Audit Reports

-A A +A

FAA Needs To Strengthen Its Risk Assessment and Oversight Approach for Organization Designation Authorization and Risk-Based Resource Targeting Programs

Project ID: 

On June 29, 2011, we issued a report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Organization Designation Authority (ODA) program and Risk Based Resource Targeting (RBRT) system.  We conducted our review at the request of Representative Daniel Lipinski.  Public law allows FAA to delegate certain aviation functions, such as approving aircraft designs, to private individuals or organizations.  The ODA program aims to standardize FAA’s oversight of these organizational designees; the RBRT system assists FAA in evaluating risks in aircraft certification projects and targeting oversight.  We found that under the ODA program, FAA has significantly limited its role in approving individuals who perform work on FAA’s behalf by delegating this approval to private companies.  Moreover, we identified potential vulnerabilities in FAA’s program oversight similar to those used for past forms of organizational delegations.  Further, FAA has not ensured engineers are adequately trained to perform their expanded enforcement responsibilities under ODA.  We also found that RBRT has not been effective for measuring risk and directing FAA’s oversight because it relies on subjective input from engineers, does not contain detailed data, and has experienced repeated technical difficulties.  We made six recommendations to FAA to improve its oversight of ODA programs and the RBRT system.  FAA concurred or partially concurred with all of our recommendations, and its response meets the intent of most of them.  Three recommendations remain unresolved pending further action by FAA. 




Closed on 11.17.2013
No. 1 to FAA

Revise its ODA policy to require a full 2-year transition for unit member self-selection.

Closed on 11.07.2013
No. 2 to FAA

Develop explicit guidance on the process to remove an ODA unit member in a timely fashion and require all ODA holders to include this standardized removal process in their approved ODA procedures manual.

Closed on 11.07.2013
No. 3 to FAA

Track unit member appointments in its Designee Information Network (DIN) database or another method in order to identify unit members with known performance issues and require engineers to cross-check names with the database beyond the first 2-year required timeframe.

Closed on 01.25.2013
No. 4 to FAA

Develop enforcement training and guidance that is pertinent to the unique requirements of the certification engineering discipline.

Closed on 11.07.2013
No. 5 to FAA

Improve the new oversight structure for large ODA holders by (a) developing training for FAA engineers and disseminating comprehensive procedures on the new oversight structure for large ODA holders. (b) assessing the effectiveness of the new oversight structure before implementing it at other large ODA holders.

Closed on 11.29.2012
No. 6a to FAA

Improve the RBRT tool by enhancing the risk assessment process so that it uses more automated data, such as accidents resulting from manufacturing defects, to accurately differentiate higher risk projects that likely pose the most safety risk.

Closed on 05.05.2017
No. 6b to FAA

Improve the RBRT tool by thoroughly testing and validating it to ensure that it is fully functional.

Closed on 03.25.2013
No. 6c to FAA

Improve the RBRT tool by ensuring that engineers are properly trained before requiring its use and relying upon its results