CRS Gets It Right:

A new Congressional Research Service brief—“Air Force Aerial Refueling”—says that with the Boeing 767 tanker lease deal kaput, there are several options under consideration, including one advocated by the “influential” Defense Science Board that “may be gaining traction within the Air Force.” That option would produce a fleet of two different aircraft—large, long-range tankers and smaller, tactical tankers. CRS analyst Christopher Bolkcom notes, though, that some in the defense community believe USAF could have prevented the KC-135 fleet’s “widespread corrosion” and argue that maintenance mismanagement, coupled with the tanker lease mess, shows the Air Force “has been a poor steward” of the aerial refueling fleet. However, Bolkcom suggests that the opposite case could be made as well. “It could be argued,” states Bolkcom, that “no other service has more experience nor does a better job maintaining 40-year-old aircraft than the Air Force.” Yes, it could.