Let’s Not Start Over

Alabama’s Senatorial delegation has directed a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates urging him—now that he’s going to be on the Obama team—to “move forward without undue delay” to “craft a new acquisition strategy” for the KC-X tanker replacement program. Sen. Richard Shelby (R) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) reminded Gates that the Government Accountability Office did not recommend a full recompetition and urged him to “quickly move forward with an acquisition strategy that follows the established competitive process and simply addresses the eight issues of concern stated by the GAO.” (We counted seven significant errors.) Gates announced in July that USAF would re-open the competition, taking revised bids from Boeing and Northrop Grumman, only to announce in September that he would defer the program award to the new Administration. Shelby and Sessions also reminded Gates of the need to field the new tanker quickly and urged him to base the decision on “a best value process.” Northrop Grumman, the original winner of the competition, pledged to build the new tanker at a new facility in Alabama.