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Highlights

GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Advanced Automation System (AAS), focusing on the: (1) problems confronting AAS; (1) causes of AAS schedule delays and cost increases; and (3) changes affecting AAS. GAO noted that: (1) serious cost and schedule difficulties have affected AAS despite several FAA management initiatives; (2) an overly ambitious development plan, inadequate oversight of software development, and changing system requirements have led to AAS cost and schedule problems; (3) FAA has not provided adequate oversight of contractor performance during initial development of a key system component; (4) FAA has been indecisive in resolving some issues about AAS basic requirements; (5) although FAA and the contractor have made some progress in developing a system that meets FAA requirements, the system is still experiencing technical difficulties; (6) FAA will need an additional $100 million for a redesigned system component because of changing requirements; (7) FAA plans to procure about 170 automated systems, at a cost of $350 million, to support the terminal facilities that will not be consolidated under AAS; and (8) AAS will impose major demands on upcoming FAA budgets.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation 1. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to defer governmental acceptance of the Initial Sector Suite System until all critical operational requirements are met.
Closed - Not Implemented
To solve long-standing Initial Sector Suite System cost, schedule, and technical problems, the FAA Administrator announced a restructuring of the project in June 1994. The system was scaled back and renamed the Display System Replacement.
Department of Transportation 2. The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to submit a report to Congress, before the administration proposes its fiscal year 1996 budget for FAA, that describes a comprehensive automation plan--including timeframes, funding levels, and all interim and long-term actions necessary to satisfy user needs and FAA air traffic control and management requirements.
Closed - Implemented
In February 1995, FAA published a Program Master Plan that includes timeframes, funding levels, and all interim and long-term actions necessary to satisfy user needs and FAA air traffic control and management requirements.

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