FAA Has Not Sufficiently Addressed Key Weaknesses Related to Its ATCOTS Contract
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to hire more than 11,000 air traffic controllers through fiscal year 2021 to replace the large number of controllers eligible to retire. To help train the influx of new controllers, in 2008, FAA awarded the $859 million, 10-year Air Traffic Control Optimum Training Solution (ATCOTS) contract to Raytheon. Since 2010, we have identified numerous problems regarding FAA’s oversight of the ATCOTS contract, and in December 2013, we made 10 recommendations for improvement. As directed by the Explanatory Statement accompanying the 2015 Appropriations Act, this audit assessed FAA’s progress in addressing those recommendations.
FAA did not fully implement our 2013 recommendations before awarding its new Controller Training Contract (CTC)—the successor contract to ATCOTS—with only 7 of the 10 recommendations now closed. While FAA addressed weaknesses we found with contract administration practices and oversight, it has not made sufficient progress to implement our recommendations on defining training requirements and validating training costs. These recommendations were designed to improve FAA’s ability to develop a comprehensive understanding of its training needs that could have been used to create a more reliable estimate of the Agency’s training costs before it awarded CTC. However, because FAA awarded CTC without fully addressing these recommendations, it may encounter many of the same issues that compromised the success of the ATCOTS contract. We provided FAA with a draft for comment although our report did not contain any new recommendations requiring a formal response. FAA stated that it continues to work towards providing our office with the necessary information needed for closure of the remaining recommendations from our 2013 report.