FAA Reforms Have Not Achieved Expected Cost, Efficiency, and Modernization Outcomes
Over the past 2 decades, Congress has enacted legislation aimed at making the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a performance-based organization that would operate effectively and efficiently while improving the delivery of air traffic services and expediting modernization efforts. However, while FAA has implemented the requirements of past reform legislation, completed several reorganizations, and implemented cost-cutting measures, these efforts have not slowed the Agency’s escalating operating costs or improved its productivity. In fact, FAA’s total budget, operations account, and total personnel compensation and benefits costs doubled while air traffic facility productivity declined. In addition, FAA reports that acquisition and organizational reforms have improved the delivery of technologies and capabilities on newer acquisitions through its Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) efforts. However, several NextGen-critical programs remain over budget and behind schedule due to overambitious plans, unresolved requirements, software development problems, ineffective contract management, and unreliable cost and schedule estimates.
We made three recommendations to improve FAA’s management of major acquisitions and better meet the goals of its reforms. FAA concurred with all three recommendations. We requested that FAA provide a target action date for one recommendation and the other two are considered open, pending completion of planned actions.