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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Mode Select (Mode S) air traffic control surveillance and communication program.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should independently evaluate the economic, operational, and technical risks involved in continuing the Mode S contract. Based on the results of this evaluation, the Secretary should direct the Administrator, FAA, to take appropriate and timely action to ensure that additional government funds are not wasted.
Closed - Implemented
FAA conducted an audit of Mode S that concluded that: (1) contract work is proceeding in a satisfactory manner; (2) the system had no serious design flaws; (3) FAA is developing a risk abatement plan to address the few remaining areas of program risk; and (4) continuation of contract work is the most cost-effective alternative.
Department of Transportation 2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to cancel plans to replace remaining beacon radars with Mode S and to perform a thorough analysis of requirements, alternatives, benefits, and costs. If the analysis supports replacing remaining beacon systems with Mode S, no decision to acquire additional Mode S systems should be made until the system is demonstrated to work and provide anticipated benefits.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with the recommendation and stated that no contracting activity for additional systems will begin until DOT acquisition justification requirements are satisfied.
Department of Transportation 3. The Secretary of Transportation should report the FAA contract administration and major system procurement processes as containing material internal control weaknesses under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA).
Closed - Implemented
DOT agreed with the recommendation and reported the weaknesses in its 1990 FMFIA report.

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