US Department of Transportation calls for after-action report following FAA outage

President Biden is calling for a full investigation into Wednesday’s Federal Aviation Administration outage. White House officials say at this point, there is no evidence of a cyberattack but the administration is now requesting an after-action process to determine the root causes of the outage. “It is the right call to act out of an abundance of caution, but no, these kinds of disruptions should not happen and my primary interest now that we’ve gotten through the immediate disruptions of the morning is understanding exactly how this was possible and exactly what steps are needed to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” said Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary.

The outage impacted the FAA’s Notice-To-Air-Missions system, which provides pilots with key safety information they need before flying. “We haven’t seen something like that to that magnitude for 20 years,” said Ken Jenkins, Crisis Response Strategist. Jenkins said all technology is vulnerable to system failures but in this case, safety was on the line.

“Anytime there are human hands that are touching the system, there’s going to be human error, there’s the opportunity for failure again,” said Jenkins. “But what can you do to mitigate it and reduce it as low as you can?” On Capitol Hill, lawmakers from both parties are calling for accountability. “People should be able to fly on a Wednesday morning and know their flights are going to take off safely and securely.

We have more questions than answers at this point,” said Rep. Nancy Mace, (R-S.C.). Some want to know whether the FAA needs to overhaul its technology system.

“Members of Congress will want to see the results of that after-action report. We don’t know if this was just a technology issue or if it was something deeper, but if this is — if the underlying problem is a technology at the FAA to spit out these NOTAMs, if there’s something wrong, old software, we need to know what that is,” said Rep. Rick Larsen, (D-Wash.)

Federal lawmakers say they also want to bring in the head of the FAA for questioning.