Bending Over Backwards:

The Air Force is “doing the best job humanly possible” to make the procurement of a new aerial tanker fleet “a fair competition,” a senior Boeing official said Friday. Briefing reporters at company offices in Arlington, Va., on the relative merits of the KC-767, the Boeing official, who declined to be identified, said the Air Force has been scrupulous about making sure both competitors get even-steven treatment. “If we get an hour with the [system program office], they do, too,” the official said of competitor Northrop Grumman-EADS North America. The Air Force expects to select a winner in late December. By being extra persnickety about fairness and making frequent check-ups with the competitors to make certain there’s no confusion, the Air Force would like to reduce the chances for a protest by the loser because the resultant delays could play havoc with funding and schedules.