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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information about the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Research, Engineering, and Development (RE&D) Program, focusing on: (1) FAA progress in implementing legislation that requires it to submit annual plans for RE&D projects, expand long-term research efforts in certain critical areas, and establish a research advisory committee; (2) long-term research efforts undertaken during fiscal year (FY) 1991; and (3) factors affecting FAA ability to meet its RE&D goals.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress may wish to consider mandating that some portion of the FAA RE&D budget be allocated to long-term research as it did for FY 1989 and FY 1990. In doing so, Congress may wish to consider including in its definition for long-term research the demands being placed on the RE&D Program for shaping the future air transport system and its safety, security, and efficiency.
Closed - Implemented
In August 1993, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology reaffirmed its commitment to long-term aviation research and included language in the Federal Aviation Administration's Research, Engineering, and Development Authorization Act of 1993 that at least 15 percent of FAA's RE&D budget must be allocated to long-term research.
Congress may wish to consider requiring FAA to provide long-term research resource information in its annual budget submissions. This action will help ensure that FAA RE&D activities clearly distinguish between resources devoted to short- and long-term research.
Closed - Not Implemented
Because of various changes that have occurred, a fresh look needs to be taken at the status of DAFIS and further changes needed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. To improve FAA management and provide Congress with better information on the RE&D Program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop a method, utilizing DAFIS or other internal systems, for tracking the funding for long-term research.
Closed - Not Implemented
Because of various changes that have occurred, a fresh look needs to be taken at the status of DAFIS and further changes needed.
Department of Transportation 2. To improve FAA management and provide Congress with better information on the RE&D Program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to include cost and staffing information in the RE&D Plan as required by the Aviation Safety Research Act of 1988.
Closed - Not Implemented
DOT believes that appropriate information is included in its annual budget submission to Congress.
Department of Transportation 3. To improve FAA management and provide Congress with better information on the RE&D Program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to either integrate the RE&D goals into the Capital Investment Plan and other agency efforts that rely heavily on the RE&D Program or adopt goals that are directly achievable by the RE&D Program.
Closed - Implemented
FAA has incorporated RE&D goals into the Capital Investment Plan.

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