False Alarm

The Pentagon’s press office on Tuesday squelched reports by several press outlets claiming that there had been a slip in the schedule for selecting the winner of the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition. “Despite what was erroneously reported,” stated Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell, “we are NOT delaying the award of the tanker contract.” (His emphasis.) Instead, Morrell said the plan “has always been” to award the KC-X contract this fall and that hasn’t changed. Back in February, the Defense Department leadership said it expected to choose the KC-X contractor around mid-September, a target date unaltered when DOD later agreed to extend the deadline for proposals. The source of this confusion appears to have been an Air Force planning document posted online in late April that revised the projected start date of the KC-X contract, shifting it out to mid-November. (See Associated Press report via Business Week) (Morrell statement)