Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), House Armed Services Committee boss, said Tuesday he’s not pleased with the course of events so far regarding the Obama Administration push to repeal the Pentagon’s “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy. At issue, Skelton told reporters in Washington, D.C., are the moves to date by the full House and Senate Armed Services Committee to approve language enabling the repeal before the Pentagon has completed its review of the implications of repeal. “It concerns me a great deal—getting the cart before the horse,” Skelton said. He added, “The purpose of the review was to give members of the military—and their families—the opportunity to address the issue from a blank sheet of paper. And, as you see, that did not happen.” Those developments have placed the service Chiefs, who favor finishing the review first, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on opposite sides, something Skelton said he’s never seen happen before on a major issue. Skelton opposes the repeal. (For background, see June 3 Washington Times report.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.