Aviation Acquisition: A Comprehensive Strategy Is Needed for Cultural Change at FAA

RCED-96-159 Published: Aug 22, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 1996.
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) management of its acquisition process, focusing on: (1) whether the FAA organizational culture has contributed to persistent acquisition problems; and (2) potential management improvements that could result from FAA organizational change.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop a comprehensive strategy for cultural change. This strategy should include specific responsibilities and performance measures for all stakeholders throughout the agency and provide the incentives needed to promote the desired behaviors and to achieve agencywide cultural change.
Closed – Implemented
In August 1996, GAO completed a report on FAA's acquisition of air traffic control equipment that revealed self-defeating patterns of organizational and individual behavior serving as a root cause of persistent cost, schedule, and performance problems GAO had identified over the years. In its report, GAO recommended that FAA develop a comprehensive strategy for cultural change. In June 1997, FAA issued a Strategy for Acquisition Culture Change, as part of its initial efforts to make meaningful and measurable improvements in its acquisition management. GAO sees FAA's report as an important building block in its long-term efforts to change the agency's culture.

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