More Weigh In on Tanker Action

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) isn’t the only one questioning the inclusion of questions about government subsidies and related World Trade Organization dispute resolution efforts in the Air Force’s new aerial refueling aircraft award decision process. McCain has Alabama Republicans Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Richard Shelby on his side. Shelby told reporters Tuesday that he thinks it’s wrong to include such questions and expects to see Capitol Hill hearings on the issue. Reportedly the Pentagon has told both Sessions and Shelby that the soon-to-be-released draft request for proposals still will contain a question about how the WTO trade dispute would affect interested contractors—of which there are two, Boeing and the Northrop Grumman-EADS team—however, it might not be seen in the final RFP, due out at year end. The McCain-Sessions-Shelby impetus behind this, of course, is to ensure that Boeing is not the only contractor vying for the tanker program.