OIG made seven recommendations to the FAA on how to improve the model, and the agency agreed with them, noting it is making progress on each.
Even an effective model will not fix the more pressing staffing problem. The agency's Aviation Safety Div. lost nearly 300 positions from Oct. 1, 2012, through April 30, 2013, due to a combination of attrition and a hiring freeze. The reason for the latter stems from mandated budget cuts that—barring further action—are in place through 2022.
Lawmakers, faced with a backlash over FAA proposals to shutter air traffic control towers and cut other vital services, gave the safety agency a bit of a reprieve for 2013, allowing it to use money from its airport fund for other budgetary needs. But the hiring freeze remains, so the FAA continues to lose key staffers in an effort to keep the budget in line.