Thune and Nelson Send Joint Letter on FAA Vulnerabilities

March 2, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter today to the Honorable Michael P. Huerta, the administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Honorable Anthony Foxx, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, regarding a recent GAO report that identified vulnerabilities to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information systems.

The text of the letter is below:
Dear Administrator Huerta,

The recent GAO report describing significant vulnerabilities to critical Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information systems, affecting mission-critical air traffic control programs, highlights troubling weaknesses.  These vulnerabilities have potential to compromise the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system (NAS), which the traveling public relies on each and every day.  We cannot risk undermining our investments in NextGen air traffic control modernization by leaving critical systems such as En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) and our telecommunications infrastructure open to intrusion by nefarious actors.
In its report titled “FAA Needs to Address Weaknesses in Air Traffic Control Systems,” GAO recommends 17 steps the FAA should take to secure its information security systems and address vulnerabilities. We ask that the FAA provide a full accounting on the status of these recommendations, including specific actions cited in the limited distribution report, as well as any other steps taken to secure FAA mission-critical systems.
Background:  Secretary Foxx will be testifying before the Committee tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. for a hearing on its FY 2016 budget request.