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Management Advisories

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is deploying the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) at 11 large terminal facilities to modernize the systems air traffic controllers use to manage traffic. In May 2013, we reported that STARS deployment was at a significant risk of cost and schedule overruns largely due to unstable software requirements.

Following the issuance of our report, we conducted an in-depth review of a hotline complaint we received regarding STARS deployment at the first site, the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility. This review prompted us to look further into FAA’s progress implementing the program. We issued this management advisory to alert FAA to ongoing cost and schedule risks. Notably, FAA has yet to stabilize STARS software requirements—a recommendation we made in our 2013 report. Further, FAA has not determined the site-specific capabilities needed or when they will be implemented. Finally, questions about the adequacy of FAA’s training and certification of technical operations specialists raise concerns about the Agency’s management of STARS deployment.