KC-X Decision in Early January

The KC-X competition will climax with a source selection in “the early part of January,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Tuesday. Speaking with defense reporters in Washington, D.C., Schwartz said the recent inadvertent disclosure of data to offerors Boeing and EADS North America neither delayed nor really affected the KC-X decision timeline. Schwartz said there has been both an internal and “independent review” of what happened, and it amounted to a single page of tanker efficiency analysis statistics given to each contractor on a compact disc. The data were “non-proprietary” and included no “offeror-proposed pricing information,” he said. Even so, two members of the KC-X program office—not including the program manager—have been removed, said Schwartz. Nothing has happened that would disturb the “level playing field” of the competition, he asserted, and the service has been moving to ensure that it stays that way. He acknowledged that the Air Force created “expectations” that the tanker choice would be made in the fall, but said it’s more important to “do it right than do it fast.” He said it should be obvious, based on the tanker program’s snake-bit history, that the forthcoming decision should “be able to stand on its own and be able to withstand scrutiny.” That is now the “first priority,” he noted.