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Controller Staffing

Billie Vincent
Date: 10/20/2015 7:37:29 AM


The problem is systemic within the US Government’s budgetary system, i.e. FAA, DOT, OMB, then the US Congress. In a segment of a previous message to Jim I provided the following commentary:

“Over the past 60+ years of my experience in aviation I have observed this FAA ATC “behind-the-power-curve” recruitment phenomenon twice. The FAA ATC types recognize the need for replenishment of the ATC staff about 5 - 6 years in advance of the actual need. They know this because they know that it takes about that minimum time to recruit, bring candidates on-board, and train them to (basic) journeymen level controllers. So, the FAA organization submits their ATC personnel needs on their budget request based on their knowledge of this advance need. The FAA administrative and budget executives (who are frequently not ATC types look at the FAA’s ATC staffing and deny the staffing requests saying “you are already fully staffed.”

A year or two later the FAA ATC types successfully get their additional staffing request through the FAA officials only to get it denied by the DOT officials – or the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This process is repeated for a couple of years before the DOT/OMB finally recognizes “oh my GOD, we need more FAA ATC personnel this year” – let’s put a priority request in to the Congress for the budgetary authority and authorization. That’s where the FAA sits today – well behind the power curve in its recruitment for replenishment ATC types.”

The foregoing process occurs every 15 – 20 years. Unfortunately, most of the players in any decision making role have changed and the institutional knowledge has been lost. That’s what has happened – and is happening now.

Best wishes to all.

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