United States Government Accountability Office Washington, DC 20548 January 6, 2012 The Honorable John D. Rockefeller IV Chairman The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison Ranking Member Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation United States Senate The Honorable John L. Mica Chairman The Honorable Nick J. Rahall, II Ranking Member Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of Representatives Subject: National Transportation Safety Board’s Implementation of GAO Recommendations The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States and selected accidents involving other transportation modes, determines the probable causes of these accidents, makes recommendations to address safety issues identified during accident investigations, performs transportation safety studies, and operates a Training Center for NTSB investigators and other transportation safety professionals. NTSB is a relatively small federal agency with about 400 staff and a fiscal year 2011 budget of about $98 million. From 2006 through 2008, we made 21 recommendations to NTSB aimed at improving its management, information technology, accident investigation criteria, safety studies, and Training Center use. In January 2010, we reported that NTSB had fully implemented 9 of our 21 recommendations and made significant progress in implementing the remaining 12 recommendations. 1 NTSB’s 2006 reauthorization legislation included language that called for us to annually evaluate NTSB’s programs, operations, and activities. 2 As agreed with your committees, this report evaluates NTSB’s progress in implementing our remaining 12 recommendations as of December 2011. To determine the status of NTSB’s implementation of our remaining 12 recommendations, we reviewed and analyzed documents obtained from NTSB since January 2010 on the actions NTSB officials have taken to address our recommendations. We also spoke with NTSB officials about these actions. 1 GAO, National Transportation Safety Board: Issues Related to the 2010 Reauthorization, GAO-10- 366T (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 27, 2010). 2 The National Transportation Safety Board Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub. L. No. 109-443, § 5, 120 Stat. 3297, 3299, adding § 1138 to title 49 U.S.C. Page 1 GAO-12-306R Status of NTSB Recommendations We conducted this performance audit from October 2011 to January 2012 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. NTSB Has Implemented All of Our Recommendations Made Since 2006 NTSB has fully implemented all of the 21 recommendations we have made to the agency since 2006. After assessing NTSB’s progress since our 2010 report, we conclude that NTSB has now fully implemented the 12 recommendations not previously closed. Among the actions NTSB took since January 2010 are the following: • developed a strategic training plan that is aligned with its revised strategic plan, • established a diversity task force and management development programs to address diversity management issues, • deployed an agencywide document management system that improved the efficiency of its process for closing recommendations, • implemented an accounting system that tracks the amount of time employees spend on each investigation to allow better management of agency resources, and • limited users’ ability to load software or modify NTSB workstations to reduce risk to NTSB computers and internal network. All 21 recommendations and their implementation status are listed in figure 1. Page 2 GAO-12-306R Status of NTSB Recommendations Figure 1: Implementation Status of GAO’s Recommendations to NTSB, as of December 2011 Page 3 GAO-12-306R Status of NTSB Recommendations Agency Comments We provided NTSB a draft copy of this report for review and comment and we received written comments from the Chairman of NTSB, which are reprinted in enclosure I. In its written comments, NTSB agreed with our characterization of the progress it had made in implementing our recommendations. ---------------------------------------- We are sending copies of this report to the Chairman of NTSB, other congressional committees, and interested parties. In addition, this report will be available at no charge on the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov. If you or your staffs have any questions regarding this report, please contact me at (202) 512-2834 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this report. Key contributors to this report were Cathy Colwell (Assistant Director), Andy Clinton, Fred Evans, Bert Japikse, Elizabeth Eisenstadt, Mary Marshall, Sara Ann Moessbauer, Travis Thomson, and Jack Warner. Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph. D. Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues Enclosure Page 4 GAO-12-306R Status of NTSB Recommendations Enclosure I: Comments from the National Transportation Safety Board (540236) Page 5 GAO-12-306R Status of NTSB Recommendations This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately. 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National Transportation Safety Board's Implementation of GAO Recommendations
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2012-01-06.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)