FAA has been Prioritizing for Years; Sequestration did not make them do it!

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ARTICLE: FAA forced to prioritize workload


Sequestration forces the FAA to prioritize workload? The Administrator made the startling admission that some work might not get done in the remainder of FY 2013. His draconian view of the situation was stated as follows:

“Our aviation safety inspectors will have to focus their attention on the most pressing priorities and devote their time to overseeing current activities to ensure continued safety. We are not in a position to take on a lot of new projects. The sequester requires us to cut more than $600 million from the FAA’s budget. We are looking at all options to reduce costs we have implemented a hiring freeze, we are cutting contracts, and were reducing travel and other items not related to day-to-day operations.”

That’s hardly something new!

For more than 10 years, the FAA has had more regulatory tasks to do than resources allowed. Annually under the guidance of the Administrator and led by the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, a review process was designed to set priorities for that long list. Also, the COO of the ATO has a similar exercise as to what project gets higher attention than others. The massive set of NextGen actions is subject to the same discipline.

If those managerial exercises do not create a rigid sense of priorities, there’s more. The Office of the Secretary of Transportation as well as OMB’s Office of Information and Regulation also provide their judgment as to priorities.

The Administrator’s speech’s intimation of dire consequences of sequestration seems a bit incongruous. The horrible prospects of future “focusing” and “prioritization” really are an odd choice of words. The need to discipline the use of time and funds in regulatory projects, NextGen and ATO activities – to name a few – has been embedded within the FAA management organization for many years.

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