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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) efforts to implement its Voice Switching and Control System (VSCS), a computer-controlled voice system designed to significantly improve air traffic controllers' communications capabilities.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, not to award the VSCS production contract until, at a minimum, the agency has: (1) the results of complete factory acceptance testing to ensure that prototypes meet system requirements; (2) an independent verification of the results of the contractors' testing, including an assessment of the system's performance under maximum work loads; and (3) an assessment of the operational suitability of the system.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Transportation (DOT) stated that FAA will, prior to awarding the VSCS production contract, require certain factory acceptance tests to be conducted, witness and evaluate test results, and conduct two sets of controller tests. In January 1991, the Administrator, FAA, also declared that the FAA goal is to complete factory acceptance testing and controller operational tests.
Department of Transportation 2. To reduce the government's potential liability, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to explore possible changes in the Advanced Automation System (AAS) contract in order to lessen the possible adverse impact of VSCS delays.
Closed - Implemented
DOT stated that FAA will continue to closely monitor the progress of the AAS and VSCS programs to detect any early indications of adverse schedule impacts. DOT stated that, should such indications arise, FAA will then prudently explore possible changes to contracts. Therefore, DOT is not directing FAA to explore possible changes at this time.

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