GAO Recommends NTSB Tighten Up

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The Government Accountability Office wants the NTSB to tighten up its operation on several fronts while doing more in-depth analysis on transportation safety issues. The GAO recently completed a report on the internal practices of the NTSB and found, essentially, that it was very busy investigating accidents and had not fully implemented so-called "leading management practices" in seven identified functions. The best definition for that process we could find is that functions are codified and written down so that all staff (theoretically) follow the same game plan. At any rate, the NTSB says it agrees it needs to pull up its socks in that area and also that it should do more safety studies when it sees trends developing in accidents. It's done four such studies in the last six years. On the financial side, the GAO says the NTSB's money-losing training center should either be made more effective or closed. The NTSB operates a standalone training facility, but, according to the GAO, most NTSB staff get their training elsewhere. Just who uses the NTSB facility isn't clear, but it lost $3.9 million last year. The GAO says the NTSB should either use the facility itself to reduce outside training costs (and thereby reduce the deficit) or more drastic measures should be considered. "Potential strategies to increase revenues or decrease costs could increase the cost-effectiveness of the training center; however, vacating the space may be the least-cost strategy," the report said.