Major Acquisitions:

Top Management Attention Needed To Improve DOT's Acquisition Process

T-RCED-91-45: Published: Apr 24, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) and U.S. Coast Guard's acquisition management, focusing on: (1) FAA efforts to modernize its air traffic control system (ATC); (2) whether FAA major acquisition budgets warranted management attention; and (3) the Coast Guard's management of its Patrol Boat Replacement Project (PBRP). GAO noted that: (1) FAA experienced substantial cost increases and delays in modernizing its ATC system; (2) FAA estimated that system modernization will require about $31 billion through the year 2000, more than double the cost it projected in 1983; (3) until recently, FAA did not follow acquisition guidance aimed at reducing cost, schedule, and performance risks; (4) the FAA fiscal year 1992 budget request included $89 million for 8 new projects that top management had not approved or conducted a needs assessment; (5) the Coast Guard experienced many internal control weaknesses within PBRP; (6) FAA frequently funded development activities using the production appropriation account; (7) the average delay in projects from the FAA 1983 National Aerospace System Plan to the 1990 Capital Investment Plan was about 5 years, which resulted in postponed safety and efficiency benefits and the extended use of aging equipment; (8) the Coast Guard failed to adequately consider fleet size and vessel types and capabilities that would satisfy its needs at the lowest possible cost; and (9) cost growth and schedule slippage within both agencies were due to weaknesses in planning and analysis and rushed acquisition processes.