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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

FAA Integrated Oversight Philosophy


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Integrated Oversight Philosophy identifies principles for evolving our safety oversight systems, to better position the FAA to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving U.S. aerospace system. This policy supports the Administrator’s Risk Based Decision Making (RBDM) Strategic Initiative, by leveraging the use of consistent, data-informed approaches to enable the FAA to make smarter, system-level, risk-based decisions. RBDM emphasizes the review of safety data to integrate risk into decision making processes; enabling informed decision making by oversight personnel. To accomplish these objectives, we must evolve our business processes to incorporate risk-based models to better target our oversight resources.

Integrated Oversight Philosophy

The Integrated Oversight Philosophy applies to the safety oversight programs of all FAA organizations which have regulatory oversight responsibilities. This policy embraces many interdependent principles including; RBDM, safety management systems (SMS), the FAA Compliance Philosophy, and voluntary safety reporting programs. We recognize our safety oversight programs are an integral part of the FAA’s safety culture. Evolving those programs and our oversight model supports the FAA’s movement toward a safety management framework that collectively helps to define our safety culture.

Our safety culture also influences how we conduct oversight. Developing programs that embrace increased sharing of safety data among FAA organizations, industry and international partners will help us to better identify hazards and mitigate aviation safety risk. The FAA will continue to evolve its safety culture to support a transparent exchange of information, mutual cooperation, collaboration, critical thinking, and trust.

How the Integrated Oversight Philosophy relates to the Compliance Philosophy

The FAA Compliance Philosophy, FAA Order 8000.373, is an integral part of the FAA’s philosophical approach to oversight and the first step in the FAA’s culture shift to use safety management principles to proactively address emerging safety risks. The FAA’s intent is to work with regulated persons to identify and correct underlying causes that led to a noncompliance and to ensure future compliance. Our Compliance Philosophy represents a focus on non-enforcement methods for correcting unintentional noncompliance, but will continue to use enforcement when needed. The FAA Integrated Oversight Philosophy references the FAA Compliance Philosophy and requires that it be incorporated in all FAA oversight systems.

Evolving Our Oversight Model

We recognize that no single oversight system can assure the effectiveness of risk controls for all the diverse operational environments. However, oversight systems do have core attributes that are universally applicable. Incorporating these core attributes into our oversight systems will:

  • Meet the objectives of the Administrator’s RBDM Strategic Initiative;
  • Improve consistency, internal collaboration, coordination, and communication across FAA organizations to project an image as a single, unified agency;
  • Be risk based and support critical thinking and informed decision making;
  • Foster a proactive approach to safety management that allows for product/service providers to; develop processes to identify and disclose safety risks, prevent regulatory non-compliance, and ensure systemic fixes are implemented when regulatory non-compliance exists;
  • Incorporate Voluntary Safety Programs;
  • Reduce duplicative activities and ensure integrated oversight;
  • Improve oversight data collection and analysis;
  • Use standardized safety oversight terminology.

This Integrated Oversight Philosophy is part of the FAA’s culture shift to be proactive and collaborative in using safety management principles to address risk. It describes why the FAA needs to evolve our oversight model, and what changes are needed to evolve in a direction consistent with our safety culture. However, the order is, by design, non-prescriptive in many areas, leaving specifics of implementation up to the individual oversight organizations.