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Observations on Bringing Fiscal Discipline and Accountability to FAA’s Air Traffic Control Modernization Program

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The Inspector General testified regarding FAA’s efforts to bring fiscal discipline and accountability to its air traffic control modernization program before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee. The IG remarked that OIG is seeing positive signs from FAA in addressing problems with major acquisitions. For example, FAA has made progress with some acquisitions, successfully managed the Y2K problem, is committed to improving agency management and fiscal discipline, and has appointed a chief operating officer.

The IG listed the following problems with major acquisitions as areas requiring sustained management attention:

  • Committing to major acquisitions and entering into long-term cost-reimbursable contracts before user needs and agency requirements are fully understood;

  • Misleading and unreliable cost and schedule estimates;

  • Beginning new, costly, and complex programs while still funding programs that are significantly over cost and behind schedule;

  • Lack of centralized control and basic contract oversight;

  • Lack of performance measures for assessing progress with major acquisitions and not holding managers and contractors accountable for cost growth and schedule slips.

    Charles Keegan, FAA associate administrator for research and acquisitions, and Gerald Dillingham, GAO director of civil aviation, also testified.