disagreement on how the FAA should approach the ASI staffing situation. We heard from stakeholder communities that include those who are overseen and inspected by the ASIs, the ASIs themselves (including their union representatives), and the FAA management, so it should not be surprising that perspectives differed substantially on a number of points. Our purpose in this section is to summarize, not to evaluate, the comments, concerns, and suggestions presented to the committee by various stakeholder groups—regardless of the level of agreement across groups. The section is generally organized around the issues identified rather than the groups identifying them. However, because the committee conducted numerous interviews with ASIs representing a wide range of functional roles and geographical locations, we summarize those interviews separately. Many of the issues identified by stakeholders mirror those listed as concerns in the discussion of the origin of the study in Chapter 1.
Stakeholders generally agreed on one very important aspect of the ASI workforce: most ASIs are dedicated to their mission and serve their customers well. The issue of the proper staffing levels and distribution of ASIs is a distinctly different question from that of the competence of individual members of the ASI workforce. In addition, industry trade group representatives uniformly welcomed the oversight of knowledgeable ASIs, acknowledging that it can help them maintain safety and reliability in their operations. At the same time, many aviation industry representatives noted that it is in their own best interests to maintain high safety standards, and that they would do so whether or not they were being inspected by the FAA. Finally, the aviation community generally accepts the use of designees, noting that they are for the most part competent, appropriately used, and vital to the efficiency of the system. That is, given a regulatory environment that mandates certain inspections, reviews, and audits, the system could not function at current ASI staffing levels without the use of competent designees.
Stakeholders representing various groups in the aviation community identified a number of perceived problems with current ASI staffing and human resource management, often illustrating specific cases in which the number of ASIs or their collective technical capacity was deemed inadequate.