oversight

Air Traffic Control: Status of FAA's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System Project

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-03-05.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee
                 on Transportation and Related Agencies,
                 Committee on Appropriations, House of
                 Representatives

March 1997
                 AIR TRAFFIC
                 CONTROL
                 Status of FAA’s
                 Standard Terminal
                 Automation
                 Replacement System
                 Project




GAO/RCED-97-51
                   United States
GAO                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   Resources, Community, and
                   Economic Development Division

                   B-275244

                   March 5, 1997

                   The Honorable Frank R. Wolf
                   Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation
                     and Related Agencies
                   Committee on Appropriations
                   House of Representatives

                   Dear Mr. Chairman:

                   The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversees the largest, busiest,
                   and most complex air traffic control system in the world. However,
                   components of the system are aging and are difficult and costly to
                   maintain. FAA projects that it cannot meet projected traffic increases and
                   make required safety and efficiency enhancements without replacing
                   equipment.

                   Since the early 1980s, FAA’s modernization efforts have experienced
                   lengthy schedule delays and substantial cost overruns. Because of such
                   problems, in 1994, FAA restructured its acquisition of the Advanced
                   Automation System—the long-time centerpiece of its air traffic control
                   modernization program—into more manageable segments. One of these
                   segments is called the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement
                   System (STARS) project. This project is expected to replace 15- to
                   25-year-old computers and related equipment used at FAA facilities that
                   track aircraft in the airspace surrounding airports.1 In September 1996, FAA
                   contracted with Raytheon Corporation to develop, produce, and install
                   STARS.


                   Given FAA’s past schedule and cost problems and the significance of the
                   STARS project, you asked us to examine FAA’s acquisition planning to date.
                   Specifically, you asked us to determine to what extent (1) the schedule
                   estimate for STARS is attainable and (2) cost estimates to make STARS
                   operational are likely to change.


                   The STARS schedule, which calls for implementation at 171 air traffic
Results in Brief   control facilities between December 1998 and February 2005, is attainable
                   only if FAA is successful in its efforts to mitigate certain risks. Specifically,
                   FAA will need to (1) obtain commitment by key stakeholders to the STARS



                   1
                    STARS will also replace equipment at Department of Defense facilities across the country. Schedule
                   and cost information relating to Defense facilities is not included in this report.



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             schedule, (2) resolve schedule conflicts between STARS and other
             modernization efforts, and (3) overcome difficulties in developing system
             software that could delay implementing STARS. FAA is aware that these
             issues pose a risk for STARS and has begun several risk mitigation
             initiatives. While such actions are encouraging, it is too early to tell how
             effective they will be.

             FAA’s cost estimate for STARS has the potential to increase. The agency’s
             total cost estimate for STARS is $2.23 billion.2 FAA approved this estimate in
             January 1996. However, a September 1996 analysis by agency officials
             pointed to potential cost increases that could drive the total cost estimate
             to as much as $2.76 billion. This possible increase is attributable to
             expected higher costs for operating and maintaining STARS equipment. FAA
             officials are continuing to revise the STARS cost estimate and now believe
             that cost increases may be significantly lower. At this time, however, the
             agency could not provide us with an updated estimate.


             STARS is designed to replace FAA’s automated radar terminal system, which
Background   is composed of 15-to 25-year-old controller workstations and supporting
             computer systems. According to FAA, this system is prone to failures, is
             maintenance intensive, and requires long repair times. The system also has
             capacity constraints that restrict the agency from making required safety
             and efficiency enhancements. Automated radar terminal systems are
             located at 180 Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities (TRACON) and
             allow FAA controllers to separate and sequence aircraft near airports.3

             STARS equipment (see fig. 1) is also expected to provide the platform
             needed to make system enhancements that would increase the level of air
             traffic control automation and improve weather display, surveillance, and
             communications. In addition, STARS is expected to permit FAA to
             consolidate some TRACONs and replace all Digital Bright Radar Indicator
             Tower Equipment systems.4




             2
              The total cost includes facilities and equipment and operations and maintenance costs. For this
             report, all dollars are expressed in current-year dollars, unless otherwise noted, because they are a
             better indication of the dollar amount that the Congress may have to appropriate.
             3
              Because FAA plans to consolidate some of its 180 TRACONs, it plans to buy 171 STARSs.
             4
              Digital Bright Radar Indicator Tower Equipment systems display aircraft position data to controllers
             in towers. These systems enable controllers to monitor traffic in bright sunlight.



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                              B-275244




Figure 1: STARS Workstation




                              Source: FAA.




                              In September 1996, FAA signed a contract with Raytheon Corporation and,
                              as mentioned, currently plans to acquire as many as 171 STARSs. In
                              producing STARS, Raytheon intends to rely fully on commercially available
                              hardware and, to a large extent, on commercially available software. Some
                              original software development will still be required. In August 1996, the
                              contractor projected that 124,000 new lines of software code will need
                              development to meet FAA’s requirements. This estimate was revised in
                              December 1996 to 140,000 new lines of code.

                              STARS is an outgrowth of the troubled Advanced Automation System
                              acquisition. As originally designed, the terminal segment of this system,



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                         known as the Terminal Advanced Automation System, would provide
                         controllers in TRACONs with new workstations and supporting computer
                         systems. However, in June 1994, the FAA Administrator ordered a major
                         restructuring of the acquisition to solve long-standing schedule and cost
                         problems. These schedule delays were up to 8 years behind the original
                         schedule, and estimated costs had increased to $7.6 billion from the
                         original $2.5 billion estimated in 1983. Specifically, regarding terminal
                         modernization, the Administrator canceled the Terminal Advanced
                         Automation System and expanded the STARS project to include all terminal
                         facilities.

                         In April 1996, FAA established a new acquisition management system, as
                         directed by the Congress. Included in this system is the concept of
                         life-cycle management, which is intended to be a more comprehensive,
                         disciplined full-cost approach to managing the acquisition cycle, from
                         analysis of mission needs and alternative investments through system
                         development, implementation, operation, and, ultimately, disposal.

                         Under this new system, decisions related to resource allocation (mission
                         and investment) are made by FAA’s Joint Resources Council, which is
                         composed of associate administrators for operations and acquisition and
                         other key executives. Decisions associated with program planning and
                         implementation are made within Integrated Product Teams (IPT). IPTs are
                         responsible for bringing together all essential elements of program
                         implementation, including scheduling, allocation of funding, and the roles
                         and responsibilities of stakeholders. To ensure successful program
                         implementation, the acquisition management system dictates that these
                         issues be resolved before contracts are awarded. IPTs also generate
                         schedule and cost baselines, which the Joint Resources Council authorizes
                         the teams to operate under. Team members include representatives from
                         FAA units responsible for operating and maintaining air traffic control
                         equipment and other stakeholders in the acquisition process.


                         To achieve the implementation schedule approved by the Joint Resources
STARS Schedule Is        Council in January 1996,5 FAA will have to obtain commitment from key
Attainable Only If FAA   stakeholders, resolve scheduling conflicts between STARS and other
Is Successful in Its     terminal modernization efforts, and overcome difficulties in developing
                         the system. FAA is aware that these issues pose a risk for STARS and has
Efforts to Mitigate      begun several risk mitigation initiatives. While such actions are
Risks                    encouraging, it is too early to tell how effective they will be.

                         5
                          The schedule was based on a December 1994 FAA study, which revalidated terminal requirements.



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                                         B-275244




Milestones Call for Initial              FAA’sschedule for developing and implementing STARS by its January 1996
Implementation by                        approved baseline is shown in table 1.
December 1998
Table 1: FAA’s Schedule for Installing
STARS                                    Date                                                  Activity
                                         November 1997                                         Complete software development for initial
                                                                                               STARS.a
                                         April-September 1998                                  Test initial STARS software.
                                         September 1998                                        Complete software development for full
                                                                                               STARS.b
                                         December 1998                                         Operate initial STARS at first site—Boston,
                                                                                               Mass.
                                         April-July 1999                                       Test full STARS software.
                                         January 2000                                          Have full STARS ready for installation.
                                         February 2005                                         Operate full STARS at last site—
                                                                                               Columbus, Ga.
                                         a
                                           FAA expects that the initial STARS software will provide the same functions as the current
                                         automated radar terminal systems.
                                         b
                                          FAA expects that the full STARS software will enhance air traffic controllers’ abilities to move
                                         aircraft more safely and efficiently. For example, this software is expected to allow controllers to
                                         space aircraft more precisely during landings and departures on converging runways.



                                         Figure 2 shows FAA’s plans for ordering, delivering, and operating STARS.
                                         FAA intends to begin operating STARS at only three TRACONs before fiscal
                                         year 2000. Operation increases after this time, with FAA expecting to
                                         operate 55 additional systems in fiscal year 2002.




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                                                        B-275244




Figure 2: Number of Systems Ordered, Delivered, and Operating, 1997 Through 2005

STARS
60                                                         58    57
                                                                                                      55
55

50

45                                                                                                                     44
                                                                                                 43
                                                                            41                                                            40
40                                                                                          39                    38

35

30

25

20
                                                                                                                                                          16
                                                                                  15
15                                                                                                           13
                                           11
10
                                                7                                      7
                            6                                                                                                       6
                                  5
5                                                   4
       3                                                               3
                                       2
                0 0                                                                                                            0               0    0
0
               red

                 d
                  g
             ere

              tin
           de


         era
         liv
     Or
           De
      Op




         1997                   1998        1999              2000           2001             2002             2003                2004            2005
     Fiscal Year



                      Ordered

                      Delivered

                      Operating



                                                        Note: Three of the systems operating through fiscal year 1999 are for training and computer
                                                        support at FAA’s Academy and Technical Center.

                                                        Source: FAA.




Lack of Commitment From                                 FAA  has yet to obtain commitment from all key stakeholders responsible
Key Stakeholders                                        for ensuring that STARS equipment is properly installed. FAA’s new
                                                        acquisition management system stresses that IPTs need to reach agreement
                                                        before contracts are awarded. Such agreement is necessary to ensure that
                                                        all stakeholders’ roles are defined and agreed upon, facilities are ready to
                                                        receive STARS, and all other equipment necessary for the operation of STARS




                                                        Page 6                                                         GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
                          B-275244




                          is in place. In the past, poor coordination among key stakeholders has
                          caused schedule delays in other modernization projects at FAA.6

                          The IPT for STARS has yet to obtain commitment to the STARS schedule from
                          the entire Airway Facilities Service—a key stakeholder. Located in
                          headquarters and regions, maintenance technicians who work for the
                          Airway Facilities Service are responsible for installing and maintaining air
                          traffic control equipment. FAA’s current schedule anticipates that STARS will
                          be installed at most sites using a turnkey concept whereby the contractor,
                          not FAA employees, will install the equipment. This concept presumes that
                          a significant level of regional resources will still be required to support and
                          oversee contractor installation. IPT officials told us that while Airway
                          Facilities Service officials at headquarters have committed to the turnkey
                          concept, regions’ commitment is incomplete. IPT and Airway Facilities
                          Service officials told us that a process has been established to ensure
                          regions’ understanding and obtain their commitment. As part of this
                          process, the IPT has begun regional briefings and has formed
                          implementation teams to gain regions’ commitment on turnkey issues.

                          In addition, the IPT has yet to obtain commitment to the STARS schedule
                          from the Professional Airways Systems Specialists—the technicians’
                          union. Top union officials told us that, as of late February 1997, they have
                          not been briefed on the STARS turnkey concept and have not agreed as to
                          how it will be implemented. The union is concerned that the turnkey
                          installation may jeopardize the job security of its members. IPT officials
                          said that while union representatives have been involved in reviewing
                          vendors’ proposals for STARS, the union has not been briefed on the
                          specifics of STARS deployment. Although FAA’s Acquisition Management
                          System stresses that all key program implementation issues be resolved
                          before contracts are awarded, the IPT believed that it could obtain the
                          union’s commitment at a later date. As required by the union’s collective
                          bargaining agreement, in January 1997, the IPT initiated actions to brief the
                          union and obtain its commitment.


Potential Scheduling      FAA’s schedule for STARS can be jeopardized by scheduling conflicts with
Conflicts Between STARS   other modernization efforts. For example, each year, various TRACONs are
and Other Modernization   scheduled to be renovated or replaced. If STARS equipment is delivered
                          during this time, installation could be delayed. Currently, the IPT is unsure
Efforts                   of the number of these potential conflicts. In September 1996, the IPT


                          6
                           Aviation Acquisition: A Comprehensive Strategy Is Needed for Cultural Change at FAA
                          (GAO/RCED-96-159, Aug. 22, 1996).



                          Page 7                                                      GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
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                            identified 12 potential scheduling conflicts at the first 45 STARS sites. One
                            month later, the number of conflicts was reduced to four, but the team did
                            not provide us with an explanation for this decrease. We believe that the
                            number of potential conflicts will not be known until the IPT ascertains the
                            readiness of each facility to receive and install STARS equipment. The IPT
                            plans to start conducting site reviews in 1997.

                            Another potential scheduling conflict involves terminal surveillance
                            radars, which track aircraft position and use analog or digital processing
                            and communications to transmit the information to TRACONs. Many existing
                            surveillance radars are not digital, but STARS requires digital processing and
                            communications. FAA plans to replace nondigital Airport Surveillance
                            Radar-7s (ASR-7) with new digital ASR-11s. The agency has not decided yet
                            whether to replace other nondigital radar, ASR-8s, or to digitize them. In
                            January 1997, FAA was concerned that 47 of 98 ASR-7s and –8s might not be
                            upgraded in time to meet the STARS schedule. FAA officials told us that, as
                            of late February, they had reduced the number of potential conflicts from
                            47 to 10 through efforts to coordinate the STARS and digital radar
                            schedules. According to an IPT official, if digital radar does not provide
                            coverage for a TRACON’s entire airspace, FAA may have to delay STARS or
                            reorder the sequence of TRACONs receiving STARS.

                            FAA  officials told us that they are taking actions to identify and resolve
                            potential scheduling conflicts. The IPT has developed project guides for the
                            FAA regions receiving STARS. These guides identify possible scheduling
                            conflicts with other modernization efforts. Also, Airway Facilities Service
                            officials told us that as a result of a recent reassessment in December 1996
                            of the schedule for the first 39 STARSs, FAA was able to avoid potential
                            conflicts by repositioning the order in which TRACONs received STARS.
                            Finally, the Airway Facilities Service is developing a database to assist the
                            IPT in maintaining current planning information.



Potential Difficulties in   Although STARS depends on the use of commercial off-the-shelf computer
Developing STARS            hardware and a significant amount of commercially available software, FAA
Software                    and Raytheon have numerous tasks to accomplish before system
                            development is completed. However, the nature and extent of these tasks
                            are not completely known, and such development inevitably poses
                            continual managerial and technical challenges. As noted in table 1, FAA’s
                            schedule calls for software development to proceed in two phases. For the
                            initial phase, the agency expects to complete software testing in
                            September 1998, about 2 years from the time when the contract was



                            Page 8                                         GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
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                        awarded. For the second phase, the agency expects to complete testing of
                        the full STARS software in July 1999.

                        As an example of the challenge that software development poses for FAA,
                        as recently as December 1996, FAA and Raytheon were discussing (1) how
                        the system would provide specific functions and (2) whether certain
                        functions would be needed, and if so, whether the functions would be
                        included in the equipment with initial- or full-system capability. According
                        to Raytheon officials, these discussions ended with FAA and Raytheon
                        coming to closure on all of the 28 issues needing resolution. As a result,
                        some 16,000 lines of additional software code—beyond the planned
                        124,000 lines of new code—must be written. Of the 140,000 lines of code,
                        about 138,000 are for flight data processing, training, and maintenance
                        functions, and 2,000 are to fulfill safety requirements, such as warning
                        controllers when aircraft are not maintaining proper separation or
                        minimum safe altitudes. Raytheon officials believe the additional code
                        development will not affect their ability to meet the original milestones. All
                        new code will have to be tested in conjunction with the nearly 840,000
                        lines of existing STARS software code. If potential difficulties in developing
                        and testing the system are realized, initial implementation of
                        STARS—particularly at the three TRACONs targeted for operation before
                        fiscal year 2000—will likely be delayed.


                        FAA’s life-cycle cost baseline has the potential to increase—from
Cost Estimates for      $2.23 billion, the level approved by the Joint Resources Council in
STARS Have the          January 1996,7 to as much as $2.76 billion.8 This possible increase is
Potential to Increase   attributable to expected higher costs for operating and maintaining STARS
                        equipment. FAA expects the estimate for facilities and equipment costs to
                        remain stable for the immediate future.9

                        FAA’s January 1996 facilities and equipment cost baseline is $940 million.
                        During 1996, this baseline was reviewed by the IPT. Through
                        September 1996, the IPT was estimating that the baseline could increase to
                        $1.18 billion. At that time, the IPT (1) estimated higher expected costs for

                        7
                         This estimate was based on the December 1994 FAA study that revalidated associated costs. The
                        reliability in estimating costs is discussed in our report Air Traffic Control: Improved Cost Information
                        Needed to Make Billion-Dollar Modernization Investment Decisions (GAO/AIMD-97-20, Jan. 22, 1997).
                        8
                         The life-cycle cost estimates do not include the costs of “technical refreshment”—planned periodic
                        updating of a system’s technological capabilities. We excluded these costs because of a lack of
                        comparable data between the January 1996 baseline and the latest analysis dated September 1996.
                        9
                         The facilities and equipment appropriation account funds FAA’s efforts to acquire new equipment.
                        FAA’s operations appropriation account funds FAA’s efforts to maintain and support equipment.



                        Page 9                                                         GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
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software development; (2) estimated higher expected implementation,
technical support, and maintenance costs because of the addition of
necessary equipment; and (3) included costs for communications because
the baseline estimate overlooked them. In December 1996, the IPT assessed
the STARS costs on the basis of the signed contract with Raytheon. As a
result, the IPT determined, that while some cost elements will increase,
other elements will decrease. Specifically, significantly lower costs for
hardware—key components were $40,000 less per unit than what FAA had
estimated—will enable the STARS project for the present time to stay within
the original baseline. Table 2 shows the differences in cost elements
between the original cost baseline and the IPT’s December 1996
assessment.




Page 10                                      GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
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Table 2: STARS Facilities and
Equipment Baseline and Potential   Dollars in millions
Changes                                                                      January    December Reasons for
                                   Facilities and equipment                     1996        1996 differences in
                                   cost element                              baseline assessment cost estimates
                                   Development                                   $25.4           $80.0 FAA determined additional
                                                                                                       lines of software code
                                                                                                       needed development. The
                                                                                                       cost of development
                                                                                                       includes program
                                                                                                       management, testing, and
                                                                                                       travel.
                                   Hardware                                      506.0           314.0 FAA added equipment but
                                                                                                       reduced its unit costs
                                                                                                       because of the contractor’s
                                                                                                       choice of less expensive
                                                                                                       equipment and quantity
                                                                                                       discounts.
                                   Implementation                                164.8           219.5 FAA expects to install more
                                                                                                       equipment than originally
                                                                                                       planned and better
                                                                                                       identified sites’ needs.
                                   Technical support                             129.1           132.4 FAA expects to install more
                                                                                                       equipment than originally
                                                                                                       planned and better
                                                                                                       identified program office’s
                                                                                                       needs.
                                   Planned product                                87.7           110.3 FAA is currently refining
                                   improvements                                                        requirements. The cost is
                                                                                                       the best estimate to date.
                                   Maintenance—first yeara                        27.2            30.0 FAA expects to install more
                                                                                                       equipment than originally
                                                                                                       planned.
                                   Communications                                    0            54.0 FAA omitted these costs
                                                                                                       from the original estimate.
                                   Total                                       $940.2           $940.2
                                   a
                                    FAA policy states that the first year of maintenance for equipment is paid for from the facilities
                                   and equipment account. Thereafter, all maintenance funds are paid from the operations account.

                                   Source: FAA.



                                   FAA’s January 1996 operations cost baseline is $1.29 billion. However,
                                   based on a September 1996 analysis,10 FAA staff identified a potential
                                   $529 million increase that could revise the baseline to $1.82 billion. FAA
                                   officials told us that this increase occurred, in part, because the agency
                                   overlooked maintenance costs in the initial estimates. Also, the officials

                                   10
                                       This analysis was prepared by FAA’s Program Analysis and Operations Research staff.



                                   Page 11                                                       GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
                  B-275244




                  attributed the increase to FAA’s deploying more STARS equipment than
                  originally planned.

                  IPTofficials told us that on the basis of more current information from the
                  contractor, operations and maintenance costs are expected to be
                  significantly closer to the $1.29 billion baseline estimate than the
                  $1.82 billion figure. The officials could not, however, provide us with an
                  updated cost estimate or detailed support for their views. The IPT officials
                  told us that they are reviewing the latest cost estimates and expect to brief
                  the Joint Resources Council on any potential changes to the baseline in
                  March 1997.

                  Separate and distinct from STARS life-cycle costs are two additional costs
                  that FAA will incur to make STARS operational. First, FAA will have to
                  prepare the TRACONs for the delivery of STARS equipment. FAA officials
                  estimate that the agency will incur at least $18 million in costs to get the
                  first 46 TRACONs and related facilities ready to accept the STARS equipment.
                  Roughly half of this amount is for asbestos removal; the balance is for
                  power upgrades and building improvements. FAA has yet to develop
                  estimates for readying the remaining sites. Second, FAA will incur costs for
                  upgrading radars. FAA plans to modernize the existing analog ASR-8 radars
                  that provide data to its TRACONs. Because the implementation of STARS is
                  approaching, FAA is faced with an immediate decision between digitizing
                  these existing analog radars or replacing them with new digital radars. FAA
                  officials estimate that the 20-year life-cycle costs for modifying and
                  digitizing all the ASR-8s will be $459 million and for replacing them will be
                  $474 million. According to FAA officials, the estimated cost difference
                  between digitizing existing radars and buying new radars is minimal
                  because of the higher costs of maintaining older analog equipment. The
                  agency is continuing to refine these cost estimates, and it expects to
                  decide later this year on which option to select.


                  We provided the Department of Transportation with a draft of this report
Agency Comments   for its review and comment. We met with FAA officials, including the IPT
                  leader for Terminal Air Traffic Systems Development; the Program
                  Director for National Airspace System Transition and Implementation; and
                  representatives of FAA’s Air Traffic and Airway Facilities Services. FAA was
                  concerned about our use of the $1.82 billion estimate for operations and
                  maintenance costs. The estimate came from a September 1996 study done
                  by FAA’s Program Analysis and Operations Research staff. FAA told us that
                  this estimate was preliminary and should not be reported as a basis for



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              evaluating the STARS project. While FAA acknowledged that there may be
              some cost growth in the STARS project, it did not anticipate growth as large
              as we reported. We continue to include the September 1996 estimate in
              this report. This estimate was developed by experienced cost analysts,
              including a member of the STARS IPT, and was the only documented
              estimate available since the official baseline was approved in
              January 1996. Furthermore, FAA could not provide us with a more current
              estimate or detailed support for its views on why the September 1996
              analysis may have overstated the cost estimate for operations and
              maintenance.

              FAA also expressed concern about the way the draft report characterized
              the extent to which key stakeholders were committed to the
              implementation schedule, which relies heavily on the use of the turnkey
              concept. We revised the report to recognize that (1) while regions’
              commitment is incomplete, Airway Facilities Service officials at
              headquarters have committed to the turnkey concept and (2) FAA has
              established a process, including the formation of implementation teams to
              ensure regions’ understanding and obtain their commitment on turnkey
              issues. However, because the turnkey concept will affect regional
              resources and employees’ responsibilities, FAA agreed that the potential
              lack of regions’ commitment is a risk that must be mitigated throughout
              the implementation of STARS.


              To obtain information for this report, we interviewed officials at FAA
Scope and     headquarters, its New England Regional Office in Burlington,
Methodology   Massachusetts, its New York Regional Office in Jamaica, New York, and its
              William J. Hughes Technical Center in Pomona, New Jersey. We reviewed
              agency documentation on current schedule and life-cycle costs for STARS.
              We reviewed guidelines pertaining to system acquisition, compared FAA’s
              actions to the guidance, and identified key issues that could affect the
              success of the STARS project. To identify any labor issues that could affect
              the scheduled deployment, we interviewed union officials with the
              Professional Airways Systems Specialists. We conducted our review from
              July 1996 through January 1997 in accordance with generally accepted
              government auditing standards. However, we did not assess the reliability
              of the process used to generate cost information.


              We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Transportation,
              the Administrator of FAA, and other interested parties. We will also make



              Page 13                                       GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
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copies available to others on request. Please call me at (202) 512-3650 if
you or your staff have any questions about this report. Major contributors
to this report are listed in appendix I.

Sincerely yours,




Gerald L. Dillingham
Associate Director, Transportation Issues




Page 14                                      GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
Page 15   GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
Appendix I

Major Contributors to This Report


               John H. Anderson, Jr.
               Gregory P. Carroll
               Robert E. Levin
               Peter G. Maristch
               John T. Noto




(341497)       Page 16                 GAO/RCED-97-51 Air Traffic Control
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