Top Management Challenges

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DOT’s Fiscal Year 2021 Top Management Challenges

Required by the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000 and OMB Circular A-136
Project ID: 
What We Looked At
As required by law, we report annually on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) most significant challenges to meeting its mission. We considered several criteria in identifying DOT’s top management challenges for fiscal year 2021, including their impact on safety, documented vulnerabilities, large dollar implications, and the ability of the Department to effect change. In addition, we recognize that the Department faces the extraordinary task of meeting these challenges while also responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic, including implementing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Accordingly, we included CARES Act and COVID-19 considerations in all eight of our top management challenges.
What We Found
We identified the following top management challenge areas for fiscal year 2021:
  • Aviation safety. Key challenges: improving FAA’s oversight of aircraft certification processes and enhancing aviation safety oversight while working in a collaborative environment.
  • Surface transportation safety. Key challenges: ensuring compliance with safety regulations and programs and continuing progress in safety monitoring and enforcement.
  • Air traffic control and airspace modernization. Key challenges: modernizing new systems while introducing new capabilities and implementing new performance-based navigation flight procedures and delivering benefits to airspace users.
  • Surface transportation infrastructure. Key challenges: enhancing oversight of surface transportation projects and employing effective asset and performance management.
  • Contract and grant fund stewardship. Key challenges: awarding pandemic relief and other DOT contracts and grants efficiently, effectively, and for intended purposes and enhancing contract and grant management and oversight to achieve desired results and compliance with requirements.
  • Information security. Key challenges: addressing longstanding cybersecurity weaknesses and developing Departmentwide policy to validate the proper adoption and security of cloud services.
  • Financial management. Key challenges: strengthening procedures to monitor and report grantee spending and preventing an increase in improper payments.
  • Innovation and the future of transportation. Key challenges: adapting oversight approaches for emerging vehicle automation technologies and ensuring the safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Airspace System.