National Transportation Safety Board's Implementation of GAO Recommendations

GAO-12-306R: Published: Jan 6, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 6, 2012.

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Gerald Dillingham, Ph.D.
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What GAO Found

NTSB has fully implemented all of the 21 recommendations we have made to the agency since 2006. After assessing NTSB’s progress since our 2010 report, we conclude that NTSB has now fully implemented the 12 recommendations not previously closed.

Among the actions NTSB took since January 2010 are the following:

  • developed a strategic training plan that is aligned with its revised strategic plan,
  • established a diversity task force and management development programs to address diversity management issues,
  • deployed an agencywide document management system that improved the efficiency of its process for closing recommendations,
  • implemented an accounting system that tracks the amount of time employees spend on each investigation to allow better management of agency resources, and
  • limited users’ ability to load software or modify NTSB workstations to reduce risk to NTSB computers and internal network.

Why GAO Did This Study

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States and selected accidents involving other transportation modes, determines the probable causes of these accidents, makes recommendations to address safety issues identified during accident investigations, performs transportation safety studies, and operates a Training Center for NTSB investigators and other transportation safety professionals. NTSB is a relatively small federal agency with about 400 staff and a fiscal year 2011 budget of about $98 million. From 2006 through 2008, we made 21 recommendations to NTSB aimed at improving its management, information technology, accident investigation criteria, safety studies, and Training Center use. In January 2010, we reported that NTSB had fully implemented 9 of our 21 recommendations and made significant progress in implementing the remaining 12 recommendations. NTSB’s 2006 reauthorization legislation included language that called for us to annually evaluate NTSB’s programs, operations, and activities. As agreed with the congressional committees, this report evaluates NTSB’s progress in implementing our remaining 12 recommendations as of December 2011.

For more information, contact Gerald Dillingham at (202) 512-2834 or

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