Not So Firm

Although a Pentagon spokesman Wednesday discounted the notion of changing requirements in the KC-X competition as outlined in the draft request for proposal just to entice Northrop Grumman to reconsider its threatened pull out, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the same day no doubt whetted speculation that changes could be made. Testifying on Capitol Hill Wednesday on the Administration’s plan for operations in Afghanistan, Gates responded to a tanker-related question, saying, “If we were totally locked in to not changing anything we wouldn’t have gone through the [KC-X draft request for proposal] comment period.” Although Gates reaffirmed his belief that the draft RFP “is even handed,” he acknowledged that there had been “a lot of comments both from the competitors and from the Congress and others.” He continued, “We will look at the comments that have been made and make a judgment at that point.”