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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) bears a significant share of the responsibility for ensuring the safety of domestic and international air travel. The NTSB relies on teamwork to resolve accidents; the parties that participate in an investigation may include manufacturers and operators, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration. This arrangement works well under most circumstances, despite inherent conflicts of interest that may jeopardize, or be perceived to jeopardize, the integrity of the NTSB investigation. The NTSB's ability to lead investigations and to form expert teams is also seriously threatened by a lack of training, equipment, and facilities; by poor control of information; and inadequate aids to project management. Additionally, the need to modernize investigative practices and procedures is particularly acute. In this report, RAND outlines a comprehensive set of recommendations intended to help the NTSB strengthen the party process, create a more expansive statement of causation, modernize investigative procedures, streamline internal operating procedures, better manage resources, maintain a strategic view of staffing, streamline training practices, improve facilities for engineering and training.

This project was conducted in RAND's Institute for Civil Justice.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.