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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) fiscal year 1993 budget request for $9.4 billion, focusing on: (1) FAA management of air traffic controllers, maintenance technicians, and aviation safety inspectors; (2) modernization of the air traffic control (ATC) system; and (3) the need for FAA to establish measurable goals for its program. GAO noted that: (1) FAA has improved its total air traffic controller staffing dramatically during the last decade and now has nearly 18,000 controllers; (2) FAA lacks a sufficient number of field maintenance workers to service ATC equipment; (3) FAA has about 2,600 safety inspectors, and doubled the size of its 1983 aviation safety inspection workforce; (4) FAA now requires mission needs statements at the start of projects and is aligning its budget with the acquisition process so that development and production are funded separately; (5) for 1992, 7 of 12 major acquisitions had cost increases ranging from 4 to 21 percent and 8 of the 12 acquisitions fell behind schedule; and (6) FAA has not determined how many consolidated ATC facilities it needs, plans to integrate satellite technology into its land-based ATC system, and plans to expand the number of support contractors assisting with modernization.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to include measurable goals in its Capital Investment Plan (CIP).
Closed - Implemented
FAA intends to include measurable goals in the next CIP. FAA officials expect that the new CIP will be published in late 1993.
Department of Transportation 2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to establish goals for each development project category in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).
Closed - Implemented
In July 1995, FAA initiated a program to measure performance against goals in four key areas of the Airport Improvement Program. These areas include: airport system capacity, airport system safety, aircraft noise abatement, and runway/taxiway pavement condition.
Department of Transportation 3. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop goals for the research and development plan that are appropriate for that plan.
Closed - Implemented
FAA intends to include such goals in the next published version of the research and development plan.

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