The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) multibillion-dollar effort to modernize the nation's air traffic control (ATC) system has suffered from cost, schedule, and/or performance shortfalls in its system acquisitions for more than two decades and has been on our list of high risk programs since 1995. FAA's performance-based Air Traffic Organization (ATO) was created in February 2004, in part, to address these legacy challenges. In this report, GAO examined (1) FAA's experience in meeting cost, schedule, and performance targets for major ATC system acquisitions; (2) steps taken to address legacy problems with the program and additional steps needed; and (3) the potential impact of the constrained federal budget on this program.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Transportation||1. To help ensure that key administration and congressional decision-makers have more complete information to assess the potential impact of annual budget submissions on individual ATC system acquisitions, the overall ATC modernization program, and related larger-scale National Airspace System (NAS) modernization activities funded through the facilities and equipment budget, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to identify which activities under the ATC modernization program have had funding deferred, reduced, or eliminated and to provide detailed information about the impact of those decisions on FAA's ability to modernize the ATC system and related components of the NAS in the near, mid, and longer term. This information should be reported to Congress annually.|