The objectives were to (1) identify the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) communications systems, including their functions and costs, and (2) identify the agency's organizations that manage the operation and acquisition of communications. It was found that communications are vital to FAA, especially in fulfilling its mission to promote the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic. Agency communications, consisting of transmission systems and the equipment necessary to connect information senders and receivers, are numerous and diverse and must be carefully planned, procured, managed, and maintained. In addition to annually leasing over $200 million in communications, FAA estimates that from 1982 through the 1990s, $2.7 billion will be needed to develop and purchase communications. With FAA's move toward greater ownership of communications, it is critical that FAA carefully manage and control these resources. Although FAA established in 1987 an organization to centralize its management of communications, this entity does not have control over many key communications functions. These functions, such as systems engineering, procurement and deployment of owned resources, and real-time operations and maintenance, are the responsibility of several other agency components. Further, these other components exercise their communications responsibilities without defined procedures for coordinating their activities with the central organization. Without greater consolidation of communications responsibilities or sufficient coordination, significant equipment compatibility, system integration, and network monitoring and control problems can result. FAA recognizes the adverse consequences of these potential problems and therefore is considering improvements in how it manages its communications, as part of its development of a new strategic telecommunications plan. Timely completion of this plan should assist FAA in effectively controlling these critical resources.

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Tables;
  • Pagination: 36 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00491213
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/IMTEC-90-8
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 28 1990 12:00AM