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Leadership and Advice Although its members were familiar with one or more aspects of U.S. aviation before this study began, the committee became more and more impressed as the study progressed with the size, complexity, and importance of the task facing both the aviation industry and the FAA in minimizing the risks of accidents in flight. The committee is thus convinced that the FAA needs more than the specific adjustments and improvements in organiza- tion, personnel and methods recommended above. Certain changes in the structure of the agency at the highest level also need be to made--changes involving improve- ments in the quality of policy and technical advice available to the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the FAA, and the provision of greater continuity in the leadership of the FAA. A Senior Technical Advisory Committee Because the FAA regulates an industry that works at the frontiers of technology, it needs to be a leader in its field. It needs to be able to develop and apply new standards for rapidly changing technology. To accom- plish these goals, the administrator requires access to technical knowledge and advice of the highest order. The administrator should turn for such advice to the foremost technology specialists available in the nation --individuals who, for the most part, are not likely to 73

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74/Leadership and Advice be available for full-time FAA service, including men and women from universities, industry, research insti- tutions, and such other branches of the federal govern- ment as NASA, the Air Force, and the National Bureau of Standards. Accordingly, the committee recommends that the administrator appoint a senior advisory committee oJ experts from government, industry, and universities to advise on the adequacy of teahnioaZ programs and on the direction of future developments. Other high technology agencies have consistently benefited from the advice of such committees. Examples are the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Air Force, the committee structure of the former National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and the NASA commit- tees. To be successful, a technical advisory committee must have outstanding people in their respective fields as members; be structured to give advice not only to the highest level of management but also to the lower working levels of the organization; have an effective secretariat to provide administrative support; and be provided with feedback on the application of its recom- mendations. In February 1977, President Carter urged all agencies to review advisory committees and to reduce their number. He expected that committees not created expressly by statute should be abolished except those (i) for which there is a compelling need; (ii) that will have truly balanced membership; and (iii) that conduct their busi- ness as openly as possible consistent with the law and with their mandate. Moreover, the President urged a continuing effort to assure that no new advisory commit- tees be established unless they were essential to meet the agency's responsibilities.38 Considering the FAA's, and the public's, crucial dependency--in terms of safety and costs--upon the quality of technical judgments that must be made by the agency, the committee finds that this recommendation falls well within the Presi- dent's strictures. Aviation Safety Policy Board The Federal Aviation Act of 1958 charges the Secre- tary of Transportation, and through him the FAA, to pro- mote safety in air commerce, and to promote, encourage, and develop civil aeronautics.39 As an agency of the

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IMPROVI NG AI RCRAFT SAFETY/7 5 department, therefore, the FAA is overseen by the secretary. Given the fact that the FAA regulates the safety practices of a single, relatively cohesive indus- try, where the similarities of training and perspective of the industry and agency personnel far outweigh the differences, the committee concludes that the entire air safety system would benefit from a broadly based and objective group of advisors to the secretary that would periodically review the FAA activities, provide him with thoughtfully considered judgments on questions of FAA policy, and respond to requests in aid of his oversight responsibility. The secretary has no such source of continuing advice at present. Moreover, when there are vacancies in the positions of administrator and deputy administrator, such a policy advisory board would be an ideal source of nominations to the secretary and to the President. The committee recommends, therefore, that the Seoretary of Transportation appoint an independent oviation safety policy board, reporting to him and responsibZe for ad- vioe on major safety and policy issues; for ocunseZ on oversight of the FAA, and for recommendations of oondi- dates for the positions of administrator and deputy administrator. Unlike the previous recommendation, which would provide a technical advisory committee to the FAA administrator for addressing important technological issues affecting the agency's operating decisions, rule making or research strategies, and the like, we envision that the proposed aviation safety policy board would review the FAA from a more detached vantage point and address the kinds of overarching policy issues which are of concern to the secretary. Such issues might include, for example, whether the FAA has struck the appropriate balance between allocating resources for air traffic control versus airworthiness, or between its dual roles of promoting safety and encouraging civil aeronautics, or between aggressive inspection and monitoring tech- niques and dramatic enforcement and punishment practices. The committee envisions that the board would have approximately nine members, appointed for staggered, six-year terms. In searching for such members, the sec- retary should seek out individuals who are eminent in public affairs, aviation, and related fields, including

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76/Leadership and Advice research management. They should represent, as a group, a balance of interests and be selected solely on the basis of distinguished contributions to their fields of activity. Selection of the Administrator and Deputy Administrator The job of administrator of the FAA is a presidential appointment, subject to change at least with each new administration. In practice, the changes have come even more frequently. In the past 10 years, there have been five different heads of the agency. This pattern of ra- pid turnover has meant that policies, procedures, and organizational approaches initiated by one administrator have not taken hold before new changes were imposed by another administrator. In organizations involving safety regulation and high technology--the FAA encompasses both --there is a decided value in continuity to provide time for programs and policies to be tested for effectiveness. Beyond continuity, the administrator and deputy ad- ministrator of this kind of agency need to possess high technical, professional, and administrative competence. It is therefore important to have a selection process for these posts that acknowledges the importance of such credentials and provides for possible reappointment even when the presidential administration changes. Provision has been made for continuity and selection procedures in other government agencies whose role involves technology and public welfare. Accordingly, the committee recommends that the President seZeot the administrator and deputy odminis- trator from a state of candidates recommended by the proposed aviation safety policy board or o similar Group of experts and that strong consideration be given to ~ v reappointment then appropriate. Industry Responsibility In the final analysis, no matter how proficient the FAA, the safety of an aircraft depends on the people who design, produce, operate, and maintain the machine--the aircraft manufacturers and air carriers.

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IMPROVING AIRCRAFT SAFETY/77 In any endeavor involving human beings, mistakes can and do occur. The only known way to minimize them is through a system of checks and double checks. Thus, design calculations are always reviewed by a second en- gineer, and mechanics' operations are checked by an inspector. In some cases separate organizations are employed to perform this function: in most businesses an audit staff independently and directly assures management of fiscal propriety; in the nation's space program, after the Apollo fire, a separate team was employed to review all aspects of the program, from bottom to top. We have addressed this need on the part of the FAA by recommend- ing the establishment of two kinds of advisory groups. There are already many checks and balances present in the aircraft and airline industries' work as well. But some companies lack a separate internal aircraft safety organization, akin to an internal audit staff, to assure their management on a continuing basis that the proper processes and procedures are in place, that personnel are fully trained and qualified, that adequate controls exist, and that the product is indeed as good as it is believed to be. The committee therefore recommends that each indus- triaZ firm involved in the design, production, or main- ten~noe of oommeroioZ transport aircraft consider having an internaZ aircraft safety organization to provide additionaZ assurance of airworthiness to company management. The committee hesitates to propose any set pattern for such an organization, because organizational struc- ture is a function of the management style of each com- pany; nor does the committee wish to propose mandating the use of a special safety organization, because experi- ence has shown that such a body will be effective only if the company's chief executive wants it and will make use of it.

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