Issues and Management Problems in Developing an Improved Air-Traffic-Control System

PSAD-77-13: Published: Dec 15, 1976. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1976.

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) engineering and development program management was examined with an emphasis on the Upgraded Third Generation System, a computer-based semiautomated system intended for en route control centers and airport terminals.

By the end of 1975, over $149 million had been spent on this system, and $564 million was spent and was planned for the next decade. Detailed studies and analyses which would provide information to assess the program's potential have not been completed. Among the unresolved issues are: whether programs to develop the system are designed in response to accident conditions and causes, whether programs to develop the system are cost effective, and whether the government should go forward with the Third Generation program. FAA development plans are often untimely; they lack information needed for program appraisal; they do not use savings techniques such as life-cycle-costing and design-to-cost goals; and they do not adequately describe integration of the various components into the existing system. FAA does not have effective management control throughout development.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: A formal process to formulate long-range requirements and incorporate criteria for cost, schedule, and performance in these development plans should be established. Systems analysis should be strengthened and an implementation strategy should be developed early.

    Agency Affected:


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