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Highlights

GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) modernization effort, focusing on: (1) whether FAA has a target architecture and associated subarchitectures, to guide the development and evolution of its ATC systems; and (2) what, if any, architectural incompatibilities exist among ATC systems and the effect of these incompatibilities.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to ensure that a complete ATC systems architecture is developed and enforced expeditiously and before deciding on the architectural characteristics for replacing the Host Computer System.
Closed - Implemented
FAA has a logical systems architecture, but--after more than four years of effort--has not yet completed its technical architecture. FAA has made significant progress in developing technical architecture service areas--separation assurance, traffic synchronization, navigation, and flight planning, but an FAA systems architecture official stated that a complete technical architecture document will not be available until the end of 2002. Further, this official stated that the technical architecture will not determine the architectural components for the Host Computer System replacement; the winning contractor will be responsible for doing so.
Department of Transportation 2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to establish an effective management structure for developing, maintaining, enforcing the complete ATC systems architecture. Specifically, the Administrator should: (1) assign the responsibility and accountability needed to develop, maintain, and enforce a constrained ATC systems architecture to a single FAA organizational entity; (2) provide this single entity with the resources, expertise, and budgetary and organizational authority to fulfill its architectural responsibilities, and (3) direct this single entity to ensure that every ATC project conforms to the architecture unless careful, thorough, and documented analysis supports an exception.
Closed - Implemented
Two different entities share responsibilities for FAA's systems architecture. FAA's Acquisition and Research (ARA) organization is responsible for developing and maintaining the National Airspace System (NAS) systems architecture. FAA's investment management council has the budgetary and organizational authority to enforce the systems architecture. FAA's investment management policies require agency officials to consider whether a potential system is compatible with the systems architecture before making a decision to acquire the system.
Department of Transportation 3. Given the importance and the magnitude of the information technology initiative at FAA, GAO recommends that a management structure similar to the department-level CIOs as prescribed in the Clinger-Cohen Act be established for FAA.
Closed - Implemented
FAA recently hired a CIO who reports directly to the Administrator.

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