Status Information:

FAA's Year 2000 Business Continuity and Contingency Planning Efforts Are Ongoing

AIMD-99-40R: Published: Dec 4, 1998. Publicly Released: Dec 4, 1998.

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Joel C. Willemssen
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) year 2000 business continuity and contingency planning efforts for its air traffic control system.

GAO noted that (1) to mitigate the risk of year 2000-induced failures, FAA's year 2000 program offices established a risk management team in 1998, with responsibility for business continuity and contingency planning; (2) the risk management team prepared a draft year 2000 National Airspace System (NAS) Continuity and Contingency Plan, dated August 10, 1998, which describes the agency's approach to Year 2000 business continuity planning and focuses on one core business function, aircraft surveillance; (3) GAO reviewed this draft plan and found that it does not address several broad failure scenarios that could affect aviation operations, including simultaneous year 2000-related failures of systems across the country, widespread power outages, or failures of interfacility telecommunications systems; (4) FAA originally expected to issue its NAS Year 2000 Business Continuity and Contingency Plan by August 31, 1998, and a FAA-wide year 2000 plan by December 31, 1998; (5) however, in late August, the year 2000 program manager decided not to issue the NAS plan as scheduled; (6) instead, the year 2000 program office was to work with system users to revise the draft plan and issue it in conjunction with the FAA-wide year 2000 continuity and contingency plan scheduled for December 31, 1998; (7) to this end, FAA has hosted workshops attended by union representatives and subject matter experts to develop risk matrices that will be part of the agency's Year 2000 Business Continuity and Contingency Plan; (8) most recently, in November 1998, the year 2000 program manager stated that FAA's December 1998 Business Continuity and Contingency Plan, to be issued in draft form, would address broad failure scenarios; (9) because of the importance of ensuring that core aviation operations continue in the event of year 2000-induced failures, it is critical that FAA complete its year 2000 business continuity and contingency plan and focus on testing it; and (10) GAO plans to evaluate FAA's Business Continuity and Contingency Plan when it is available for review.

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