FAA Needs to Reevaluate STARS Costs and Consider Other Alternatives
We publicly released our audit of FAA’s strategy for terminal automation modernization through the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS). We found that FAA needs to reevaluate cost estimates and consider other alternatives to deploying STARS to all terminal facilities. The cost estimates for acquiring STARS have nearly doubled from $940 million to $1.69 billion since 1996, and the vast majority of systems have not yet been procured and deployed. To complete the STARS deployment within the cost baseline of $1.69 billion, FAA is counting on future cost savings of $281 million, which are not attainable.
Program officials also plan to request the new acquisition cost baseline without considering alternatives that could bring significant savings. Before FAA approves a new baseline, STARS officials need to complete sufficient analysis to support any projected program savings, develop and implement a process to manage contract costs, determine what capabilities need to be added to STARS and at what costs, and consider reasonable alternatives to deploying STARS at all locations.