Seeking Partial Dismissal of Tanker Protest

Both the Air Force and Northrop Grumman independently have filed requests asking the Government Accountability Office to issue a summary dismissal of parts of the Boeing protest over the KC-X tanker award to Northrop. Boeing filed its protest on March 11; the Air Force and Northrop reportedly filed their partial dismissal requests on March 25. Both Boeing and Northrop have engaged in point-counterpoint PR campaigns, and lawmakers whose states stand to lose or gain in this first of three KC-135 tanker replacement awards are equally embroiled in the debate. Those lawmakers who support Boeing are reviewing their legislative options should the GAO ruling, due June 19, go against Boeing. Meanwhile, Air Force leaders have maintained that the award process was studiously open and fair and urge a quick resolution given the critical need to begin replacing its elderly KC-135s. In a statement about the dismissal requests, Boeing said it disagrees “with any effort to stop an unbiased review of the KC-X acquisition process” and continues to assert that USAF made “unstated changes” to the bid requirements. Northrop argues that Boeing had time to raise most of its concerns before it submitted its proposal and said of its dismissal request that it wants to “clear the air” and let GAO conduct its review “without distractions.”