FAA Lacks an Effective Staffing Model and Risk-Based Oversight Process for Organization Designation Authorization
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delegates to private individuals or organizations certain oversight functions, such as approving new aircraft designs and certifying aircraft components, to help ensure our Nation’s vast aviation industry operates safely and effectively. FAA created the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program in 2005 to standardize its oversight of organizations approved to conduct these activities on its behalf.
However, FAA lacks a comprehensive process for determining staffing levels needed to provide ODA oversight. While the Agency uses a staffing model to aid in identifying overall staffing needs, the model does not include detailed ODA data on important workload drivers, such as a company’s size and location, type of work performed, and project complexity. In addition, FAA’s oversight of ODA program controls is not fully systems- and risk-based, as recommended by an aviation rulemaking committee. This is largely because FAA inspectors and engineers lack adequate guidance and risk-based tools and do not conduct robust analyses of ODA data. Furthermore, FAA does not conduct sufficient oversight of ODA personnel conducting certification work at companies that supply components to other manufacturers.
We made nine recommendations aimed at improving FAA’s staffing and oversight of the ODA program. FAA concurred with six recommendations and partially concurred with three. Based on FAA’s response, we consider six recommendations resolved but open, and three recommendations unresolved pending receipt of additional information from the Agency.