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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) fiscal year 1991 budget request. GAO found that: (1) delays in key modernization projects were attributable to technical problems vendors experienced in developing hardware and software; (2) FAA has taken steps to revamp its acquisition process; (3) the FAA facilities and equipment account reached an all-time high of $2.5 billion this year, a 47-percent increase over fiscal year 1990; (4) project delays required the development of the Interim Support Plan, but FAA did not properly plan and assess it before seeking funds for the project; (5) FAA has been slow in implementing the National Airspace System (NAS) plan, and FAA operations officials believe that more short-term projects are needed in order to complete NAS; (6) the agency's increasing reliance on support contractors is an emerging issue that requires FAA attention; (7) FAA has not addressed issues relating to bringing the new air traffic control system on line; (8) FAA failed to assess and report its human resource requirements for bringing modernization equipment on line; (9) the FAA regional information system was not fully operational; (10) FAA continues to experience shortages because it has not met its hiring goals or determined its staffing needs; (11) technician shortages have forced FAA to contract for maintenance; and (12) FAA was falling short in training controllers, inspectors, and maintenance technicians, and was slow in addressing those problems.

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