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Tue, Mar 13, 2018

DOT OIG Releases Report Critical Of FAA NextGen Management

Requested By The Chairman And Ranking Member Of The House Committee Transportation And Infrastructure And Its Aviation Subcommittee

The DOT Office of Inspector General has released a report critical of the FAA's management controls over the use and oversight of NextGen developmental funding.

According to the OIG report, since fiscal year 2008, Congress has appropriated over $7 billion for the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to meet FAA’s goals of modernizing the National Airspace System. This includes over $1.7 billion for NextGen developmental projects. FAA manages these projects through the project level agreements (PLAs)—an internal control mechanism for documenting the agreed-upon work and managing project execution. The House Committee on Appropriations directed our office to examine how these investments are managed and what outcomes have been achieved to improve the Nation’s air transportation system. Accordingly, the audit objectives were to assess FAA’s procedures for (1) selecting and justifying projects that received developmental funding and (2) overseeing the execution and measuring the outcomes of projects. The  FAA’s overall oversight framework for these areas were also reviewed.

The OIG found that the FAA’s annual budget process provides broad controls for selecting and justifying developmental projects, but the Agency has lacked effective management controls in its PLA process. For example, 12 of the 22 PLAs we sampled did not align with FAA’s high-priority NextGen investment decisions, primarily because they were for support or implementation work. Furthermore, a lengthy PLA approval process led to FAA often funding projects without approved PLAs and contributed to difficulty obligating funds to developmental projects. FAA had not defined which types of projects are eligible for developmental work and lacked standard operating procedures for PLAs until 2016, 8 years after beginning to use PLAs. FAA’s Office of NextGen also had not effectively executed and measured the outcomes of NextGen developmental projects, including tracking expenditures by PLA and obtaining deliverables for PLA projects. Finally, FAA has lacked a clearly established framework for managing the overall oversight of developmental projects and addressing persistent problems.

Six recommendations to improve FAA’s management and oversight of NextGen developmental funding were made by the OIG. FAA concurred with two, partially concurred with one, and non-concurred with three recommendations, according to the report. The OIG is requesting that FAA reconsider its responses for these three recommendations.

(Source: OIG report)



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