c *. United States General Accounting Office ,; ‘L Report to Congressional Requesters GAO September 1990 FAA BUDGET 1991 Funding Request for Computers and Communications Cm l Be Reduced United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Information Management and Technology Division B-240616 September 17, 1990 The Honorable Frank R. Lautenberg Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable William Lehman Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives In response to your request, we reviewed the Federal Aviation Adminis- tration’s (PM) fiscal year 199 1 budget request to identify areas for potential reductions. For fiscal year 1991 FAA is requesting $2.5 billion in facilities and equipment (F&E) funding. This funding is to finance improvements to the national airspace system by allowing FAA to pro- cure and install new equipment, and construct and modernize air traffic control and airway facilities. Our review did not cover all aspects of FAA’S budget request. Rather, we focused on funding reductions in selected computer and communications programs. In May and June 1990, we presented preliminary results of our analysis of FAA’SF&E budget request to your offices. The results of our final review are summarized below and discussed in more detail in appendix I. While this report identifies areas for possible budget reductions, there are other aspects of FA.4’S operations that we have previously reviewed, such as FAA’Ssafety work forces and air traffic control modernization, where we have supported the agency’s request for increased resources. We identified potential reductions of over $196 million in FAA’S fiscal Results in Brief year 1991 F&E budget request for computer and communications sys- tems supporting both air traffic control and administrative functions. In the air traffic control area, we identified over $147 million in potential reductions in seven programs. These reductions cover air traffic control computer systems; radar, voice, and data communications systems; and an air traffic control facilities program. The potential reductions are based primarily on program schedule delays that have removed the need for funding for equipment and contracts in fiscal year 1991. The majority of the amount we identified, over $97 million, is for the Voice Page 1 GAO/IMTEG90-89 FAA 1991 Gmputer Budget Page 3 GAO/lMTJSG90-39 FM 1931 Chnputer Budget Page 6 GAO/tMTEG9989 FM 1991 Computer Budget Appendix I PotenthI Reductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Request positions at each center and are presently being developed under the Advanced Automation System (AAS). The success of FAA’S plans to modernize the air traffic control system depends on vscs because the new workstations cannot be fully tested or used until WCS is operational. Currently, two contractors (American Telephone and Telegraph Tech- nologies and Harris Corporation) are designing and developing proto- type systems. Completion of the prototype phase of the program was originally scheduled for November 1989 when the production contract was to be awarded. In our June 1989 report,’ we noted that both proto- type contractors had experienced difficulties designing and imple- menting a system capable of meeting performance requirements, and that the program had experienced cost, schedule, and technical difficul- ties dating back several years. In fiscal year 1990 FAA was appropriated $172.3 million to fund the first year of the production contract, technical support, and implementation costs. Although FAA had expected to award the production contract in November 1989, more time was needed in order to complete factory acceptance testing and resolve technical problems identified during this testing. As a result, FA.~now plans to award the contract in November 1990. Results of Analysis FAA requested $185.1 million in its fiscal year 1991 budget request to continue funding the acquisition phase of the vscs program. This funding is for costs associated with the production contract, technical support, and implementation activities. FAA officials have stated that the $172.3 million appropriated in fiscal year 1990 will not be needed during the year for the production contract since the contract will not be awarded until fiscal year 1991. However, since the prototype phase of the program must be extended to complete critical factory acceptance testing, officials state that some additional funding will be required. The FAAprogram manager estimates that between $55 and $75 million of the $172.3 million will be needed to com- plete funding of the prototype phase. Therefore, a minimum of $97.3 Page 7 GAO/IMTEC90-99 FAA 1991 C!mputcr Budget Appmdlx I Potential Bedwtlo~ to FAA’s F&E Budget Bequest AASis the centerpiece of the National Airspace System modernization Advanced Automation plan and is intended to replace aging air traffic control computer sys- System (AAS) tems with new hardware, software, and controller workstations. FAA believes that AASwill increase controller productivity, reduce operating costs, save fuel and passenger time, and allow controllers to handle anticipated traffic increases more safely and efficiently. On July 25, 1988, FAA awarded a $3.6-billion contract to International Business Machines Corporation to complete the design of and produce AAS.The AAScontract calls for implementing the system in three steps. In the first step, the primary component and the largest portion of the contract is the initial sector suite system. This initial system is to supply new controller workstations at en route centers and automate related processes that are currently done manually. The second step of the con- tract is to provide additional hardware and software to support enhanced automation capabilities at smaller terminal radar approach control (TRACON) facilities. The third step is to provide additional auto- mation support in airport towers and upgrade larger TRACON facilities. Our July 1990 report” noted that the initial system schedule had already encountered a 13-month delay. Two major reasons for the delay were (1) requirements issues scheduled to be resolved during the design competi- tion phase were deferred to the acquisition phase without allocating any time to resolve the issues, and (2) FAA underestimated the time it would take to develop and test software. FAA and the contractor are currently negotiating modifications to the contract to address these issues. FAA anticipates that these modifications will be completed by December 1990. Results of Analysis For fiscal year 1991, FAA requested $556.3 million for funding the AAS acquisition contract, technical support, expansion of the test laboratory at the FU Technical Center at Pomona, New Jersey, regional implemen- tation costs, and other costs at en route centers necessary to implement AA.Yand other modernization plan programs. Of the $556.3 million requested, FAA estimates that $238.5 million will be needed to fund regional implementation costs. FAA officials state that the $238.5 million for regional costs will provide funding for (1) preparing five sites for the installation of the initial “Air Traffic Control: Continuing Delays Anticipated for the Advanced Automation System (GAO/ IicITEc 90 _63 , July 18, 1990). Page 9 GAO/IMTEC9089 FM 1991 Computer Budget Appendix I Potential Reductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Bequest utilization and efficiency, provide the basis for future direct pilot to con- troller communication, and automate air traffic control functions cur- rently performed manually. FAA plans to implement the program in two steps to automatically transmit data generated from onboard systems via a satellite link to an air traffic control facility. The first step will be to develop software to receive aircraft identification, position information, and time. The second step will utilize a satellite link to provide controllers with direct two-way communication with aircraft. Included in this step is the devel- opment and implementation of data link communications software and workstation replacements. Currently, FAA plans to procure new worksta- tions that will be different from those being developed under the AAS program. According to the program manager, FAA is proceeding with this new procurement because of time constraints associated with delays in the AASprogram. Results of Analysis FAA requested $6.8 million for step 2 of the program. This funding is to procure 22 workstations for the New York and Oakland en route centers and for implementation of the aircraft-controller data communications link. FAAis currently developing the specifications for this step, and anticipates awarding a contract in mid-1992. According to the Auto- matic Dependent Surveillance program manager, this anticipated schedule would result in FAA not needing any of the $6.8 million requested in fiscal year 199 1. The Aeronautical Data Link project, formerly called the Weather Com- Aeronautical Data munications Processor/Data Link, is to develop, evaluate, and imple- Link ment a variety of weather and air traffic control data link services. These services include providing weather information such as surface observations, terminal forecasts, winds aloft forecasts, pilot reports, and hazardous weather advisories to pilots when requested. In addition, air traffic control services such as altitude confirmation, communications transfer, and en route minimum safe altitude warning are to be pro- vided. According to FAA, the availability of data link communications will improve two-way air to ground communications and contribute to system safety and capacity by enhancing pilot accessibility to informa- tion, relieving congested voice frequencies, and reducing the work load of pilots, specialists, and controllers. Page 11 GAO/IMTFC99-99 FM 1Wl Computer Budget - Appendix I Potential Reductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Request before the contract expires in January 1994. He added that a competi- tive procurement will add at least 18 months to the second segment’s schedule. Results of Analysis FAA’S fiscal year 1991 budget request of $10 million is for funding the fourth year of the program. According to the program manager, the $10 million consists of $4.5 million for continued support and testing of the first segment, and approximately $6.5 million to fund hardware and software development in the second segment. Specifications for the second segment are being developed and are expected to be completed in August 1990. According to the program manager, a fully competitive procurement for the second segment will add at least 18 months to the schedule and delay the contract award to approximately February 1992. Because a sole source procurement for the second segment has not been justified, $5.5 million is not needed in the fiscal year 1991 request. According to FAA officials, the En Route Radar Facilities program con- Air Traffic Control En slsts of several on-going initiatives to improve and modify en route Route Radar Facilities radar surveillance and beacon system facilities at various locations. This radar system provides the means for determining positions of aircraft in the national airspace system. According to FAA, this continuing effort will improve long-range radar operational performance and reliability, and resolve problems unique to certain radar sites and the entire radar system. Results of Analysis FAA requested $14.9 million in fiscal year 1991 to improve radar cov- erage and maintenance of facilities. The improvements focus primarily on a multi-year program to replace radome@ at en route radar facilities in order to accommodate larger Mode S en route antennas. FAA officials stated that about $.9 million is not needed in fiscal year 1991 primarily because delays in the Mode S program will not permit the relocation of radar beacon sites during fiscal year 1991. ‘A radome is a strong, thin shell wed to house and protect a radar antenna from severe weather conditions. Page 13 GAO/I?dTECXW-89 FM 1991 Cmn~uter Budget Appendix II Objective, Scope,and Methodology The Chairmen, Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Sub- committees on Transportation and Related Agencies, requested that we review FAA’S fiscal year 1991 budget request. Our objective was to iden- tify areas for potential reductions. Our review did not cover all aspects of FAA’S budget request. Rather, we focused on funding reductions in select computer and communications programs. To accomplish our objective, we reviewed FAA’S 1991 F&E budget request for computer and communications systems. To obtain historical data on program funding and obligations, we reviewed prior years’ FAA budget requests for computer and communications systems. We obtained and reviewed appropriated and obligated amounts for individual programs from FAA’S budget office and program officials. We also met with pro- gram officials to discuss program status, current schedules, funding status, and to clarify budget and program information. To determine potential reduction amounts, we (1) analyzed prior years’ appropriated and obligated amounts, and compared these amounts to fiscal year 1991 requested amounts, (2) updated and analyzed program status and deter- mined if schedule slippage had or was likely to occur and what impact the slippage would have on the program’s need for funding, and (3) determined if the justification for requested funding amounts was adequate. We conducted our work between March and July 1990 at FAA headquar- ters in Washington, DC.; FAA’S New York air route traffic control center in Ronkonkoma, New York; and FAA’s technical center in Pomona, New Jersey. We conducted our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Page 15 GAO/IMTEGfMM9 FM 1991 Computer Budget . .. Ordering Information The first five copies of each GAO report are free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent. U.S. General Accounting Office P. 0. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20877 Appendix III Major Contributors to This Report Joel Willemssen, Assistant Director Information M. Rose Hernandez, Evaluator-in-Charge Management and Ted Alves, Senior Evaluator Technology Division, John Finedore, Senior Evaluator Andrea Leopold, Senior Evaluator Washington, D.C. Matthew D. Ryan, Evaluator Karlton Davis, Senior Evaluator New York Regional Office Peter G. Maristch, Senior Evaluator Philadelphia Regional Office Page 16 GAO/IMTEG90-89 FM 1991 Computer Budget Appendix I Potential Reductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Request Administrative System The CORN project is E’AA’Slargest and most complex general-purpose Computer Resources data-processing acquisition to date. The CORK contractor would be Nucleus (CORN) responsible for providing, maintaining, and operating the computer facilities, equipment, system software, and technical support services to meet FAA’S general-purpose, data-processing needs over the next 10 years. The contract is also scheduled to include options for providing data-processing services to other elements of the Department of Trans- portation. The total estimated contract value of the CORN project is $1.5 billion. FAA was appropriated $15 million in fiscal year 1989 and $8.9 million in fiscal year 1990 to cover the project’s initial funding. To date, according to the CORN program manager, none of these appropriated funds have been obligated and will not be until the contract has been awarded. In our May 1990 report4 we determined that the CORN project had not been adequately justified or planned and had major unresolved problems. We therefore recommended that the Secretary of Transportation direct that the CORN contract not be awarded. In response to our recommendation, the FAA Administrator recently appointed an independent consultant to review the CORN project. Results of Analysis FAA requested $25 million in fiscal year 1991 to fund the CORK software conversion, initial start-up, and operation costs. Based on our recom- mendation that the CORN contract not be awarded, the $25 million is not needed. Further, prior years’ appropriations of $23.8 million are also not needed, providing for a total potential budget reduction of $48.9 million. “FAA Procurement: Major Data-Processing Contract Should Not Be Awarded (GAO/IMTEGSO38, May 25, 1990). Page 14 GAO/IMlEG90-89 FAA 1991 Computer Budget Appendix I Potential Beductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Bequest According to the FAA Aeronautical Data Link program manager, the agency now views the program in two segments. The first segment is for data link software and processors capable of handling air traffic control and weather functions using the Mode S data link capability. The second segment will procure additional hardware and develop software to use the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network,’ ground data link, wind- shear alert, and automatic terminal information system. The first segment was awarded to ARCON in February 1988 for software development and to CONTEL in July 1988 for hardware. A total of 24 data link processors are scheduled to be delivered. Currently, four processors have been delivered-two to the FAA Technical Center at Pomona, New Jersey, one to the FAA training academy at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and one to the software contractor. According to the FAA program manager, all 24 processors have been fully funded with prior years’ appropriations. Beginning in early 1991 one processor will be delivered to en route centers per month. Because of continuing devel- opment problems with the Mode S program, these processors will be installed, tested, and turned off to be stored until the Mode S program is ready to use them. Current estimates for delivery of an interim Mode S system to the first operational site is March 1992. According to the pro- gram manager, FAA has studied whether delivery of the processors is the best alternative. The study addressed three alternatives: (1) delivering and storing the processors at the FAA Depot, (2) delaying delivery, and (3) continuing with delivery and installation of the processors at the en route centers. The study’s results indicated that there was insufficient space to store the processors at the FAA Depot and because of contrac- tual obligations the costs of delaying delivery of the processors would be more costly than delivering and installing them. As a result, FAA has chosen to continue with delivery and installation of the processors. FAA plans to use an existing contract with Computer Sciences Corpora- tion to develop the software for the second segment. However, FAA has performed no studies to show that a sole source procurement is justified. According to the Aeronautical Data Link program manager, there is a big push to complete specifications for this segment and direct the con- tractor to begin work within the next 3 months (July - September 1990) so that the estimated 36month development schedule can be completed ‘The Aeronautical Telecommunications Network is a data network being developed to provide a link between many United States and international airlines and FAA. The network is to allow the exchange of data such as flight plans, weather data, distress messages, and some administrative ,“lSSagl2S. Page 12 GAO/IMTBC9039 FAA 1991 Computer Budget Appendix 1 Potential l&ductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Bequest system of AAS,(2) procuring and installing new power systems, and (3) expanding and modifying buildings to house the new power systems. FAA estimates that each site will need $3.6 million for the initial system site preparation of AAS,$6 million for new power systems, and $7.7 mil- lion for building expansion and modification for the new power systems. Because of the 13-month delay AAShas experienced, FAA officials have stated that initial system site preparation work for m at three sites could be slipped to fiscal year 1992, resulting in $10.8 million which will not be needed in fiscal year 199 1. The Los Angeles Basin TRACOK Facilities Consolidation project, now Los Angeles Basin called the Southern California TRACOK project, is designed to consolidate TRACON Facilities four TRACOK facilities in the Los Angeles area by 1995. In our July 1990 Consolidation report,t1 we noted that the project involves designing and constructing a new building and moving the existing computer systems into the consoli- dated facility. WA believes this consolidation will help it provide better service in the basin’s congested and complicated airspace. FAA plans to locate the consolidated facility on the Miramar Naval Air Base in San Diego, California. For fiscal year 1990, FAA was appropriated $18.9 mil- lion to procure equipment. According to FAA officials, this funding included $1 million to obtain a lease for the new facility. Results of Analysis FAA’S fiscal year 1991 budget request of $76.1 million is to fund building construction and procure equipment. FAA estimated that $9 million of the $76.1 million was needed to procure real estate for the consolidated facility. However, because the consolidated facility is planned to be located on existing government-owned land, the $9 million requested to procure real estate will not be needed. FAA officials agree that this $9 million is not necessary for the project. In addition, since the $1 million appropriated in fiscal year 1990 for obtaining a lease will not be needed. the fiscal year 1991 request can be reduced by $10 million. This program is a satellite surveillance and communications system that Automatic Dependent will be used to control aircraft in oceanic airspace. According to FAA.the Surveillance project will increase safety in oceanic areas. promote greater airspace GAO/IMTEGSO-89 FAA 1991 Computer Budget Appendix I Potential Reductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Rquest million ($172.3 million less $75 million) of fiscal year 1990 appropriated funds would be carried over to future years. FAA’S fiscal year 1991 budget request of $185.1 million plus the $97.3 million carry-over would bring total available funding to $282.4 million for the first year of the production contract. FAA officials stated that they estimate that $184.9 million is needed to fund the first year of the production contract, technical support, and implementation costs. Therefore, $97.5 million could be reduced from the fiscal year 1991 budget request amount. The Mode S project is to provide more accurate aircraft location infor- Mode Select (Mode S) mation and to allow controllers and pilots to exchange data. In 1984, FAA contracted to buy 137 Mode S systems to replace many existing beacon radars3 and provide data communications to the air traffic control system. In our May 1990 report,4 we noted that the Mode S program had encountered continued technical problems which have led to repeated schedule slippages. Further, we determined that 20 years after pro- posing the concept and over 5 years after awarding a $221 million pro- duction contract to buy 137 Mode S systems, FAA had spent about $145 million without receiving the first system. We also reported that, aa a result of these problems, FAA and the joint venture contractor-Westing- house and UNISYS-had modified the contract to extend the delivery schedule and allow the contractor to deliver interim systems which will not meet all FAA requirements. The first interim system is to be delivered to an operational site in March 1992. FAA expects that the first fully capable systems will be delivered in April 1993. Results of Analysis FAA’S fiscal year 1991 budget request of $37 million is to fund Mode S spares, contractor cost growth, and program support. Of this amount, $15.8 million is to fund Mode S spares and repairs. However, because the Mode S project is not scheduled to have the first interim systems delivered until March 1992, the $15.8 million requested to fund Mode S spares and repairs is not needed in fiscal year 199 1. “Beacon radars calculate aircraft location using an electronic signal sent to the arcraft and a return signal sent by the aircraft. ‘Air Traffic Control: Ineffective Management Plagues $1.7-Billion Radar Program (GAO/ 1~90 _ _37 , May 31,199O). Page 8 GAO/IMTEG8089 FM 1991 Computer Budget Appendix I Potential Reductions to FAA’s F&E Budget Request For fiscal year 1991 FXA is requesting $2.5 billion in its facilities and equipment budget request. This funding will finance procuring and installing new equipment, and constructing and modernizing air traffic control and airway facilities as part of FAA’s National Airspace System plan. We identified a potential budget reduction of $196.1 million from this request for computer and communications systems in the following areas: $147.2 million for air traffic control systems and $48.9 million for an administrative system. Table 1.1 shows these potential reductions by program. Table 1.1: Potential Reductions to FAA’s Fiscal Year 1991 F&E Budget Request Dollars m millions _______ Air Traffic Control Systems FY 1991 Voice Switchmg and Control System (VSCS) $97 5 Mode Select (Mode S) 15.8 Advanced AutomatIon System (AAS) 108 Los Angeles Basin TRACON Facilities Consolidation, now called Southern California TRACON _____ 10.0 Automatic Dependent Surveillance 6.7 Aeronautical Data Link 5.5 Improve Air Traffic Control En Route Radar Facilities .G Subtotal $147.2 Administrative System Automated Data Processmg Faclllties Management, also known as Computer Resources Nucleus ~-~.~ (CORN) $48.9” Total $196.1 aThls amount Includes 523 9 mllbn of prfor years’ approprlaled funds which are not needed Air Traffic Control Systems vscs is intended to provide a computer-controlled voice system for both Voice Switching and ground-to-ground and air-to-ground communications that is flexible, Control System (VSCS) expandable, and highly reliable. It is to be deployed at 23 en route centers’ and is expected to provide communications for the new controller workstations. These workstations will serve up to 430 ‘FAA currently maintains 20 Air Route Traffic Control centers in the continental United States and 3 offshore centers in Anchorage, Alaska; Honolulu, Hawaii; and a combined San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Guam center that control air traffic between airports. Page 6 GAO/lMTBG90-99 FM 1991 Computer Budget Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 6 Potential Reductions Air Traffic Control Systems 6 Voice Switching and Control System (VSCS) 6 to FAA’s F&E Budget Mode Select (Mode S) 8 Request Advanced Automation System (AAS) 9 Los Angeles Basin TRACON Facilities Consolidation 10 Automatic Dependent Surveillance 10 Aeronautical Data Link 11 Air Traffic Control En Route Radar Facilities 13 Administrative System 14 Computer Resources Nucleus (CORN) 14 Appendix II 15 Objective, Scope, and Methodology Appendix III 16 Major Contributors to Information Management and Technology Division, 16 Washington, DC. This Report New York Regional Office 16 Philadelphia Regional Office 16 Table Table 1.1: Potential Reductions to FAA’s Fiscal Year 1991 6 F&E Budget Request Abbreviations AAS Advanced Automation System CORN Computer Resources Nucleus FAA Federal Aviation Administration F&E facilities and equipment GAO General Accounting Office IMTEIC Information Management and Technology Division TRACON Terminal Radar Approach Control WCS Voice Switching and Control System Page4 GAO/lMTEC9O.99 FM 1991 Computm Budget 5240616 Switching and Control System. FAA does not plan to award a production contract for this system-intended to provide a computer-controlled voice communications system for new air traffic controller worksta- tions-until November 1990, about 1 year later than planned when the budget request was submitted. In the administrative area, we identified potential reductions totaling almost $49 million for the Computer Resources Nucleus (CORN) project. CORN is a planned general-purpose data-processing procurement intended to meet FAA's data-processing needs over the next 10 years. These reductions are based on our May 199Ol report, in which we deter- mined that the CORK project had not been adequately justified or planned and had major unresolved problems. We therefore recommended that the Secretary of Transportation direct that the CORN contract not be awarded. We obtained the views of FAA officials on the key facts and analyses contained in this report, and have incorporated their comments where appropriate. Details regarding the objective, scope, and methodology of our work are described in appendix II. As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce the report’s contents earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days after the date of this letter. We will then send copies to interested con- gressional committees; the Secretary of Transportation; the Adminis- trator, FAA; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested parties. This report was prepared under the direction of JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Informa- tion Systems, who can be reached at (202) 275-9675. Other major con- tributors are listed in appendix III. Ralph V. Carlone Assistant Comptroller General [FAA Procurement: Major Data-Processing Contract Should Not Be Awarded (GAO/IMTEC-9038, May 25,199O). Page 2 GAO/lMl’BG96-89 FAA 1961 Computer Budget
FAA Budget: 1991 Funding Request for Computers and Communications Can Be Reduced
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-17.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)