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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) fiscal year (FY) 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 programs. 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, double the size of its 1983 aviation safety inspection work force; (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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