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Highlights

GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) process for developing mission need statements, focusing on whether: (1) mission need statements supported the need for new investments; and (2) FAA based its analyses on current air traffic control system performance.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. In order to identify and assess FAA acquisition needs, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to approve only those mission need statements that are well supported with analytical evidence of current and projected needs.
Closed - Implemented
Recent GAO work (T-RCED-94-191, April 19, 1994) found that FAA has given greater scrutiny to mission need statements. For example, of the 31 mission needs statement proposals developed for the FY 1995 budget cycle, 11 (35 percent) were withdrawn by FAA program sponsors because they could not quantify a need or because the proposals were a low priority.
Department of Transportation 2. In order to identify and assess FAA acquisition needs, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to revise FAA guidance on mission need statements to emphasize mission analysis as the starting point for acquisitions.
Closed - Implemented
On March 19, 1993, FAA issued a revised acquisition policy. The new policy sets up mission need determination as a separate phase in the acquisition process. Mission need determination is the starting point in the acquisition process and must occur before a mission needs statement can be initiated. In addition, FAA recently issued Mission Need Determination guidance that further describes the required need determination process. This document sets out a strategy for developing a mission needs analysis capability at FAA. Together, the new policy and guidance emphasize mission analyses and satisfy the recommendation.

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