strengths and weaknesses of the methods and models that the FAA now uses in developing staffing standards and projections of ASI staffing needs and to advise on potential areas for improvement.

The term “staffing standards” is used in this report to denote the FAA’s concept of sheer numbers of personnel required to fill specified jobs, without regard for quality or skill levels. While the term is often used to refer to levels of qualifications or skills needed by individuals for particular jobs, it is not used in that way by the FAA. The FAA uses “staffing standards” to refer to the numbers of personnel of various job categories deemed appropriate to staff its facilities.1

The distinction between individual and collective standards represents a long-standing functional demarcation used in the professional human resource and staffing community. Determining and providing the number of personnel in various categories that an organization needs to accomplish its goals (the current AVS focus) is a manpower planning and management function, whereas describing and classifying jobs and establishing the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) requirements for each are considered human resource or personnel management functions.

The formal task statement from the FAA’s contract with the National Research Council reads:

  1. Critically examine the current staffing standards for FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors and the assumptions underlying those standards. The committee will confine its study to ASIs only; other inspector jobs will not be considered. The committee will not consider issues of compensation, work rules, or similar labor relations matters.

  2. Gather information about the ASI job series and about the specific factors that may characterize the FAA as an organization and the ASI job series that would influence the choice of methods that might best be used to develop staffing standards; for example, it will compare engineered to performance-based staffing standards.

  3. Review the staffing models, methodologies, and tools currently available, and some of those in use at other organizations with important similarities to the FAA, and determine which might be applicable or adaptable to the FAA’s needs.

  4. Propose models, methods, and tools that would enable the FAA to more accurately estimate ASI staffing needs and allocate staffing resources at the national, regional, and facility levels, particularly in light of the occasional but urgent need to reallocate resources on short notice.

  5. Estimate the approximate cost and length of time needed to develop the appropriate models.


Throughout the report we have tried to use the term “staffing” to denote only manpower-related functions or issues.

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