The Government Accountability Office is suggesting the FAA back away from rejigging its core funding mechanisms and, instead, concentrate on making do with less. And contracting out heads the list of ways the FAA could get its financial house in order while coping with major funding, technology and human resource challenges. “Some experts, and GAO’s work, suggest that FAA pursue near-term options, such as contracting out more services,” the report’s synopsis reads. “After establishing a sound financial management record, FAA could pursue options for greater financial management flexibility.”
The synopsis doesn’t pinpoint which services could be outsourced but it is critical of the FAA’s current approach to saving money. The synopsis said that in anticipation of even tighter budgets in the future, the agency has eliminated funding for research and development of new technologies it will likely need to cope with future demands on the National Airspace System. The synopsis also points out that the FAA hasn’t priced out its plan to hire 12,500 new air traffic controllers over the next 10 years and that’s going to affect budgets in the future. The synopsis also notes that the FAA is attempting to change the “workforce culture” at the agency to be more “results-oriented” but the GAO says it will be years before this “impediment to ATC modernization” will be realized.