FAA Facing Big Problems, Says GAO

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There's big trouble ahead for the FAA if it doesn't get a handle on its out-of-control budgets and terrible record on technology acquisition, and time is running out, according to a report by the General Accounting Office (GAO). But even the GAO is apparently out of ideas on how the agency should reinvent itself, because it made no recommendations in the scathing indictment of the FAA's looming crisis. Rather, it urges the FAA to become a "high performing organization" to address the increased demands on its services and the funding crunch that affects all arms of government. The GAO does, however, list four fundamental qualities of such organizations. According to the GAO, a high-performing organization has "a clear, well articulated and compelling mission, strategic use of partnerships, focus on the needs of clients and customers and strategic management of people." It notes that the FAA appears to be moving in these directions through the creation of its Air Traffic Organization (ATO), which is supposed to be more performance-based and results-oriented. However, it also remarks that the ATO process is just underway and there is already mounting pressure on the system as the aviation industry rebounds from a three-year slump.