding for prior fiscal years as described in the 
baseline. In practice, however, this is not always the case. For 
example, when FAA's budget level does not allow all system acquisitions 
to be fully funded at the levels approved in their baselines, FAA may 
elect to fully fund higher-priority acquisitions and provide less 
funding for lower-priority acquisitions than called for in their 
baselines. When a system acquisition does not receive the annual 
funding levels called for in its baseline, its ability to meet cost, 
schedule, and/or performance targets can be jeopardized, for example, 
by requiring the agency to defer funding for essential development or 
deployment activities until sufficient funding becomes available, 
which, in turn, could require FAA to maintain costly legacy systems 
until a new system is deployed. Receiving less funding than the agency 
approved for a given acquisition was a factor contributing to the 
inability of 8 of the 16 major system acquisitions we reviewed in 
detail to meet their cost, schedule, and/or performance targets. The 
ASR-11 acquisition, a digital radar system, illustrates how reduced 
funding has resulted in schedule delays. FAA officials stated that 
because of funding reductions and reprogramming, the program received 
$46.45 million less than requested for fiscal years 2004 and 2005 and 
program officials plan to request that the program's deployment 
schedule be extended to 2013.[Footnote 29] According to FAA officials, 
in general, schedules for system acquisitions may slip under such 
circumstances (e.g., the rate of software development may be reduced 
and planned hardware and software deployments may be delayed). The 
ATO's chief operating officer testified in April 2005 that receiving 
multiyear rather than annual funding from Congress for system 
acquisitions would help FAA to address this problem by providing 
funding stability for system acquisitions. In addition, according to a 
senior DOT official, 50 percent of cost growth is a result of an 
unstable funding stream. 

(2) The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or 
unplanned work. Requirements that are inadequate or poorly defined 
prior to developing a system may contribute to the inability of system 
acquisitions to meet their original cost, schedule, and/or performance 
targets. In addition, unplanned development work can occur when the 
agency misjudges the extent to which commercial-off-the-shelf 
(COTS)/nondevelopmental item (NDI)[Footnote 30] solutions, such as 
those procured by another agency, will meet FAA's needs. Requirements 
growth and/or unplanned work contributed to the inability of 7 of the 
16 major system acquisitions we reviewed in detail to meet their cost, 
schedule, and/or performance targets. 

(3) Stakeholders were not sufficiently involved in design and 
development: Insufficient involvement of relevant stakeholders, such as 
air traffic controllers and maintenance technicians, throughout the 
development and approval processes for a system acquisition can lead to 
costly changes in requirements and unplanned work late in the 
development process. Not involving stakeholders sufficiently 
contributed to the inability of 4 of the 16 major system acquisitions 
to meet their cost, schedule, and/or performance targets. 

(4) The complexity of software development was underestimated.[Footnote 
31] Underestimating the complexity of developing software for system 
acquisitions or the difficulty of modifying available software to 
fulfill FAA's mission needs may contribute to unexpected software 
development, higher costs, and schedule delays. Underestimation 
contributed to the inability of 3 of the 16 major system acquisitions 
we reviewed in detail to meet their cost, schedule, and/or performance 
targets. (See table 2.)

Table 2: Four Key Factors Contributing to Cost Growth, Schedule 
Extensions, and/or Performance Problems for 13ATC System Acquisitions: 

Name of system: ASDE-X; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents. 

Name of system: ASR-11; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work. 

Name of system: ATCBI-6; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents. 

Name of system: CPDLC; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work. 

Name of system: FFP2; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents. 

Name of system: ITWS; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work; 
The complexity of software development was underestimated. 

Name of system: LAAS; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work; 
The complexity of software development was underestimated; 
Stakeholders were not sufficiently involved. 

Name of system: NEXCOM; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work. 

Name of system: NIMS-2; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work. 

Name of system: OASIS; 
The funding level received was less than called for in agency planning 
documents; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work; 
Stakeholders were not sufficiently involved. 

Name of system: STARS; 
The system acquisition experienced requirements growth and/or unplanned 
work; 
Stakeholders were not sufficiently involved. 

Name of system: WAAS; 
The complexity of software development was underestimated; 
Stakeholders were not sufficiently involved. 

Name of system: FTI[A]; N/A.

Source: GAO presentation of FAA data. 

Note: Blank spaces in the chart denote that the specific factor was not 
a key contributor to a program's inability to meet cost, schedule, or 
performance targets. 

[End of table]

AFTI was not directly impacted by any of these four factors, but did 
experience cost growth. 

Several of the 16 major systems acquisitions we reviewed in detail 
effectively illustrate how these four factors can interact to 
contribute to cost growth, schedule extensions, and performance 
problems. For example, for WAAS, a precision approach and landing 
system augmented by satellites, two of the four key factors came into 
play: underestimation of software complexity and insufficient 
stakeholder involvement. Specifically, FAA underestimated the 
complexity of the software that would be needed to support this system 
when it accelerated the implementation of performance targets, which 
included moving up the commissioning of WAAS by 3 years. FAA originally 
planned to commission WAAS by 2000; however, at the urging of 
government and aviation industry groups in the 1990s, it decided to 
change the commissioning date to 1997. FAA then tried to develop, test, 
and deploy WAAS within 28 months, although the software development 
alone was expected to take 24 to 28 months. 

In retrospect, FAA acknowledged that the agency's in-house technical 
expertise was not sufficient to address WAAS's technical challenges and 
that expert stakeholders should have been involved earlier. Although 
WAAS was being developed by an integrated product team that included 
representatives from several FAA offices, the team did not effectively 
resolve problems in meeting a required performance capability--that 
pilots be warned in a timely manner when a system may be giving them 
potentially misleading and therefore hazardous information. 
Consequently, in 2000, FAA convened a panel of expert stakeholders to 
help it meet this requirement. These actions resulted in unplanned work 
and contributed to the rise in WAAS's cost from the original estimate 
of $509 million in 1994 to $2.036 billion in 2005, and to a 6-year 
extension in its commissioning date. According to FAA, adding 6 years 
to the program's life cycle also contributed to increased 
costs.[Footnote 32]

Another example involves STARS, a joint program of FAA and DOD that 
replaced outdated monochromatic controller workstation monitors with 
multicolor monitors in ATC facilities. While joint FAA and DOD 
acquisitions offer the opportunity to leverage federal resources, in 
the case of STARS, the interaction of insufficient stakeholder 
involvement and subsequent unplanned work contributed to cost growth 
and schedule extensions. Specifically, FAA and DOD decided to acquire 
COTS equipment, rather than developing a new system. This strategy 
envisioned immediately deploying STARS to the highest priority ATC 
facilities and making further improvements later, thereby avoiding the 
increasing cost of maintaining the legacy system. However, this 
strategy provided for only limited evaluation by FAA and DOD 
controllers and maintenance technicians during the system's development 
phase, although these employees were identified as stakeholders in 
developing the system's requirements. While DOD controllers adopted and 
began using the original COTS version of STARS, FAA elected to modify 
the acquisition strategy and suspended the STARS deployment to address 
FAA controller and technician concerns with the new system. These 
concerns included, for example, that many features of the old equipment 
could be operated with knobs, allowing controllers to focus on the 
screen. By contrast, STARS was menu-driven and required the controllers 
to make several keystrokes and use a trackball, diverting their 
attention from the screen. The maintenance technicians also identified 
differences between STARS and its backup system that made it difficult 
to monitor the system. For example, the visual warning alarms and the 
color codes identifying problems were not the same for the two systems. 

According to FAA, the original COTS acquisition strategy that limited 
the involvement of controllers and maintenance technicians to just 
prior to deployment caused unplanned work for the agency because it had 
to revise its strategy for acquiring and approving STARS; 
this contributed to an increase in the overall cost of STARS of $500 
million and a schedule extension of 5 years to deploy the system to its 
first site. The interaction of these factors also contributed to the 
agency's ability to deploy STARS at only 47 of the 172 facilities 
initially planned. As of February 2005, FAA was developing a long-term 
acquisition plan to modernize or upgrade the highest-priority Terminal 
Radar Approach Control facilities that direct aircraft in the airspace 
that extends from the point where the tower's control ends to about 50 
nautical miles from the airport. The plan consists of alternatives to 
STARS, including the existing Common Automated Radar Terminal System 
(CARTS), which STARS was designed to replace.[Footnote 33] Finally, to 
help avoid similar problems in the future, stemming from the 
insufficient involvement of stakeholders during critical phases of a 
system's design, development, and implementation, FAA has been more 
proactive in involving the stakeholders that will operate and maintain 
system acquisitions. 

A final example of how these factors can interact is FAA's acquisition 
of OASIS, which is designed to replace outdated technology in FAA's 
automated flight service stations. The new system is intended to 
improve the ability of air traffic specialists[Footnote 34] to process 
flight plans, deliver weather information, and provide search and 
rescue services to general aviation pilots. In August 1997, FAA awarded 
a contract to replace the Flight Service Automation System and console 
workstations. However, unplanned work, insufficient involvement of 
stakeholders, and lower funding than the agency had determined was 
needed to meet cost, schedule, and performance targets have together 
contributed to cost growth and schedules extensions. For example, the 
agency saw the system acquisition schedule slip because of a larger-
than-planned development effort. According to the DOT IG, FAA 
identified a number of significant concerns, including the inadequate 
weather graphics capabilities for air traffic specialists. In our view, 
this indicates that stakeholders were not sufficiently involved 
throughout the system's design and development phases. As a result, FAA 
eliminated the option of COTS procurement. In addition, the OASIS 
program was rebaselined in March 2000, when the system acquisition 
received only $10 million of the $21.5 million called for in its 
baseline for that year. This reduction in funding reduced the rate of 
software development, delayed and reduced the rate of planned hardware 
and console deployments, and led to the incremental deployment of 
operational software. This contributed to a delay in the first-site 
implementation from July 1998 to July 2002. According to FAA officials, 
because OASIS received less funding than the agency had approved for 
fiscal year 2004 and 2005, its deployment to automated flight service 
stations was postponed. 

As of February 2005, FAA had deployed 19 OASIS units: 16 at automated 
flight service stations and 3 at other sites. Software upgrades that 
are under way will be completed by June 2005. FAA plans neither 
installations nor software upgrades beyond those at the automated 
sites, because the agency awarded a contract to a private vendor in 
February 2005 to operate flight service stations. Until then, FAA has 
directed the program to remain within its current Capital Investment 
Plan funding levels for fiscal years 2004 through 2006.[Footnote 35] 
According to FAA, since it completed its evaluation of OASIS in 
February 2005, planning for the program's implementation and baseline 
remain unchanged. FAA plans to phase out OASIS between March 2006 and 
March 2007 in accordance with the new service provider's transition 
plan. 

Three of the Major ATC System Acquisitions We Reviewed in Detail 
Currently Operate within Their Original Cost, Schedule, and Performance 
Targets, Despite Challenges: 

Three of the 16 major ATC system acquisitions we reviewed in detail are 
currently operating within their original cost, schedule, and 
performance targets; however they have experienced challenges, 
including symptoms of one or more of the four factors cited earlier, 
such as requirements growth. These system acquisitions include (1) ECG, 
a communications system gateway that serves as the point of entry and 
exit for data used by FAA personnel to provide air traffic control at 
20 en route facilities; (2) ERAM, a replacement for the primary 
computer system used to control air traffic; and (3) ATOP, an 
integrated system for processing flight data for oceanic flights. 

While ECG has not exceeded its original cost, schedule, and performance 
targets, it encountered requirements growth when FAA added a new 
capability to address a security weakness. According to FAA officials, 
correcting this weakness cost about $25,000, and an additional $480,000 
will likely be needed to improve the monitoring capability for this 
system's operation. However, these cost increases will not exceed the 
system's cost or schedule targets. ERAM and ATOP also have areas that 
warrant attention. For example, ERAM is a high-risk effort because of 
its size and the amount of software that needs to be developed--over 1 
million lines of code are expected to be written for this effort. In 
addition, the DOT IG reports that, to date, ERAM has experienced 
software growth of about 70,000 lines of code. While the DOT IG 
considers this amount of software growth to be modest, given FAA's long-
standing difficulties with developing this volume of software for 
system acquisitions while remaining within cost, schedule, and/or 
performance targets, sustained management attention is warranted. For 
ATOP, when FAA tried to accelerate the initial deployment of this 
system by 14 months, it was unable to do so, because of poorly defined 
requirements, unrealistic schedule estimates, and inadequate evaluation 
by the contractor. In addition, according to contract provisions, FAA 
assumed responsibility in February 2005 for the cost of resolving any 
additional software problems it identifies. 

Overall, although these system acquisitions are currently operating 
within their cost, schedule, and performance targets, the challenges 
they have experienced thus far indicate that they will require the 
sustained attention of FAA's senior managers to help ensure that they 
stay on track.[Footnote 36]

FAA Has Experienced Cost Growth and Schedule Extensions for the 
Remaining 39 System Acquisitions under the ATC Modernization Program: 

For the 39 system acquisitions that make up the balance of FAA's ATC 
modernization program, only 9 are considered "major" or directly 
comparable to the 16 major ATC system acquisitions we reviewed in 
detail.[Footnote 37](See table 3.) Of these 9 major systems, 2 have 
required changes in their cost targets. For example, for an automated 
weather observation system, the Aviation Surface Weather Observation 
Network,[Footnote 38] the cost has increased by 15 percent because of 
system capacity issues, among other things. For another system that 
will be used on an interim basis for managing air traffic until the new 
primary computer system is available, the Host and Oceanic Computer 
System Replacement, the cost has decreased by 13 percent because the 
agency determined that parts of the existing system could be sustained 
through fiscal year 2008, which is within the scope of the 
program.[Footnote 39] The remaining 30 systems are not directly 
comparable, because they do not involve acquiring a new system. 
Instead, they are what FAA terms "buy-it-by-the pound" purchases--
systems that are commercially available and ready for FAA to use 
without modification, such as a landing system purchased to replace one 
that has reached the end of its useful life. (See app. II for 
additional information on these 39 systems.)

Table 3: Description and Status of Nine Additional Major ATC System 
Acquisitions with Cost, Schedule, and Performance Targets: 

Dollars in millions. 

HOST/Oceanic Computer System Replacement (HOCSR) - The HOCSR program 
replaces the main ATC computer processor and some peripherals, while 
ensuring the supportability of other peripherals until they are 
replaced by En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM); 
Development costs: Original: $424.10; 
Development costs: Current: $368.50; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: December 1998; 
Finish: June 2004; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: December 1998; 
Finish: April 2004. 

Command Center Conference Control System (CCS)-Replace OTS-This ongoing 
program involves replacing the existing telephone system at the FAA Air 
Traffic Control System Command Center (ARCSCC) in Herndon, Va. The 
existing telephone system is becoming unsupportable and can no longer 
perform ARCSCC command functions; 
Development costs: Original: $12.70; 
Development costs: Current: $12.70; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: Fiscal Year 2005; 
Finish: Fiscal Year 2005; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: Fiscal Year 2005; 
Finish: Fiscal Year 2005. 

Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Radio Replacement-The UHF radio replacement 
project replaces aging equipment used to communicate with DOD aircraft. 
FAA maintains the UHF air and/or ground communication service for air 
traffic control of military operations in the United States; 
Development costs: Original: $85.15; 
Development costs: Current: $85.15; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: Fiscal Year 2003; 
Finish: Fiscal Year 2010; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: Fiscal Year 2010; 
Finish: Fiscal Year 2010. 

Capstone Phase 1-Capstone is a congressionally directed demonstration 
program primarily intended to improve aviation system safety in Alaska 
through the introduction of new communications, navigation, and 
surveillance technologies. The Capstone program is a part of a larger 
program known as the Safe Flight 21 Program (SF-21), which is designed 
to establish pockets of broadcast service technology enhancements to 
support the demonstration of new technology-driven safety and 
efficiency benefits; 
Development costs: Original: $18.55; 
Development costs: Current: $18.55; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: Fiscal Year 2000; 
Finish: Fiscal Year 2003; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: N/A; 
Finish: N/A. 

ASR-9/Mode S Service Life Extension Program (SLEP)-The ASR-9 program 
provides aircraft detection and separation services at congested 
airports, which reduces aircraft delays and improves safety; 
Development costs: Original: $186.50; 
Development costs: Current: $186.50; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: TBD; 
Finish: TBD; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: TBD; 
Finish: TBD. 

Precision Runway Monitor (PRM)-The PRM system is an accurate, 
electronic scan radar that tracks and processes aircraft targets at a 1-
second update rate; 
Development costs: Original: $145.80; 
Development costs: Current: $145.80; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: October 1997; 
Finish: 2007; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: October 1997; 
Finish: January 2007. 

En Route System Modification-This program will replace obsolete en 
route components, such as processors; 
upgrade the controllers' displays and the infrastructure that supports 
those displays; 
and configure the consoles to accommodate additional processors; 
Development costs: Original: $201.90; 
Development costs: Current: $201.90; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: N/A; 
Finish: May 2009; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: N/A; 
Finish: N/A. 

Initial Academy Training System (IATS)-This high-fidelity training 
system for the FAA Academy will enable the training of an increasing 
number of new air traffic controllers as the existing workforce 
retires; 
Development costs: Original: $23.35; 
Development costs: Current: $23.35; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: September 2005; 
Finish: September 2005; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: September 2005; 
Finish: September 2005. 

Aviation Surface Weather Observation Network (ASWON)-The primary 
purpose of ASWON is to support FAA and National Weather Service (NWS) 
modernization by automating surface weather observation to meet the 
needs of pilots, operators, and air traffic personnel without incurring 
the high costs of labor-intensive manual surface weather observations; 
Development costs: Original: $350.90; 
Development costs: Current: $403.80; 
Deployment schedule: Original: Start: September 2002; 
Finish: September 2010; 
Deployment schedule: Current: Start: Unknown; 
Finish: Unknown. 

Source: GAO presentation of FAA data. 

[End of table]

To its credit, FAA has reported that it met its annual acquisition 
performance goal for fiscal year 2004--to meet 80 percent of designated 
milestones and maintain 80 percent of critical program costs within 10 
percent of the budget as published in its Capital Investment 
Plan.[Footnote 40] Specifically, it set annual performance cost goals 
and schedule milestones for 41 of the 55 system acquisitions under the 
ATC modernization program. For these 41 system acquisitions, FAA set 51 
schedule milestones and met 46 of them--with "meeting the goal" defined 
as achieving 80 percent of its designated program milestones. It also 
set and met its annual cost performance goals for each of these 41 
system acquisitions. In our opinion, having and meeting such 
performance goals is commendable, but it is important to note that 
these goals are updated program milestones and cost targets, not those 
set at the program's inception.[Footnote 41] Consequently, they do not 
provide a consistent benchmark for assessing progress over time. 
Moreover, as indicators of annual progress, they cannot be used in 
isolation to measure progress in meeting cost and schedule targets over 
the life of an acquisition. Finally, given the problems FAA has had in 
acquiring major ATC systems for over two decades, it is too soon to 
tell whether meeting these annual performance goals will ultimately 
improve the agency's ability to deliver system acquisitions as 
promised. 

FAA Has Taken Some Positive Steps to Address Key Legacy Challenges, but 
Additional Steps Are Warranted to Reduce Risk and Strengthen Oversight: 

FAA has taken a number of positive steps, primarily through the ATO, to 
address key legacy challenges in acquiring major systems under its ATC 
modernization program; however, we have identified additional steps 
that are warranted to reduce risk and strengthen oversight. Some of the 
steps FAA has taken directly address the four factors we identified as 
contributing to cost, schedule, and/or performance problems, while 
others support more general efforts to improve the modernization 
program's management. The steps taken and additional steps needed are 
discussed below by key areas. 

Steps Taken to Address the Four Factors We Identified As Contributing 
to Performance Shortfalls and Additional Steps Needed: 

To address the concern that some system acquisitions have had 
difficulty meeting performance targets because they have not received 
annual funding at the levels called for in key planning documents, the 
ATO has taken several steps. For example, the ATO has demonstrated a 
willingness to cut major programs that were not meeting their 
performance targets even after a significant investment of agency 
resources. The ATO is currently reviewing all of its capital projects 
to reassess priorities. Both of these actions should help improve the 
chances that sufficient funding will be available for priority system 
acquisitions to conduct the annual activities necessary to keep them on 
track to meet cost, schedule, and performance targets. 

Specifically, for fiscal year 2005, the appropriation for FAA's 
facilities and equipment budget, which funds the ATC modernization 
program, was $393 million less than the agency had planned to spend. 
FAA absorbed the $393 million reduction largely by cutting funding for 
three of the major system acquisitions we reviewed in detail: a digital 
e-mail-type capability between controllers and pilots was suspended 
(CPDLC);the next generation air-to-ground communication system had the 
funding cut for a major component (NEXCOM); and a precision-landing 
system augmented by satellites for use primarily by commercial airlines 
(LAAS) was returned to research and development to focus the remaining 
funding for the system on resolving a key performance shortfall. FAA 
also plans to defer funding for CPDLC and LAAS for fiscal year 2006. 

FAA decisions to cut or eliminate funding for system acquisitions in 
its current ATC modernization system may prove to be positive in the 
long run. For example, although FAA and National Air Traffic 
Controllers Association officials say that the cuts the agency made to 
3 of its 16 major ATC system acquisitions will delay system benefits 
until the acquisitions are fully developed and deployed, the cuts 
demonstrate FAA's willingness to suspend major ATC system acquisitions, 
despite large resource investments. In addition, by delaying a system 
acquisition, FAA may later be able to save time and money by leveraging 
the experiences that others have had with developing and deploying 
systems that provide similar capabilities (e.g., the controller-pilot e-
mail-type capability for which FAA cut funding is now in use in both 
Canada and Europe). Furthermore, as FAA continues to reassesses its 
funding priorities, it could explore cost-saving options including 
taking steps to systematically (1) evaluate the costs and benefits of 
continuing to fund system acquisitions across the ATC modernization 
program at current and planned levels to identify potential areas for 
savings and (2) identify potentially lower-cost alternatives to current 
system acquisitions, such as lower-cost controller workstations. 

FAA has also taken a number of steps to address two other factors--
reduce the risk of requirements growth and/or the need to undertake 
unplanned work--and to improve its ability to better assess and manage 
the risks associated with acquiring major ATC systems that require 
complex software development. However, additional steps are needed in 
these areas. 

* Processes for acquiring software and systems: FAA has made progress 
in improving its process for acquiring software-intensive systems--
including establishing a framework for improving its system management 
processes, and performing many of the desired practices for selected 
FAA projects.[Footnote 42] The quality of these systems and software, 
which are essential to FAA's ATC modernization program, depends on the 
value and maturity of the processes used to acquire, develop, manage, 
and maintain them. In response to our previous recommendations, FAA 
developed an FAA-integrated capability maturity model (iCMM). Since FAA 
implemented the model, a growing number of system acquisitions have 
adopted the model, and its use has paid off in enhanced productivity, 
higher quality, greater ability to predict schedules and resources, 
better morale, and improved communication and teamwork. However, ATO 
did not mandate the use of the process improvement model for all 
software-intensive acquisition projects. In response to our 
recommendation, the ATO informed us of its plans to establish, by June 
30, 2005, an overall policy defining the ATO's expectations for process 
improvement, and by September 30, 2005, a process improvement plan to 
address and coordinate improvement activities throughout the 
organization. 

* Management of information technology investments: In 2004, we 
reported that FAA has made considerable progress in managing its 
information technology investments.[Footnote 43]However, we also found 
that FAA's lack of regular review of investments that are more than 2 
years into their operations is a weakness in the agency's ability to 
oversee more than $1 billion of its information technology investments 
as a total package of competing investment options and pursue those 
that best meet the agency's goals. FAA recently informed us that it has 
taken a number of steps aimed at achieving a higher maturity level, 
including establishing service-level mission need statements and 
service-level reviews, which address operational systems to ensure that 
they are achieving the expected level of performance. While these steps 
could resolve some of the deficiencies that we previously reported, we 
have not yet performed our own evaluation of these steps. FAA could 
potentially realize considerable savings or performance improvements if 
these reviews result in the discontinuation of some investments, since 
operating systems beyond their second year of service accounted for 37 
percent of FAA's total investment in information technology in fiscal 
year 2004. 

* Enterprise architecture: FAA has established a project office to 
develop a NAS enterprise architecture--a blueprint for modernization--
and designated a chief architect, and has committed resources to this 
effort, and issued its latest version of its architecture.[Footnote 44] 
However, FAA has not yet taken key steps to improve its architecture 
development, such as designating a committee or group representing the 
enterprise to direct, oversee, or approve the architecture; 
establishing a policy for developing, maintaining, and implementing the 
architecture; or fully developing architecture products that meet 
contemporary guidance and describe both the "As Is" and "To Be" 
environments and developing a sequencing plan for transitioning between 
the two. 

To help address concerns that stakeholders have not been sufficiently 
involved throughout the development of major systems acquisitions, FAA 
has taken a number of steps. For example, when the ATO was created, it 
brought together the FAA entities that develop systems and those who 
will ultimately use them. Specifically, it reorganized FAA's air 
traffic services and research and acquisition organizations along 
functional lines of business to bring stakeholders together and 
integrate goals. The ATO is also continuing with a phased approach to 
system acquisitions that it began using under Free Flight Phase 
1,[Footnote 45] through which it has begun to involve stakeholders more 
actively throughout a system acquisition's development and deployment. 
However, as we reported in November 2004, FAA needs to take additional 
steps to ensure the continued and active involvement of stakeholders in 
certifying new ATC system acquisitions.[Footnote 46] In addition, the 
union that represents the specialists who install, maintain, 
troubleshoot, and certify NAS systems, recently testified that over the 
past 2 years, FAA has systematically eliminated the participation of 
these specialists in all but a few modernization programs.[Footnote 47] 
Given the importance of stakeholder involvement in the development and 
deployment of new ATC systems, their continued involvement in ATC 
modernization efforts will be important to help avoid the types of 
problems that led to cost growth and delays for STARS. 

Other Steps FAA Has Taken to Improve the Modernization Program's 
Management and Additional Steps That Are Needed: 

Reassessment of capital investment to decrease operating costs: Both 
the FAA Administrator and the ATO's chief operating officer have 
committed to basing future funding decisions for system acquisitions on 
their contribution to reducing the agency's operating costs while 
maintaining safety. This is consistent with our 2004 recommendation 
that FAA consider its total portfolio of investments as a package of 
competing options. Currently, only 1 of the 55 system acquisitions in 
FAA's ATC modernization program--FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure--
helps to reduce the agency's operating costs. Most of FAA's major 
system acquisitions are aimed at increasing the capacity of the NAS and 
delivering benefits to system users. The ATO is in the process of 
reviewing all of its capital investments, including system acquisitions 
under the ATC modernization program, to identify areas of cost savings 
and to focus limited funding on investments that will reduce operating 
costs. However, because FAA has only recently begun to incorporate this 
type of analysis of the costs and operational efficiency of system 
acquisitions into the decision-making and management processes, it is 
too early to assess the results. 

Acquisition Management System: The ATO has taken a number of steps to 
improve its Acquisition Management System (AMS). For example, it has 
revised AMS to require that acquisition planning documents be prepared 
in a format consistent with that prescribed by OMB for use in 
justifying all major capital investments. In addition, the ATO revised 
AMS in December 2004, in part to respond to recommendations we made 
about needed changes in its investment management practices for 
information technology.[Footnote 48] However, we have not yet 
independently assessed the sufficiency of these changes. Moreover, 
additional changes to AMS are warranted. For example, while AMS 
provides some discipline for acquiring major ATC systems, it does not 
use a knowledge-based approach to acquisitions, characteristic of best 
commercial and DOD practices. A knowledge-based approach includes using 
established criteria to attain specific knowledge at three critical 
junctures in the acquisition cycle, which we call knowledge points, and 
requiring oversight at the corporate executive level for each of these 
knowledge points. Experience has shown that not attaining the level of 
knowledge called for at each knowledge point increases the risk of cost 
growth and schedule delays.[Footnote 49] We recommended, among other 
things, that FAA take several actions to more closely align its 
acquisition management system with commercial best practices. FAA said 
that our recommendations would be helpful to them as they continue to 
refine this system. 

Cost accounting and cost estimating practices: FAA has improved its 
financial management by moving forward with the development of a cost 
accounting system, which it plans to fully deploy by 2006. Ultimately, 
FAA plans to use this cost information routinely in its decision-
making. When implemented, this cost accounting system will address a 
long-standing GAO concern that FAA has not had the needed cost 
accounting practices in place to effectively manage software-intensive 
investments, which characterize many of agency's major ATC system 
acquisitions. This type of information can be used to improve future 
estimates of cost for these acquisitions.[Footnote 50]

Organizational culture: FAA has also sought to establish an 
organizational culture that supports sound acquisitions. We have 
ongoing work to assess FAA's efforts concerning cultural change. 

ATO business practices: To improve its investment management decision-
making and oversight of major ATC acquisitions, the ATO has informed us 
that it has initiated the following steps, which we have reported are 
important to effective oversight:[Footnote 51]

* integrated AMS and OMB's Capital Planning and Investment Control 
Process to develop a process for analyzing, tracking, and evaluating 
the risks and results of all major capital investments made by FAA;

* conducted Executive Council[Footnote 52] reviews of project breaches 
of 5 percent in cost, schedule, and/or performance to better manage 
cost growth;

* issued monthly variance reports to upper management to keep them 
apprised of cost and schedule trends; and: 

* increased the use of cost monitoring or earned value 
management[Footnote 53] systems to improve oversight of programs. 

However, much work remains before the ATO will have key business 
practices in place. 

Specifically, according to the ATO's chief operating officer, it will 
be at least 2 years before the ATO has completed the basic management 
processes needed to use the new financial management systems it has 
been putting in place. 

Despite progress to date, until the agency addresses the residual 
issues cited above, it will continue to risk the project management 
problems affecting cost, schedule, and/or performance that have 
hampered its ability to acquire systems for improving air traffic 
control. 

A Constrained Budgetary Environment Could Further Challenge the ATO's 
Efforts to Modernize the ATC System: 

The ATO will be further challenged to modernize the ATC system in the 
current constrained budget environment and remain within the 
administration's future budget targets, which are lower than those of 
recent years. Specifically, for fiscal year 2005, FAA requested $393 
million less than it had planned to spend for activities under the 
facilities and equipment budget account, which funds the ATC 
modernization program and related modernization activities. In 
addition, the President's fiscal year 2006 budget submission calls for 
an additional cut to this budget account of $77 million from FAA's 
planned level, which would bring the fiscal year 2006 funding level to 
about $470 million below the fiscal year 2004 appropriation. Moreover, 
FAA officials told us that funding for the facilities and equipment 
account is likely to hold near fiscal year 2004 levels, or at about 
$2.5 billion annually, for the next 5 years. In total, FAA plans to 
spend $4.4 billion during fiscal years 2005 through 2009 on key 
modernization efforts, despite FAA receiving about $2 billion less than 
it had planned in appropriations over this 5-year period for its 
facilities and equipment budget, which funds the ATC modernization 
program and related modernization activities. 

To fund its major system acquisitions while remaining within the 
administration's budget targets, the ATO has eliminated planned funding 
to start new projects and substantially reduced planned funding for 
other areas. These funding decisions are reflected in FAA's updated 
Capital Investment Plan. This plan shows substantially reduced funding 
for two major system acquisitions in fiscal year 2005--CPDLC and LAAS-
-and defers funding for them in fiscal year 2006. For the remaining 14 
major ATC system acquisitions we reviewed in detail, FAA plans to 
increase funding by $533 million between fiscal year 2005 and fiscal 
year 2009. In contrast, for the remaining 39 system acquisitions, FAA 
has reduced funding by $420 million for this period. 

The planned increases in funding for these 14 major system acquisitions 
also come at the expense of other modernization activities outside the 
ATC modernization program, such as capital expenditures to replace 
aging ATC facilities that will house the system acquisitions. For 
example, FAA reports that it needs $2.5 billion (2005 dollars) annually 
to renew its aging physical infrastructure--assuming a $30 billion 
value of its assets and a 7-to 12-year useful life. According to the 
ATO, much of its physical infrastructure, including the buildings and 
towers that house costly ATC systems, is over 30 years old and needs to 
be refurbished or replaced.[Footnote 54] However, FAA plans to reduce 
funding for facilities by nearly $790 million between fiscal year 2005 
and fiscal year 2009--a plan that runs counter to its reported need to 
refurbish or replace its physical infrastructure. Furthermore, FAA also 
plans to cut $1.4 billion from its spending plans for fiscal years 2005 
through 2009 for, among other things, new system acquisitions in the 
ATC modernization pipeline that do not yet have agency-approved cost, 
schedule, and performance targets or baselines (e.g., a new technology 
that would allow pilots to "see" the location of other aircraft on 
cockpit display).[Footnote 55]

Our work has shown that FAA has taken some important steps to 
prioritize the 55 system acquisitions under its ATC modernization 
program. These revised priorities are reflected in its most recent 
plans, which detail the areas where FAA plans to make cuts within its 
facilities and equipment budget to live within its expected means 
during fiscal years 2005 through 2009. However, our work has also shown 
that these plans do not provide detailed information about the trade-
offs that are underlie decisions to fully fund some systems and to 
defer, reduce, or eliminate funding for others and how these cuts will 
affect FAA's modernization efforts, including what impact they will 
have on interdependent system acquisitions. To convey information to 
decision-makers on the impact of reduced funding on modernization, the 
ATO should detail its rationale and explicitly identify the trade-offs 
it is making to reach the administration's budget targets, highlighting 
those programs slated for increased funding and those slated for 
reduced funding. Key information includes delayed benefits, the impact 
of cutting one ATC system acquisition on related or interdependent 
systems, and increased costs for maintaining legacy systems until new 
systems are deployed. Overall, the ATO needs to explicitly identify the 
implications of deferring, reducing, or cutting funding for a 
particular system or activity on the agency's ability to modernize both 
the ATC system and related components of the NAS in the near, mid, and 
longer term. While funding deferrals, reductions, and cuts to ATC 
system acquisitions and related activities in FAA's facilities and 
equipment budget may be beneficial and necessary in the long run, it is 
important for senior agency, department, OMB, and congressional 
decision-makers to have complete information to make informed decisions 
about the trade-offs that are being made when they consider annual 
budget submissions. 

As part of our research, we sought the perspective of an international 
group of experts, who also suggested that the ATO should provide the 
administration and Congress with detailed information in its budget 
submissions about the impact of reduced budgets on both ATC and NAS 
modernization.[Footnote 56] These experts were a part of an 
international panel of aviation experts we convened to address, among 
other issues, how federal budget constraints have affected ATC 
modernization and what steps the ATO could take in the short term to 
address these constraints. 

For example, aviation experts emphasized the need for the ATO--which is 
now the organizational entity responsible for acquiring ATC systems--to 
prioritize its capital investments, as well as its investment in 
operating systems, with affordability in mind. These experts believe 
that the ATO needs to review all of its spending plans for 
modernization, determine which programs can realistically be funded, 
and select programs to cut. Moreover, they indicated that the ATO 
should have a mechanism to explain to Congress the implications that 
cutting one system has on other systems. For example, according to one 
of these experts, the current budget process tears apart a highly 
layered, interdependent system and does not reveal synergies between 
projects. Then, when the budget request goes to Congress, he said, "you 
have no opportunity to try to explain to anybody the interconnections 
of these programs." As a result, when the appropriators decide not to 
fund a project, they may not understand how their decision will affect 
other projects. 

Conclusions: 

The constrained budgetary environment makes it more important than ever 
for FAA to meet cost, schedule, and performance targets for each of the 
major ATC systems it continues to fund and to ensure that related 
activities, such as those to refurbish or replace the buildings that 
house ATC modernization systems, receive sufficient funding. The need 
for FAA to accommodate a 25 percent increase in demand for air travel 
over the next decade underscores the importance of these efforts. FAA 
has demonstrated a commitment to live within its expected means during 
fiscal years 2005 through 2009 by setting priorities among its ATC 
system acquisitions and identifying areas where it plans to cut 
funding. However, without detailed information about the trade-offs 
that underlie decisions to fully fund some systems and to defer, 
reduce, or eliminate funding for others, FAA's plans do not allow 
senior agency, department, OMB, and congressional decision-makers to 
assess the implications of approving annual budget submissions for the 
ATC modernization program and related modernization activities that 
support more comprehensive efforts to modernize the NAS. 

Recommendation for Executive Action: 

To help ensure that key administration and congressional decision-
makers have more complete information to assess the potential impact of 
annual budget submissions on individual ATC system acquisitions, the 
overall ATC modernization program, and related larger-scale NAS 
modernization activities funded through the facilities and equipment 
budget, we recommend that the Secretary of Transportation direct FAA to 
identify which activities under the ATC modernization program have had 
funding deferred, reduced, or eliminated and to provide detailed 
information about the impact of those decisions on FAA's ability to 
modernize the ATC system and related components of the NAS in the near, 
mid, and longer term. This information should be reported to Congress 
annually. 

Agency Comments: 

We provided a copy of our draft report to DOT for review and comment. 
The draft was reviewed by officials throughout DOT and FAA, including 
the Vice President for Acquisition and Business Service. These 
officials provided comments through email. They generally agreed with 
the report and provided technical comments on specific aspects of the 
report, which we incorporated as appropriate. The FAA officials said 
they are continuing to consider our recommendation and indicated they 
would provide a response to it as required by 31 U.S.C. §720. 

As agreed with your offices, unless you publicly announce the contents 
of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days 
from the report date. At that time, we will send copies of this report 
to interested congressional committees, the Secretary of 
Transportation, and the Administrator, FAA. We will also make copies 
available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be 
available at no charge on the GAO Web site at [Hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov]. 

Please call me at (202) 512-2834 if you or your staff have any 
questions about this report. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this report. Key contributors to this report are listed in 
appendix IV. 

Signed by: 

Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.: 
Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues: 

List of Congressional Requesters: 

The Honorable Tom Davis: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Henry A. Waxman: 
Ranking Minority Member: 
Committee on Government Reform: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Don Young: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable James L. Oberstar: 
Ranking Democratic Member: 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: 
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable John L. Mica: 
Chairman: 
The Honorable Jerry Costello: 
Ranking Democratic Member: 
Subcommittee on Aviation: 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: 
House of Representatives: 

[End of section]

Appendixes: 

[End of section]

Appendix I: Background and Status of FAA's 16 Major System Acquisitions 
We Reviewed in Detail: 

Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X): 

Figure 2: ASDE-X Screen Depicting an Airport Layout with Active 
Aircraft Targets: 

[See PDF for image]

Note: Contractor for this system is Sensis Corporation. 

[End of figure]

Purpose and Status: 

ASDE-X enables air traffic controllers to track the surface movement of 
aircraft and vehicles. It was developed to reduce runway incursions, 
reported as increasing from 186 in 1993 to 383 in 2001.[Footnote 57] 
ASDE-X improves the ability of controllers to maintain awareness of the 
operational environment and to anticipate contingencies. The detection 
system automatically predicts potential conflicts and seamlessly covers 
airport runways, taxiways, and other areas. 

Figure 3: Changes to ASDE-X Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[A] According to FAA officials, the change in cost target for ASDE-X 
was due to an increase in the scope of the project. 

[B] FAA plans to extend ASDE-X's current deployment target from 2007 to 
2009 because the project's budgets were cut in fiscal years 2004 and 
2005. 

[End of figure] 

In June 2002, FAA decided to upgrade seven additional airports 
increasing the project's total cost by $80.9 million. As of September 
2004, FAA had placed three systems in operation and installed six 
others. FAA officials said they propose to extend the deployment 
baseline from 2007 to 2009 because budgets were cut in fiscal years 
2004 and 2005; in addition, internal and external funding was 
reprogrammed for other high-priority activities. The ASDE-X program 
office is working on alternative cost estimates and plans to present 
them to the Joint Resources Council by June 2005. 

Airport Surveillance Radar Model-11 (ASR-11): 

Figure 4: ASR-11 Equipment: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Raytheon. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

ASR-11 replaces aging analog radars, such as ASR-7 and ASR-8, with a 
single, integrated digital radar system. ASR-11 reduces operational 
costs, improves safety, and accommodates future capacity increases. ASR-
11 also provides surveillance information to existing systems, such as 
the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) in terminal 
facilities and other systems in en route ATC facilities. As of March 
2005, five sites have been commissioned into the NAS and five 
additional sites are in full operational capability. 

Figure 5: Changes to ASR-11 Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

ASR-11 has experienced unplanned work, and the funding level received 
was less than the agency-approved funding level for the system 
acquisition; both factors contributed to schedule extensions and cost 
increases. FAA misjudged the extent to which the high-level 
requirements that were used to support the Department of Defense's 
procurement of the commercial-off-the-shelf/nondevelopmental item 
(COTS/NDI) could result in a product capable of meeting FAA's mission 
or user needs. As a result, unplanned software changes were required. 
The program requested $98.8 million for fiscal year 2004, based on the 
system's acquisition program baseline, but received $74.3 million. In 
May 2004, FAA reprogrammed $2.35 million from ASR-11's appropriated 
funds to the Essential Air Service.[Footnote 58] Due to funding 
reductions, FAA decreased the number of ASR-11 systems to be purchased 
from 112 to 111. The 2005 request of $107.6 million was not approved; 
the reduction to $87.5 million may result in additional cost growth or 
the elimination of planned replacement sites. The ASR-11 program is 
scheduled to go to the Joint Resources Council in fiscal year 2005 to 
extend the program's schedule to 2013 and to revise the baseline 
funding, primarily because of deferrals and budget reductions. As of 
March 2005, five sites have been commissioned into the NAS and five 
additional sites are fully operational. 

Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon Interrogator-Replacement (ATCBI-6): 

Figure 6: ATCBI-6 Screen Display Depicting All Transponder-Equipped 
Aircraft: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Raytheon. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

ATCBI-6 is part of the agency's continuing effort to upgrade equipment 
to provide greater system capability and reliability that will, in 
turn, reduce operating costs. The ATCBI-6 replacement program will 
replace existing en route air traffic control beacon interrogator 
(ATCBI-4/5) equipment. The new ATCBI-6 radars will be able to determine 
both range and direction to and from aircraft, in addition to 
forwarding this information to the appropriate Air Route Traffic 
Control Centers' automation systems. 

Figure 7: Changes to ATCBI-6 Cost and Schedule Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Funding reductions of $31.0 million for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 
contributed to the extension of ATCBI-6's schedule. According to FAA, 
if funding reductions continue, further delays could occur with the 
system's deployment, installation, and commissioning activities. As of 
September 2004, the contractor has been meeting the new contract 
delivery schedule. 

Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP): 

Figure 8: ATOP Equipment Reporting Aircraft Position Information: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Lockheed Martin. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

ATOP replaces aging oceanic ATC systems and procedures with an 
integrated system of new controller workstations, data-processing 
equipment, and software that will enhance the control and flow of 
oceanic air traffic to and from the United States. The system 
automatically updates information on an aircraft's location and 
supersedes the current manual process. FAA controls oceanic air traffic 
at three sites: Anchorage, Alaska; 
New York, New York; 
and Oakland, California. 

Figure 9: Changes to ATOP Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

The ATOP program is operating within its cost, schedule, and 
performance targets. ATOP achieved its initial operational capability 
milestone in June 2004. The contractor had originally agreed to a more 
aggressive development schedule in order to achieve this milestone by 
April 2003, or 14 months earlier. FAA determined, however, that the 
contractor could not meet this accelerated date because of poor 
requirements development, unrealistic schedule targets, and inadequate 
estimation of software complexity. This exacerbated the scheduled 
transition from the current oceanic system to ATOP. Consequently, FAA 
spent an additional $4 million a year to operate and maintain the old 
system until ATOP is fully operational. According to FAA, the ATOP 
program office did not overspecify the operational and performance 
requirements; it wrote the technical document at a level that allowed 
the contractor to select the appropriate solutions and did not restrict 
design innovations. Yet, FAA's internal documents revealed that the 
requirements were not adequately defined. For example, the ATOP 
Investment Analysis Study reported to the Joint Resources Council prior 
to the contract award that the lack of more detailed ATOP requirements 
at this stage of acquisition added risk and was of concern to the 
investment analysis team. 

According to FAA, the agency has taken steps to recognize the concerns 
identified by the ATOP Investment Analysis Study by maintaining 
requirements, encouraging controller participation, and robustly 
testing the system. FAA officials stated that the agency has developed 
a transition plan for the three sites. To accelerate the transition 
schedule and offset facility attrition, the ATOP program filled eight 
new controller positions at the New York site and six at the Oakland 
site. In addition, ATOP training schedules are in place, and classes 
for FAA's Air Traffic and Airway Facilities personnel are under way. 
Although the contractor's costs to develop ATOP have grown by 
approximately $20 million, FAA is not responsible for payment because 
it has a fixed-price contract arrangement with the contractor. Yet, 
according to the Department of Transportation's Inspector General, FAA 
would have to pay for all software problems after February 28, 2005. 
After February 2005, Lockheed Martin will continue to work on software 
changes under the time and materials portion of the ATOP contract. FAA 
plans to maintain the acquisition program baseline milestones by 
relying on current contractor staffing and resources. FAA expects to 
conduct full transition exercises in June 2005 at the New York and 
Oakland sites. 

Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC): 

Figure 10: CPDLC Text Message on an Aircraft Display: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is to be determined. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

CPDLC will allow pilots and controllers to transmit digital data 
messages directly between FAA automated ground computers and aircraft. 
By digitally transmitting routine air traffic control (ATC) messages 
between pilots and controllers, CPDLC will alleviate voice congestion, 
enhance ATC efficiency, and increase capacity by allowing controllers 
to handle more aircraft. FAA originally planned to implement CPDLC in 
several phases. Build 1, the initial development phase, was deployed in 
Miami for 2 years and consisted of four information services: initial 
contact, transfer of communications, altimeter setting, and predefined 
menu text. Build 1A would have added five additional services, 
including speed, altitude, and route clearance, but it was deferred by 
a Joint Resources Council decision in April 2003. Presently, FAA is 
conducting a preliminary investment analysis of National Build, which 
is intended to deploy the CPDLC system to all 20 Air Route Traffic 
Control Centers after they have implemented the En Route Automation 
Modernization (ERAM) program. 

Figure 11: Changes to CPDLC Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

CPDLC Build 1, implemented at Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center in 
October 2002, operated for 2 years. FAA's acquisitions office had 
awarded the CPDLC Build 1A development contract before fully 
understanding the system's requirements, including those of FAA's 
aircraft certification office. Additionally, detailed interoperability 
requirements of air and ground equipment were not complete before the 
contract was awarded. According to FAA, additional CPDLC hardware, 
software, and other requirements increased costs by $69.8 million over 
the original baseline of $166.7 million. The revised cost target 
presented to the Joint Resources Council in April 2003 was $236.5 
million, about a 42 percent increase from its original cost target, for 
only 8 of the 20 proposed Build 1A locations. FAA decided to suspend 
acquisition of Build 1A because of concerns about the high costs of 
communications service provider messages, the uncertainty of 
integrating CPDLC with ERAM, and the ability of airlines to install, 
and benefit from, the CPDLC avionics equipment. 

En Route Communications Gateway (ECG): 

Figure 12: ECG Maintenance Workstation Display: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Lockheed Martin. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

ECG replaces the interim Peripheral Adapter Module Replacement Item 
(PAMRI). Providing an interface from radar sites to en route centers, 
PAMRI has been operating for 10 years and has exceeded its life 
expectancy. The open and expandable platform of the ECG will allow for 
new connectivity and functionality as the NAS evolves. 

Figure 13: Changes to ECG Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

FAA is on schedule to complete ECG deployment in calendar year 2005. 
Tests revealed a weakness in security: limitations in designing the 
monitoring capability prevented appropriate monitoring unless a system 
technician remained logged on. To ensure that only authorized personnel 
had access to the system and that the monitoring could be done without 
a technician on-site, the ECG program office implemented a "guest" 
logon that enabled monitoring and prevented unauthorized access. 
According to FAA officials, correcting the weakness cost about $25,000, 
which falls within the program's budget and schedule. An additional 
challenge concerns monitoring the ECG system from the System Operations 
Control (SOC)[Footnote 59] positions. This issue may require SOC 
personnel to leave their posts if ECG requires some intervention to, 
among other things, discover why an event occurred. FAA is evaluating 
an improvement in the monitoring capability at the SOC positions. The 
estimated cost is $480,000, which falls within the program's budget and 
schedule. 

En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM): 

Purpose and Status: 

Modular and expandable, ERAM will replace software and hardware in the 
host computers at FAA's 20 en route air traffic control centers, which 
provide separation, routing, and advisory information. ERAM's flight 
data processing capabilities will provide flexible routing around 
restrictions, such as congestion and weather. It will improve 
surveillance by increasing the number and types of surveillance 
sources, such as radars. ERAM will provide safety alerts to prevent 
aircraft collisions and congestion. 

Figure 14: Changes to ERAM Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

ERAM has not breached schedule or cost parameters, but it remains a 
high-risk program because of its size and its amount of software code 
(more than 1 million lines). The contractor has reported that 
engineering costs are rising because of lower productivity than 
originally planned and an increase in the number of lines of software 
code. According to FAA officials, the contractor's management reserve 
can absorb additional software development costs. 

Free Flight Phase 2 (FFP2): 

Figure 15: Free Flight Phase 2 User Request Evaluation Tool: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractors for this system are Computer Sciences Corporation, 
ITT, Lockheed Martin, and Metron. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

FFP2 builds on Free Flight Phase 1, which established the concept of 
managing air traffic in a way that enhances the safety, capacity, and 
efficiency of the NAS. Under FFP2, FAA expects air traffic control to 
move gradually from a highly structured system, based on elaborate 
rules and procedures, to a more flexible system that allows pilots, 
within limits, to change their route, speed, and altitude while keeping 
air traffic controllers informed of such changes. FFP2 will allow 
controllers to manage pilot requests for flight information in en route 
airspace, identify and resolve possible mid-air conflicts up to 20 
minutes in advance, and develop arrival sequence plans. 

Figure 16: Changes to FFP2 Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

According to FAA officials, the schedule delay in FFP2's deployment 
from 2006 to 2007 because, among other things, the funding level 
received was less than the agency-approved funding level for the system 
acquisition. Since the transition from Free Flight Phase 1 to Phase 2, 
the program has received less than the expected level of funding. For 
example, in fiscal year 2003, FAA requested $107 million; 
however, due to external and internal budget cuts, the funding was 
reduced to $70 million. 

FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI): 

Figure 17: FTI Primary Network Operations Control Center: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Harris Corporation. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

FTI will replace costly networks of separately managed systems and 
services--both leased and owned--by integrating advanced 
telecommunications services within the NAS and non-NAS infrastructures. 
FTI will provide FAA with commercial telecommunications services that 
can meet present and future telecommunications needs between 
facilities. Its modern and reliable consolidated network will furnish 
multi-service capabilities. 

Figure 18: Changes to FTI Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

FTI's two-phase transition will take about 5 years to complete. Phase I 
was implemented at 21 Air Route Traffic Control Centers and 2 National 
Network Operations Control Centers. Deployment of Phase II, which is 
under way, will extend service to the remaining 4,477 NAS facilities. 

In June 2003, the FTI program returned to the Joint Resources Council 
with a proposed revision to the baseline that was based on actual 
contract prices for NAS operational services and estimated prices for 
mission support services. The council deferred revising the baseline 
until the program negotiated prices for mission support services. A 
consolidated Acquisition Program Baseline package for the full scope of 
NAS operational and mission support services was then completed in 
December 2004. The Joint Resources Council approved the revised 
baseline on December 8, 2004. 

Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS): 

Figure 19: ITWS Situation Display: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Raytheon. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

ITWS furnishes air traffic controllers and supervisors with full-color 
graphic displays of weather information concerning airport terminal 
airspace within a 60-mile radius. It provides a comprehensive current 
weather situation and precise forecasts of expected weather conditions 
for the next 60 minutes. ITWS requires no meteorological interpretation 
by air traffic controllers or pilots. 

Figure 20: Changes to ITWS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[A] FAA initially projected that its first ITWS deployment would occur 
between September 2001 and August 2002 and that final system deployment 
would occur between January 2003 and July 2003. 

[End of figure] 

ITWS experienced delays because its software development was complex 
and the funding level received was less than the agency-approved 
funding level for the system acquisition. The program appeared to be 
progressing according to its baseline; however, immediately after the 
critical design review in September 1998, the contractor revealed that 
the program had exceeded the target cost by $4 million. Consequently, 
ITWS experienced schedule delays and cost increases, along with 
performance shortfalls. 

In May 2004, FAA's Joint Resources Council revised the baseline for the 
ITWS program to include, in production, the capability to predict 
weather conditions 60 minutes into the future. Because of constrained 
funding, the ATO Executive Council froze funding for fiscal years 2005, 
2006, and 2007. In addition, FAA postponed deploying 12 of the 34 
systems until an undefined future date. In January 2005, FAA management 
decided that the ITWS program would use already-procured equipment to 
install the next six sites and transition to Airport Improvement 
Program grants for the remaining scheduled sites. The ITWS program 
office is currently studying the impact of the decision on the system's 
baseline. According to the contractor and the original acquisition 
plan, all systems were scheduled for delivery by December 2001, but 
that date has now been extended to after 2009. 

Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS): 

Figure 21: Key Components of LAAS: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Honeywell. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

LAAS will allow aircraft to execute precision instrument approaches and 
landings in all weather conditions. Its global positioning system will 
broadcast highly accurate information to aircraft in a flight's final 
phases, providing more precise approach paths than the current 
instrument landing system, reducing the required separation between 
incoming aircraft, and increasing airspace capacity. LAAS will also 
provide airports with precision approach capability for all runways, 
eliminating the need for multiple-instrument landing system 
installations. 

Figure 22: Changes to LAAS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

For LAAS, three of the four factors we discussed have contributed to 
the system's cost increases, schedule extensions, and performance 
problems. Specifically, poorly established requirements resulted in the 
addition of 113 new requirements to the initial specification, 
entailing unplanned work including significant software and hardware 
changes. In addition, FAA underestimated LAAS' software complexity 
because it inadequately assessed the system's technology maturity. In 
particular, the agency misunderstood the potential for radio 
interference through the atmosphere, which could limit LAAS' 
operations. FAA also did not fully engage technical experts early in 
the approval process of LAAS. According to the Department of 
Transportation Inspector General, although FAA has had a LAAS Integrity 
Panel in place since 1996 to assist with its research and development 
activities, the panel was not formally tasked with resolving the 
integrity requirement[Footnote 60] early in the approval process, which 
might have enabled FAA to develop a quicker solution.[Footnote 61] In 
2003, FAA focused the LAAS Integrity Panel on developing a solution to 
meet the integrity requirement. 

The contractor has experienced difficulties ensuring that the system 
will alert pilots when it produces erroneous information. FAA and the 
contractor agree that these difficulties have resulted from a lack of 
communication. When the contract was awarded, FAA assumed that LAAS was 
80-percent developed but later discovered that only about 20 percent 
was complete. FAA therefore suspended funding in fiscal year 2005 and 
used the remaining $18 million to resolve the integrity requirement 
problem, among other things, in fiscal year 2004. Although FAA had not 
requested funding, Congress did approve an additional $10 million for 
LAAS in fiscal year 2005. The FAA will continue to work on resolving 
LAAS integrity and safety assurance issues during fiscal year 2005. 
During fiscal year 2006, the program office will develop a business 
case justification on whether to continue the LAAS program. 

Next Generation Air-to-Ground Communication (NEXCOM): 

Figure 23: Multimode Digital Radio: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is ITT (segment 1A). 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

NEXCOM will improve air traffic control communications by replacing 
controller-pilot analog communication with a state-of-the-art digital 
system. Consisting of multimode digital radios, avionics, and ground 
stations, NEXCOM will enhance security by requiring digital 
authentication and preventing "phantom controllers" from gaining access 
to the communications system. NEXCOM Segment 1A will replace 30-to 40-
year-old radios, deploying 12,000 new radio sets that use analog and 
digital communications with aircraft. Segment 1B will create ground 
stations to communicate with aircraft equipped with digital capability. 

Figure 24: Changes to NEXCOM Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

NEXCOM experienced schedule slippages in developing Segment 1A--the 
multimode radio sets--because the vendor failed to meet interference 
requirements and to perform additional tests to avoid risks associated 
with future upgrades. FAA's initial plans did require meeting 
interference requirements. The initial schedule assumed FAA could 
procure a nondevelopmental item (NDI) product that met the interference 
requirements. The vendor's product did not meet the established 
interference requirements. A solution had to be developed and tested. 
The project schedule had to be adjusted to accommodate additional 
development and testing. As a result, the system's approval was delayed 
by about 20 months. In September 2003, NEXCOM Segment 1A was initially 
deployed at Jacksonville, Florida. Segment 1A cost and schedule 
baseline is scheduled for a Joint Resources Council review in August 
2005. 

NEXCOM's cost growth has resulted from additional software and hardware 
requirements. Because the funding level received was less than the 
agency-approved funding level for the system acquisition, FAA postponed 
funding Segment 1B--the ground stations--until at least fiscal year 
2008. FAA has no current estimate for the last deployment date. 

FAA plans to develop and deploy NEXCOM Segment 2 between 2008 and 2013. 
This segment will provide a digital data link to aircraft at high and 
super-high altitudes. Segment 3, scheduled between 2011 and 2013, will 
provide digital voice and data link capabilities throughout the ATC 
system. FAA has not developed funding estimates for these two segments. 

NAS Infrastructure Management System--Phase 2 (NIMS-2): 

Figure 25: NIMS Infrastructure: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Digicon. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

NIMS, a centralized maintenance management system, will operate and 
maintain the NAS infrastructure, including its facilities, systems, and 
equipment (e.g., communications, radars, and navigational aids). NIMS 
will decrease the number of en route delays by reducing the time 
required to restore systems to full operation following maintenance. 
NIMS--Phase 1 currently provides initial Operational Control Center 
capability,[Footnote 62] along with remote monitoring and control 
functionality, to 3,700 NAS facilities and 5,800 deployed maintenance 
data terminals. By fully implementing resource management and 
enterprise management software, NIMS--Phase 2 will focus on increasing 
workforce productivity in such priority activities as receiving orders 
and managing resources. Future NIMS phases will allow for information 
sharing that is in sync with NAS' technological improvements. 

Figure 26: Changes to NIMS-Phase 2 Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

According to FAA, the funding for NIMS-Phase 2 was $96.4 million below 
the approved amount in agency planning documents. Subsequently, FAA had 
to defer additional system requirements, extend the schedule by 5 
years, and increase the system's cost estimate by $84.0 million. FAA is 
revising the baseline for Phase 2, as shown in figure 26; 
a Joint Resources Council decision is planned for August 2005. 

Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS): 

Figure 27: OASIS Dual Screen Display: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractors for this system are Harris Corporation (OASIS 
workstations) and Evans Corporation (consoles), respectively. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

OASIS, a modified commercial-off-the-shelf system, replaces workstation 
consoles, among other things, at automated flight service stations. It 
also replaces the Flight Services Automation system for which spare 
parts and hardware support have been difficult for FAA to maintain. 
OASIS furnishes up-to-the-minute weather graphics by integrating real-
time weather and flight planning data with overlays of flight routes. 
It also provides operational support, retrieves reports, and supplies 
lightning data and icing images, among other things. 

Figure 28: Changes to OASIS Schedule and Cost Estimates: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

OASIS has experienced schedule extensions and cost increases because of 
unplanned work, insufficient stakeholder involvement, and funding that 
is less than the agency had approved as needed for meeting the system's 
schedule, cost, and performance targets. For example, the system 
acquisition schedule slipped because of a larger-than-planned 
development effort. FAA's 1998 review of the contractor system's 
architecture for OASIS revealed that the commercial-off-the-shelf 
solution was not as mature as FAA had envisioned when the contract was 
awarded and revealed that the contractor's commercial products did not 
fully satisfy its requirements. According to the Department of 
Transportation's Inspector General, FAA had identified a number of 
significant human factors concerns, such as inadequate weather 
graphics. This indicated that stakeholders were not sufficiently 
involved throughout the system's design and development. As a result, 
FAA eliminated the option of commercial-off-the-shelf procurement. In 
addition, the OASIS program was rebaselined in March 2000 due to fiscal 
year 2000 appropriations being reduced to $10 million from the $21.5 
million baseline. The reduction in funding resulted in a reduced rate 
of software development, delayed and reduced the rate of planned 
hardware and console deployments, and resulted in the incremental 
deployment of operational software. This contributed to FAA's delay of 
its first-site implementation from July 1998 to 2002. 

According to FAA officials, receiving less funding than the agency had 
approved for fiscal years 2004 and 2005 also resulted in a delay in 
OASIS' deployment to automated flight service stations. As of February 
2005, FAA had deployed 19 systems: 16 at Automated Flight Service 
Stations (AFSS) and 3 at other sites. Software upgrades that are under 
way will be completed by June 2005. FAA had no plans for installations 
or software upgrades beyond those at the AFSS sites, pending an 
evaluation of private-sector bids to operate flight service stations. 
Until then, FAA had directed the program to remain within the funding 
levels of its Capital Investment Plan for fiscal years 2004 to 
2006.[Footnote 63] According to FAA, since completion of the evaluation 
of bids in February 2005, OASIS' implementation remains unchanged. FAA 
does not plan on additional OASIS funding for software enhancements or 
more installations. FAA plans to phase out OASIS between March 2006 and 
March 2007 in accordance with the new service provider's transition 
plan. 

Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS): 

Figure 29: STARS Controller Workstation: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Raytheon. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

STARS--a joint program of FAA, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the 
Department of Transportation (DOT)--replaces aging FAA and DOD terminal 
systems with state-of-the-art terminal air traffic control systems. The 
system is designed to prevent duplication of development and logistic 
costs. Civil and military air traffic controllers use STARS to direct 
aircraft near major U.S. airports. Its open and expandable terminal 
automation platform can accommodate air traffic growth, as well as new 
hardware and software that promote safety, maximize operational 
efficiency, and improve controllers' productivity. 

Figure 30: Changes to STARS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[A] This estimate includes development costs only and does not include 
technology refresh and terminal automation enhancement. 

[B] Based on the May 2004 FAA approved Acquisition Program Baseline for 
development and procurement estimates. 

[C] The February 1996 baseline included limited human factor 
evaluations and a basic commercial-off-the-shelf configuration. 

[End of figure] 

FAA revised its baseline for the STARS program in May 2004, changing 
the acquisition to a phased approach that divides large programs into 
smaller phases to allow the agency to evaluate other alternatives of 
system implementation. For Phase 1, STARS was approved for deployment 
to 51 Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities. Following 
the system's release and FAA's concurrence with the November 23, 2004, 
report from the DOT Inspector General, FAA reduced STARS' deployment to 
47 TRACON facilities. STARS is fully operational at 29 FAA terminal 
radar control facilities and 21 DOD radar control facilities. If 
approved in 2005, DOD plans to deploy STARS to 106 Radar Approach and 
Control (RAPCON) facilities and 75 towers nationally and worldwide. 
With completion of DOD's transition in 2004 to FAA's new STARS' 
configuration, both DOD and FAA are operating together on a single 
national software and hardware configuration baseline. 

During STARS' development, schedule slippages and cost increases 
occurred because the original commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) 
acquisition strategy focused on early adoption of commercial technology 
by FAA and DOD could avoid the increasing cost of supporting legacy 
systems by quickly deploying STARS to the highest-priority air traffic 
control facilities, and then making further improvements. FAA had 
compressed STARS' original development and testing schedule from 32 to 
25 months, leaving only limited time for human factors evaluations. 
Allowing insufficient time to involve stakeholders, FAA and the 
contractor had to restructure the contract to address technicians' and 
controllers' concerns, including an inconsistency in visual warning 
alarms and color codes between the old and the new systems. However, 
the STARS initial system configuration was satisfactory for use by DOD 
as deployed. The FAA modified the COTS strategy and suspended STARS 
deployments until FAA controller and technician requirements were 
developed. FAA estimates the COTS acquisition strategy, which limited 
involvement of controllers and maintenance technicians in the system's 
development added 3 years and $500 million to the development of more 
than 160 system requirements. The first phase of the three-phase 
deployment plan comprises 47 systems. FAA and the DOT are currently 
determining a safe, economical, and affordable site mix for follow-up 
phases. 

Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS): 

Figure 31: Key Components of WAAS: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Contractor for this system is Raytheon. 

[End of figure] 

Purpose and Status: 

WAAS uses global positioning system satellites to provide precise 
navigation and landing guidance to aircraft at all airports, including 
thousands that have no ground-based instrument landing capability. WAAS 
also provides safer and more efficient arrival, en route, and departure 
operations by allowing user equipment to augment the global positioning 
system while increasing its position accuracy and reliability, among 
other things. 

Figure 32: Change to WAAS Schedule and Cost Targets: 

[See PDF for image] 

[A] September 1999 and May 2004 estimates for WAAS development exclude 
$1.3 billion in satellite communications leases. 

[End of figure] 

When WAAS has full operating capability, it will provide en route 
navigation guidance from the surface up to 100,000 feet and instrument 
landing guidance down to 200 feet. It currently provides full en route 
navigation up to 100,000 feet and instrument landing guidance down to 
250 feet at all qualified airports in the continental United States. 
FAA has begun to publish WAAS instrument flight procedures for some 
runways; however, pilots cannot use WAAS for landing guidance on those 
runways for which FAA has not written guidance. To achieve full 
operating capability, a second civil aviation frequency must be added 
to new global positioning system satellites to allow aircraft to 
conduct precision runway approach operations during ionospheric 
interruptions, such as "solar storms." The Department of Defense, which 
is responsible for providing this frequency, plans to add it between 
2013 and 2019. 

FAA encountered cost, schedule, and performance problems because its 
scheduling was accelerated, coordination among its offices proved 
insufficient, and technical challenges delayed its meeting the 
integrity requirement--a requirement that pilots be alerted in a timely 
manner when the system should not be used. At the urging of government 
and aviation industry groups in the early 1990s, FAA accelerated WAAS' 
schedule by attempting to develop, test, and deploy the system within 
28 months, even though software development alone was expected to take 
24 to 28 months. Rather than shortening the total development time, 
these steps contributed to schedule delays. FAA also set development 
milestones before completing the research and development required to 
prove WAAS' capability. Since officials on WAAS' integrated product 
development team within the aircraft certification office did not 
participate regularly during design and development, FAA did not 
recognize its difficulty in meeting the integrity requirement or its 
lack of scientific and technical expertise. FAA eventually acquired the 
expertise, and a team of satellite navigation experts solved the 
problem. These actions resulted in unplanned work and contributed to 
the rise in WAAS's cost from the original estimate of $509 million in 
1994 to $2.036 billion in 2005, and to a 6-year extension in its 
commissioning date. According to FAA, adding 6 years to the program's 
life cycle also contributed to increased costs.[Footnote 64]

[End of section]

Appendix II Information on the 39 Additional Systems under the ATC 
Modernization Program: 

Table 4: Cost and Schedule Information for Nine Additional Major 
Systems under the ATC Modernization Program: 

Dollars in millions. 

Program/system description: HOST/Oceanic Computer System Replacement 
(HOCSR): Replaces the main ATC computer processor and some peripherals 
and ensures supportability of other peripherals until replaced by ERAM; 
Original cost target: $424.10; 
Current cost target: $368.50; 
1st year funded: FY 97; 
Last year funding planned: FY 05; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: December 1998; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: December 1998; 
Original schedule last deployment target: June 2004; 
Current schedule last deployment target: April 2004. 

Program/system description: En Route System Modification: Will replace 
obsolete components, upgrade controllers' displays and supporting 
infrastructure, and configure consoles to accommodate additional 
processors; 
Original cost target: $201.90; 
Current cost target: $201.90; 
1st year funded: FY 00; 
Last year funding planned: FY 09; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: N/A; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: N/A; 
Original schedule last deployment target: May 2009; 
Current schedule last deployment target: N/A. 

Program/system description: Initial Academy Training System (IATS): 
Enables the training of an increasing number of new air traffic 
controllers at the FAA Academy; 
Original cost target: $23.35; 
Current cost target: $23.35; 
1st year funded: FY 03; 
Last year funding planned: FY 08; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: September 2005; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: September 2005; 
Original schedule last deployment target: September 2005; 
Current schedule last deployment target: September 2005. 

Program/system description: Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Radio 
Replacement: Replaces aging equipment used to communicate with 
Department of Defense aircraft in support of military operations; 
Original cost target: $85.15; 
Current cost target: $85.15; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: FY 03; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: FY 10; 
Original schedule last deployment target: FY 10; 
Current schedule last deployment target: FY 10. 

Program/system description: Command Center Conference Control System 
(CCS)-Replace Operational Telephone Voice Switch (OTS): Replaces the 
existing telephone system at the FAA Air Route Control System Command 
Center in Herndon, Va. The existing telephone system is becoming 
unsupportable and can no longer perform required functions; 
Original cost target: $12.70; 
Current cost target: $12.70; 
1st year funded: FY 02; 
Last year funding planned: FY 05; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: FY 05; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: FY 05; 
Original schedule last deployment target: FY 05; 
Current schedule last deployment target: FY 05. 

Program/system description: Capstone Phase I (a part of the Safe Flight 
21 program): A demonstration program, intended to improve aviation 
system safety in Alaska through the introduction of new communications, 
navigation, and surveillance technologies, as well as improving 
aviation system capacity and efficiency; 
Original cost target: $18.55; 
Current cost target: $18.55; 
1st year funded: N/A; 
Last year funding planned: N/A; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: FY 00; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: N/A; 
Original schedule last deployment target: FY 03; 
Current schedule last deployment target: N/A. 

Program/system description: Automated Surveillance Radar-Model 9 (ASR-
9)/Mode Service Life Extension (SLEP): Extends the service life of the 
radar by replacing obsolete components to sustain existing system 
capabilities, such as providing aircraft detection and separation 
services to reduce aircraft delays and improve safety at congested 
airports; 
Original cost target: $186.50; 
Current cost target: $186.50; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: TBD; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: TBD; 
Original schedule last deployment target: TBD; 
Current schedule last deployment target: TBD. 

Program/system description: Aviation Surface Weather Observation 
Network (ASWON): A suite of five weather systems that provides 
automated surface weather observation to meet the needs of pilots, 
operators, and air traffic controllers; 
Original cost target: $350.90; 
Current cost target: $403.80; 
1st year funded: FY 98; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: September 2002; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: N/A; 
Original schedule last deployment target: September 2010; 
Current schedule last deployment target: N/A. 

Program/system description: Precision Runway Monitor (PRM): An 
electronic scan radar that tracks and processes aircraft targets at a 1-
second update rate and allows simultaneous approaches on runways spaced 
less than 4,300 feet apart, thereby increasing capacity and reducing 
delays during adverse weather conditions; 
Original cost target: $145.80; 
Current cost target: $145.80; 
1st year funded: FY 88; 
Last year funding planned: FY 07; 
Original schedule initial deployment target: October 1997; 
Current schedule initial deployment target: October 1997; 
Original schedule last deployment target: January 2007; 
Current schedule last deployment target: January 2007. 

Source: GAO presentation of FAA data. 

[End of table]

Table 5: Cost and Schedule Information for the 30 Buy-It-by-the-Pound 
Systems under the ATC Modernization Program: 

Dollars in millions. 

Program/system description: En Route Enhancements: Maintains current 
software systems and supports development, integration, and 
implementation of upgrades to, among other things, the Host software; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $5.30; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $36.50; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Terminal Sustainment: Will maintain the 
existing FAA terminal automation systems, such as Common Automated 
Radar Terminal System (CARTS) ARTS IIEs and IIIEs, until the Terminal 
Automation Modernization and Replacement program replaces or upgrades 
the systems.[A]; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $6.30; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $73.60; 
1st year funded: FY 00; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Current Enhanced Traffic Management System 
(ETMS) OPS: Maintains and supports mission-critical traffic flow 
management (TFM) operations in 85 ATC facilities and makes necessary 
upgrades to support enhanced traffic management services; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $13.40; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $116.50; 
1st year funded: FY 98; 
Last year funding planned: FY 05; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Traffic Flow Management Infrastructure (TFM-
I); 
Modernization: Modernizes the TFM decision support systems and tools 
that help balance growing flight demands with NAS capacity within an 
environment; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $8.50; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $30.40; 
1st year funded: FY 02; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: February; 
2008; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Departure Spacing Program (DSP): Assists 
controllers in the more efficient management of departures from 
multiple airports within the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan 
areas; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $7.50; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $48.50; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: FY 06; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: Prior to 
FY 03; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: Prior to 
FY 03. 

Program/system description: NAS Resources/Notice to Airmen (NOTAM): 
Provides an automated, centralized, standardized, and timely 
distribution system for NOTAMS using a dedicated telecommunications 
network; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $1.70; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $10.90; 
1st year funded: FY 04; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Voice Switching and Control System 
(VSCS)[B]: Upgrade and tech refresh to ensure that the air-to-ground 
and ground-to-ground communications capabilities are reliable and 
available for separating aircraft, coordinating flight plans, and 
transferring information between en route ATC facilities; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $13.60; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $60.00; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: October 
2006; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Weather Message Switching Center 
Replacement (WMSCR) Transition:; 
Will upgrade obsolete processors, output devices, display screens, 
backup systems and software. This will allow pilots quick and accurate 
access to weather data and NOTAMS; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $2.50; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $8.50; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: FY 05; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch (ETVS): 
Replaces obsolete voice switches in the ATC Towers and Terminal Radar 
Approach Control facilities. Voice switches enable air traffic 
controllers to communicate with aircraft as well as other ATC 
facilities; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $2.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $95.40; 
1st year funded: FY 95; 
Last year funding planned: FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: May 1998; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Communications Facilities Expansion (CFE): 
Provides a vehicle for facilities to improve communications coverage to 
meet specific operational requirements based upon, among other things, 
air traffic demand; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $6.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $53.00; 
1st year funded: FY 91; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Air/Ground Communications Radio Frequency 
Interference (RFI) Elimination: Provides equipment to improve air 
and/or ground communications and provides support for remote 
communication facilities. The equipment will reduce the need for inter-
modulation products, thus eliminating the major source of radio 
frequency interference at congested sites; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $1.20; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $26.40; 
1st year funded: FY 89; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: 1st 
delivery on current contract June 1996; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: Ongoing. 

Program/system description: Critical Telecommunications Support (CTS): 
Enables FAA to nationally manage programmed, unprogrammed, and 
emergency telecommunications network requirements for the NAS; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $9.90; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $63.00; 
1st year funded: FY 89; 
Last year funding planned: FY 05; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Recovery Communications (RCOM )-Command and 
Control Communications (C3): Provides FAA with the minimum command-and-
control communications capability necessary to direct the management, 
operation, and reconstruction of the NAS during regional or local 
emergencies when normal common carrier communications are interrupted. 
C3 also provides minimum capabilities for continuity of operations for 
FAA; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $6.30; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $51.10; 
1st year funded: FY 92; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: June 2003; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Aeronautical Data Link (ADL)-Flight 
Information Service (FIS): Provides data link broadcasts of graphic and 
text flight information service data to the cockpit that are consistent 
with information available to air traffic controllers and flight 
service specialists in the NAS; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $3.30; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $8.50; 
1st year funded: FY 99; 
Last year funding planned: FY 08; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: June 2000; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Tower Data Link Services (TDLS): Displays 
the clearances received from Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) 
to the tower, distributes flight plan data, weather information, and 
general information messages from the ARTCC National Airspace Center 
computer to ARTCC printers and Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCT) remote 
sites. In addition, the system displays weather information received 
via ATCT weather interface; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $2.30; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $10.80; 
1st year funded: FY 00; 
Last year funding planned: FY 05; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: Tech 
refresh; 
start May 2002; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Voice Recorder Replacement Program (VRRP): 
Replaces a total of 530 aging analog systems with modern digital 
systems that will reduce both life-cycle maintenance costs and 
maintenance staffing requirements; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $3.60; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $24.80; 
1st year funded: FY 97; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: January 
1996; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Houston Area Air Traffic System (HAATS): 
Provides the focal point and support for infrastructure, national 
airspace improvements, and implementation of the new procedures and 
airspace design for the Houston area; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $12.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $52.10; 
1st year funded: FY 01; 
Last year funding planned: FY 08; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Instrument Landing Systems (ILS):[C] 
Provides precision guidance (horizontal, vertical, and distance) 
information to allow category I, II, and III landing approaches at 
large and medium airports; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $5.70; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $455.30; 
1st year funded: FY 89; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: April 
1995, February 2007; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Visual Navaids for New Qualifiers: Procures 
and installs visual navigational aids approach lighting systems to 
enhance landing capabilities at designated airports throughout the 
United States; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $9.80; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $40.90; 
1st year funded: FY 93; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: June 2006; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Approach Lighting System Improvement 
(ALSIP) Continuation: Retrofits rigid lighting systems with lightweight 
and low-impact resistant structures that collapse or break apart at 
impact, thereby reducing damage to aircraft that may strike these 
structures during departure or landing; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $5.80; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $183.20; 
1st year funded: FY 93; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: September 
1996; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Visual Navaids-Sustain, Replace, Relocate: 
Replaces aging, obsolete visual navigational aids and other ground-
based navigation and landing aids to maintain current en route, 
approach, and landing capabilities at various airports throughout the 
United States; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $3.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $6.00; 
1st year funded: FY 02; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Very High Frequency Omni-directional Range 
(VOR) Collocated with Tactical Air Navigation (VORTAC): Replaces, 
relocates, or converts VORTAC facilities used for aerial navigation. 
General aviation, commercial carriers, and other groups use this 
navigation capability for en route navigation and approach operations 
into airports; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $1.60; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $27.00; 
1st year funded: FY 93; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: NA; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Runway Visual Range (RVR)-
Replacement/Establishment: Replaces aging, maintenance-intensive, and 
difficult-to-support RVR legacy systems. Pilots receive critical 
meteorological visibility data that are used to decide whether it is 
safe to take off or land when visibility is limited; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $2.80; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $42.50; 
1st year funded: FY 98; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Sustain Distance Measuring Equipment (DME): 
Replaces older DME, which is difficult and expensive to maintain 
because replacement parts are largely unavailable, and provides current 
technology electronics to improve operations and facilities 
performance; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $1.20; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $13.90; 
1st year funded: FY 99; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: August 
2003; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Long Range Radars (LRR) Improvements-
Infrastructure Upgrades: Sustains and improves LRRs, many of which are 
over 50 years old, and require upgrades to prevent outages and reduce 
maintenance costs; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $1.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $20.20; 
1st year funded: FY 00; 
Last year funding planned: FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Runway Incursion Reduction Program (RIRP)-
ATDP: Provides research, development, and operational evaluation of 
technologies to improve runway safety; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $1.40; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $35.40; 
1st year funded: FY 99; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast 
(ADS-B): Broadcasts derived aircraft position data from an onboard 
navigation system such as global navigation satellite system thereby 
allowing pilots and air traffic controllers to "see" location of nearby 
aircraft and engage in collaborative decisionmaking; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $3.50; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $14.30; 
1st year funded: FY 99; 
Last year funding planned: FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) Open 
Systems Upgrades: Detects, processes, distributes, and displays 
hazardous and routine weather information on air traffic controller 
consoles; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $2.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $32.90; 
1st year funded: FY 98; 
Last year funding planned: FY 06; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: February 
2000; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR)-
Service Life Extension Program (SLEP): Maintains the current level of 
service until 2020 and improves deteriorating system reliability. The 
service provides air traffic controllers with reports of hazardous 
windshear and other severe weather in and near an airport's terminal 
approach and departure zone at higher-density airports with high 
occurrences of thunderstorms; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $3.30; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $3.30; 
1st year funded: FY 03; 
Last year funding planned: FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: September 
2004; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Program/system description: Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS): 
Will improve airspace capacity during adverse weather in congested 
airspace. The key approach is to provide accurate and timely prediction 
of hazardous weather activity; 
Appropriated funding for 1st year: $5.00; 
Appropriated funding through FY 04: $9.10; 
1st year funded: FY 02; 
Last year funding planned: Beyond FY 09; 
1st initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A; 
Last initial operating capability/operational readiness date: N/A. 

Source: GAO presentation of FAA data. 

[A] Terminal Automation Modernization and Replacement program is 
intended to replace aging automation and display systems at the 
Nation's terminal air traffic control facilities. 

[B] The VSCS tech refresh does not have a baseline; 
an investment analysis is pending. 

[C] The April 1995 operational readiness data (ORD) is under the 
original contract, while the new contract will be in effect in fiscal 
year 2006. Additional systems added in appropriations may affect the 
last ORD. 

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendix III: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

We examined (1) FAA's experience in meeting cost, schedule, and/or 
performance targets for major system acquisitions under its ATC 
modernization program, (2) the steps FAA has taken to address long-
standing challenges with the ATC modernization program and additional 
steps that are needed, and (3) the potential effects of the constrained 
budget environment on FAA's ability to modernize the ATC system. 

To address the first objective, we selected 16 of the 55 system 
acquisitions in the ATC modernization program to review in 
detail.[Footnote 65] We selected these 16 systems in July 2004, when 
this review was still a part of our broader work on FAA's efforts to 
modernize the National Airspace System (NAS).[Footnote 66]Specifically, 
we selected the 16 ATC system acquisitions with the largest life-cycle 
costs that met the following criteria: each system had cost, schedule, 
and/or performance targets, was discussed in our prior and Department 
of Transportation Inspector General reports, had not been fully 
implemented or deployed by 2004, and received funding in 2004. We 
reviewed this list with FAA officials to ensure that we did not exclude 
any significant system.[Footnote 67] (See app. I for additional 
information on these 16 systems.) FAA does not have a formal definition 
of major systems under its Acquisition Management System; however, 
agency officials told us that if a system acquisition has a formally 
approved baseline, we could consider it "major." Using this definition, 
we determined that 25 of the 55 system acquisitions under the ATC 
modernization program are major. The remaining 30 system acquisitions 
are generally what FAA refers to as buy-it-by-the-pound systems that 
are commercially available and ready to use without modification, such 
as those to replace a system that has reached the end of its useful 
life. 

For fiscal year 2005, the 55 systems accounted for about 55 percent of 
FAA's facilities and equipment (F&E) budget, or $1.38 billion of the 
$2.52 billion appropriated for the F&E budget. The 16 major systems 
accounted for 36 percent ($917.3 million), and the other 39 system 
acquisitions accounted for about 19 percent ($460 million). The 
remaining 45 percent of the F&E budget will be spent on facilities, 
mission support, and personnel-related activities ($1.14 billion). 

To assess the 16 major system acquisitions, we relied largely on data 
collected from FAA and contracting officials for two engagements we 
issued in November 2004 on FAA's acquisition and certification 
processes.[Footnote 68] In turn, we updated this information and 
collected data on the remaining 39 systems under the modernization 
program, primarily through interviews with FAA officials and analyses 
of the data they provided, including key acquisition documents.(See 
app. II for additional information on these 39 system acquisitions.) In 
addition, we reviewed our past reports and those of the Department of 
Transportation's Inspector General. Furthermore, we interviewed FAA 
officials within the recently created ATO and collected and analyzed 
the documents they provided. We also interviewed officials with the 
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Transport Association, 
Department of Defense, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, 
and RTCA.[Footnote 69] Furthermore, we convened a panel of 
international aviation experts[Footnote 70] to obtain their views on, 
among other things, the factors that have affected the cost, schedule, 
and/or performance of FAA's ATC modernization program. 

In addition, we assessed the reliability of FAA's cost and schedule 
estimates. Through interviews with FAA officials about their data 
system and quality controls, we determined that the cost and schedule 
estimates were appropriate for use in our report. Specifically, the 
estimates are sufficiently authoritative, appropriate, and reliable to 
allow us to use them without conducting any further assessment. The 
estimates appear to be based on reasonable assumptions. Our review did 
not focus on FAA's efforts to modernize its facilities. 

To address the second objective, we interviewed FAA officials, 
primarily within the recently created ATO, and collected and analyzed 
the documents they provided. We also interviewed officials with the 
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Transport Association, 
Department of Defense, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, 
and RTCA. 

We also reviewed past GAO reports and those of the Department of 
Transportation's Inspector General. In addition, we obtained the views 
of the international aviation experts who participated in our panel on 
what steps the ATO could take in the short term to address the factors 
that have affected the cost, schedule, and/or performance of FAA's ATC 
modernization program. 

To address the third objective, we interviewed officials within FAA's 
ATO and obtained and analyzed data on FAA's capital investments and 
annual budgets. We also interviewed officials with other organizations 
cited above. In addition, we obtained the views of the international 
aviation panelists on how federal budget constraints have affected ATC 
modernization and what steps the ATO could take in the short term to 
address these constraints. We conducted our review from November 2004 
through May 2005 in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards. 

[End of section]

Appendix IV: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D. (202) 512-2834: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the person named above, Beverly L. Norwood, Tamera 
Dorland, Seth Dykes, Elizabeth Eisenstadt, Brandon Haller, Bert 
Japikse, Maren McAvoy, and Ed Menoche made key contributions to this 
report. 

(540096): 

FOOTNOTES

[1] For purposes of this report, "NAS modernization" refers to ATC 
facilities, equipment, and related expenses. 

[2] The estimates are presented in then-year dollars, which means that 
they represent the nominal dollar sum of the estimated spending in 
different years. To estimate future-year spending, FAA incorporates 
assumptions on inflation developed by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB). 

[3] This report, as well as our work for more than two decades on FAA's 
ATC modernization program, has assessed progress for major ATC system 
acquisitions based on the cost, schedule, and performance goals set at 
the inception of each program. 

[4] Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, Pub. L. 104-50, § 
348 (1995). 

[5] Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st 
Century, Pub. L. 106-181, § 303 (2000); 
E.O.13180. Under the executive order, part of the ATO's purpose is to 
"develop methods to accelerate air traffic control modernization and to 
improve aviation safety related to air traffic control." 

[6] According to FAA officials, the number of system acquisitions in 
the ATC modernization program can vary annually, when Congress earmarks 
funds for a specific system acquisition. As of March 2005, the number 
of system acquisitions under the program was 55. 

[7] At the time of our audit, FAA planned to deploy 64 Operational and 
Supportability Implementation Systems (OASIS) to automated flight 
service stations by 2005. However, after deploying 19 such systems in 
2004, FAA discontinued the system's deployment, pending a decision 
about whether to contract out the operation of automated flight service 
stations. In February 2005, FAA awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin 
to operate these stations. 

[8] Our methodology for selecting the 16 system acquisitions to review 
in detail was based on the fiscal year 2004 appropriation for FAA's 
facilities and equipment budget, which was available when the 
engagement was designed. However, to make the report as current as 
possible, we have used fiscal year 2005 funding levels where 
appropriate, including the status sheets for each of the 16 systems in 
appendix I. See app. III for additional information on our methodology. 

[9] Our review of FAA's NAS modernization efforts will be issued later 
this year. 

[10] FAA does not have a formal definition of "major" systems under its 
Acquisition Management System; 
however, agency officials told us that if a system acquisition has a 
formally approved baseline, we could consider it "major." Using this 
definition, 25 of the 55 system acquisitions under the ATC 
modernization program are major. 

[11] The remaining 45 percent of the facilities and equipment budget 
for fiscal year 2005 will be spent on facilities, mission support, and 
personnel-related activities. 

[12] Organized in 1935 and once called the Radio Technical Commission 
for Aeronautics, RTCA is today known just by its acronym. RTCA is a 
private, not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based 
performance standards for ATC systems. RTCA serves as a federal 
advisory committee, and its recommendations are the basis for a number 
of FAA's policy, program, and regulatory decisions. 

[13] GAO, Experts' Views on Improving the U.S. Air Traffic Control 
Modernization Program, GAO-05-333SP (Washington, D.C.: April 2005). 

[14] GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-05-207 (Washington, D.C.: 
January 2005); 
GAO, Air Traffic Control: FAA Needs to Ensure Better Coordination When 
Approving Air Traffic Control Systems, GAO-05-11 (Washington, D.C.: 
Nov. 17, 2004); 
GAO, Air Traffic Control: FAA's Acquisition Management Has Improved, 
but Policies and Oversight Need Strengthening to Help Ensure Results, 
GAO-05-23 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 12, 2004); 
GAO, Information Technology: FAA Has Many Investment Management 
Capabilities in Place, but More Oversight of Operational Systems Is 
Needed, GAO-04-822 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 20, 2004); 
and GAO, Air Traffic Control: System Management Capabilities Improved, 
but More Can Be Done to Institutionalize Improvements, GAO-04-901 
(Washington, D.C.: Aug. 20, 2004). 

[15] Schedule extensions were calculated based on the date FAA plans to 
deploy the last system. 

[16] Our statements about cost, schedule, and/or performance in this 
report and in our past reports are based on the original targets that 
FAA established and approved at the start of its acquisition programs. 

[17] GAO-04-901. 

[18] GAO-05-23. 

[19] GAO-05-207. 

[20] 31 U.S.C. § 720 requires, in part, that agencies report the 
actions taken on our recommendation to the Senate Committee on Homeland 
Security and Governmental Affairs and to the House Committee on 
Government Reform not later than 60 days from the date of the report. 

[21] FAA uses three types of facilities to control traffic: airport 
towers, terminal radar approach control facilities, and en route 
centers. Airport towers direct traffic on the ground, before landing, 
and after takeoff within 5 nautical miles of the airport and about 
3,000 feet above the airport. Terminal radar approach control 
facilities sequence and separate aircraft as they approach and leave 
airports, beginning about 5 nautical miles and ending about 50 nautical 
miles from the airport and generally up to 10,000 feet above the 
ground. Air route traffic control centers, called en route centers, 
control aircraft in transit and during approaches to some airports, 
generally controlling air space that extends above 18,000 feet for 
commercial aircraft. 

[22] Executive Order 13180 created the ATO. The executive order was 
later amended by Executive Order 13264, which removed the description 
of air traffic services as an "inherently governmental function."

[23] The 10 service units that make up the ATO include Safety, 
Communications, Operations Planning, Finance, Acquisition and Business 
Services, En Route and Oceanic Services, Terminal Services, Flight 
Services, System Operations Services, and Technical Operations 
Services. 

[24] In December 2004, FAA revised its Acquisition Management System, 
including changing the name Acquisition Program Baseline to Exhibit 300 
Program Baseline. 

[25] Air Traffic Control involves a number of other systems, such as 
the Common Automated Radar Terminal System, used in the terminal 
arrival and terminal departure phases. 

[26] Many of these systems are referred to as "buy-it-by-the-pound" 
systems, which, generally, are commercially available at a set level of 
performance, and, therefore, do not have performance goals per se. 

[27] FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure was not directly affected by 
these four factors, but did experience cost growth. 

[28] In December 2004, FAA revised its acquisition management system 
policy by replacing the requirement for an acquisition program baseline 
with a requirement for preparing an OMB Exhibit 300 Baseline, which 
includes additional information required for FAA's annual budget 
formulation and submission process. 

[29] The ASR-11 program is scheduled to go to the Joint Resources 
Council in fiscal year 2005 to extend the program's schedule to 2013 
and to revise the baseline funding. 

[30] FAA defines a COTS item as a product or service that has been 
developed for sale, lease, or license to the general public. The 
product is currently available at a fair market value. FAA defines a 
NDI as an item that was previously developed for use by a government 
(federal, state, local, or foreign) and that requires limited further 
development. For example, the Army's SINCGARS radio is the core of 
FAA's NEXCOM radio, and the software FAA selected for ATOP was NDI 
software from New Zealand's air navigation system. 

[31] For purposes of this report, the underestimation of software 
complexity refers to poor estimation of the level of effort that would 
be required to modify software to meet requirements (e.g., COTS or 
NDI). 

[32] FAA also transferred $1.3 billion--the cost of satellite leases--
from the operations account to the facilities and equipment account, 
bringing the total estimate at completion cost to $3.3 billion. 

[33] FAA began fielding CARTS in 1997, as the interim primary terminal 
automation system until it was replaced with STARS. To date, the agency 
has not ruled out keeping CARTS as an alternative, if STARS proves to 
be unaffordable or does not perform as expected. CARTS was not one of 
the systems FAA was acquiring in fiscal year 2004, when we designed our 
methodology. 

[34] Air traffic specialists are controllers and automation specialists 
who work at flight service stations throughout the United States and 
provide, among other things, briefings of weather conditions along a 
pilot's route of flight and information on traffic conditions for 
landing and departing at airports where there is no control tower and 
no restrictions on the use of airspace. 

[35] The Capital Investment Plan, a 5-year financial plan, allocates 
funds to NAS projects on the basis of a detailed analysis of project 
funding by FAA functional working groups. The plan includes estimates 
for the current fiscal-year budget and for 4 future-year expenditures 
for each line item in the facilities and equipment budget. 

[36] GAO-05-207. 

[37] As mentioned previously, FAA does not have a formal definition of 
"major" systems, but suggested that we consider a system as major if it 
has a baseline for cost, schedule, and performance formally approved by 
senior agency officials. Using this definition, we consider 9 of the 
remaining 39 systems major. These 9 major systems bring the total 
number of major systems under the ATC modernization program to 25. 

[38] Aviation Surface Weather Observation Network (ASWON) automates 
surface weather observation information, replacing labor-intensive and 
high-cost manual surface weather observations. 

[39] The Host and Oceanic Computer System Replacement (HOCSR) is an 
interim upgrade and modernization program designed to replace the En 
Route Host Computer hardware, software, and peripheral equipment to 
reduce delays and improve reliability. 

[40] According to FAA, 43 capital projects were included in the fiscal 
year 2004 acquisition performance goal--41 of these projects fall under 
the ATC modernization program. 

[41] Our statements about meeting cost, schedule, and/or performance 
targets in this report and in our past reports are based on the 
original targets that FAA established and approved at the start of its 
acquisition programs. 

[42] GAO, Air Traffic Control: System Management Capabilities Improved, 
but More Can Be Done to Institutionalize Improvements, GAO-04-901 
(Washington, D.C.: Aug. 20, 2004). 

[43] GAO-04-822. 

[44] GAO, Federal Aviation Administration: Stronger Architecture 
Program Needed to Guide Systems Modernization Efforts, GAO-05-266 
(Washington, D.C.: Apr. 29, 2005). 

[45] Under Free Flight Phase 1, FAA developed a suite of tools to 
assist controllers with managing air traffic. 

[46] GAO-05-11. 

[47] On Transforming the Federal Aviation Administration: A Review of 
the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and the Joint Program Development 
Office (JPDO), Statement of Thomas Brantley, President, Professional 
Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) AFL-CIO, before the House Committee 
on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, April 
7, 2005. 

[48] GAO-04-822. 

[49] For more information on using a knowledge-based approach, see GAO, 
Air Traffic Control: FAA's Acquisition Management Has Improved, but 
Policies and Oversight Need Strengthening to Help Ensure Results, GAO-
05-23 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 12, 2004). 

[50] GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-05-207 (Washington, D.C.: 
January 2005). 

[51] GAO-05-23; 
GAO-04-822. 

[52] The ATO's Executive Council is responsible for further 
implementing acquisition reform for major ATC system acquisitions. 

[53] Earned value management compares the actual work performed at 
certain stages of a job to its actual costs--rather than comparing 
budgeted and actual costs, the traditional management approach to 
assessing progress. By measuring the value of the work that has been 
completed at certain stages in a job, earned value management can alert 
program managers, contractors, and administrators to potential cost 
growth and schedule delays before they occur and to problems that need 
correcting before they worsen. 

[54] We have not verified FAA's reported needs to refurbish or replace 
these structures/facilities. 

[55] Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). 

[56] The panel consisted of foreign and domestic aviation experts from 
industry, government, private think tanks, and academia. Their fields 
of expertise included aviation safety, economics, and engineering; 
transportation research and policy; 
and government and private-sector management. Former FAA officials and 
current executives of the air traffic organizations in Canada and the 
United Kingdom were among the experts, as was the chairman of 
EUROCONTROL's Performance Review Commission. GAO, Experts' Views on 
Improving the U.S. Air Traffic Control Modernization Program, GAO-05-
333SP (Washington, D.C.: April 2005). 

[57] FAA defines runway incursion as any occurrence at an airport 
involving an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground that 
creates a collision hazard or results in a loss of separation between 
aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing, or intending to 
land. 

[58] The objective of the Essential Air Service program is to ensure 
that small communities that had received scheduled passenger air 
service before deregulation will continue to have access to the 
nation's air transportation system. 

[59] The System Operations Center (SOC) is the workspace on the 
operations control room floor where managers monitor the state of the 
equipment providing air traffic services. 

[60] The system's integrity requirement alerts pilots of erroneous 
information not more often than once every 47 years, or 10-7. 

[61] Department of Transportation's Inspector General, FAA Needs to 
Reset Expectations for LAAS Because Considerable Work Is Required 
before It Can Be Deployed for Operational Use, AV-2003-006 (Dec. 16, 
2002). 

[62] Operational Control Center capability, established in 2001, is a 
standard set of tools and procedures needed to open the control 
centers. The tools provide the initial enterprise management and 
resource management technical capabilities needed at Operational 
Control Centers. 

[63] The Capital Investment Plan, a 5-year financial plan, allocates 
funds to NAS projects on the basis of a detailed analysis of project 
funding by FAA functional working groups. The plan includes estimates 
for the current fiscal year budget and for 4 future year expenditures 
for each line item in the facilities and equipment budget. 

[64] FAA also transferred $1.3 billion--the cost of satellite leases--
from the operations account to the facilities and equipment account, 
bringing the total estimate at completion cost to $3.3 billion. 

[65] According to FAA officials, the number of system acquisitions in 
the ATC modernization program can vary annually, when Congress earmarks 
funds for a specific system acquisition. As of March 2005, the number 
of system acquisitions under the program was 55. 

[66] Our review of FAA's NAS modernization efforts will be issued later 
this year. 

[67] To make the report as current as possible, we have used fiscal 
year 2005 funding levels where appropriate, including the status sheets 
for each of the 16 systems in appendix I. 

[68] GAO, Air Traffic Control: FAA Needs to Ensure Better Coordination 
When Approving Air Traffic Control Systems, GAO-05-11 (Washington, 
D.C.: Nov. 17, 2004); 
GAO, Air Traffic Control: FAA's Acquisition Management Has Improved, 
but Policies and Oversight Need Strengthening to Help Ensure Results, 
GAO-05-23 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 12, 2004). 

[69] Organized in 1935 and once called the Radio Technical Commission 
for Aeronautics, RTCA is today known just by its acronym. RTCA is a 
private, not-for-profit corporation that develops consensus-based 
performance standards for ATC systems. RTCA serves as a federal 
advisory committee, and its recommendations are the basis for a number 
of FAA's policy, program, and regulatory decisions. 

[70] GAO, Experts' Views on Improving the U.S. Air Traffic Control 
Modernization Program, GAO-05-333SP (Washington, D.C.: April 2005). 

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