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Audit Reports


FAA Lacks an Effective Staffing Model and Risk-Based Oversight Process for Organization Designation Authorization

Requested By
Requested by Representative Peter DeFazio
Project ID
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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. 


Closed on
No. 1 to FAA
Determine what additional model inputs and labor distribution codes are needed to identify ODA oversight staffing needs, and report the results to the Aircraft Certification Management Team.
Closed on
No. 2 to FAA
Develop a process to assess the model results at the office level for potential staffing shortages, determine the validity of the results, and include in a regular written report to the Aircraft Certification Management Team.
No. 3 to FAA
Develop and implement system-based evaluation criteria and risk-based tools to aid ODA team members in targeting their oversight.
Closed on
No. 4 to FAA
Clarify guidance to ODA oversight staff on the minimum oversight requirements for each oversight team member.
Closed on
No. 5 to FAA
Provide guidance on data that ODA team members should be analyzing on an ongoing basis, enhance its national summary of biennial audit results to include more specificity, and disseminate it to ODA teams to use in planning their oversight.
Closed on
No. 6 to FAA
Clarify guidance to engineers and inspectors on actions to take in response to self-audits and develop a process to validate that the audits are being used to identify trends that warrant a need for oversight.
Closed on
No. 7 to FAA
Provide guidance on the level of sampling required to achieve effective oversight of ODA company personnel performing key aircraft certification functions, and issue sampling guidance to field offices.
Closed on
No. 8 to FAA
Develop agreements and a process for sharing resources to assure that ODA personnel performing certification and inspection work at supplier and company facilities receive adequate oversight.
Closed on
No. 9 to FAA
Require annual assessments of audit training provided to ODA oversight personnel for effectiveness, and report the results of the assessment on an annual basis to the Aircraft Certification Management Team.