Strategic Goal No. 1 - Conduct effective accident investigations

Our status as an independent federal agency sets us apart from other stakeholders in the transportation industry. Our most important stakeholder is the traveling public, and we are concerned with one principal objective: promoting transportation safety. Conducting independent accident investigations is a critical component of our mission, and it is done with transparency, accountability, and integrity, the core values of the agency. Strategic Goal No. 1 focuses on the NTSB's key challenge of identifying those accidents in each transportation mode that represent the most important targets of investigative opportunity, determine the scope and scale of such investigations, and conduct safety studies to help to prevent similar accidents in the future.

The NTSB is obligated to participate in aviation investigations in foreign countries when they involve U.S. carriers or U.S.-manufactured or -designed equipment. This helps ensure that U.S.-built or -designed aircraft do not have safety issues. Our participation in foreign aviation investigations have led to improvements in aviation safety here and abroad. NTSB-led domestic investigations have also benefitted from the participation of other international accident investigation agencies. Our role in international activities for all modes of transportation includes unique challenges, but with our continued advocacy and outreach, we can showcase lessons learned and improve awareness of these investigations nationally and internationally.

Accomplishing this strategic goal will ensure effective and efficient investigation of accidents and incidents and foster a transportation industry that is better prepared to address safety issues.

To achieve this goal, the following objectives and strategies will be applied:


  • Select and scale an appropriate response to accident investigations and incidents.
  • Increase the recognition of the NTSB's role for investigating international aviation accidents.
  • Continue to effectively coordinate and deliver Transportation Disaster Assistance (TDA) to the families of accident victims.
  • Engage in outreach with the transportation community to improve awareness of lessons learned from accident investigations nationally and internationally.


  • Revise and periodically review selection criteria and other tools necessary to improve and to expedite investigations.
  • Continue to advance our role in international aviation accidents and to participate in aviation investigations in foreign countries.
  • Improve capacity to conduct safety studies.
  • Develop outreach plans and products such as videos and digests based on investigations and studies.
  • Assist investigators in all modes of transportation by interacting with accident victims and family members.

Performance Measures

  • Number of products adopted by the Board
  • Average time (in months) to complete Board adopted products
  • Number of aviation international cooperative activities completed
  • Percent of Transportation Disaster Assistance support provided to major aviation and rail accident investigations, as legislated
  • Number of outcome-oriented safety results (legislation, federal rule, industry symposium, or lessons learned) involving industry or government stakeholders following outreach efforts

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Table of Contents

A Message from the Chairman

About the NTSB
Legislative Mandate
Core Values

Strategic Goal No. 1

Strategic Goal No. 2

Strategic Goal No. 3

Strategic Goal No. 4

Appendix I
Measuring Our Success

Appendix II
Key Factors
Evaluation and Planning


Strategic Plan