Requirements Creep

The House has adopted a provision for the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill that would require the Defense Department to factor “any unfair competitive advantage an offeror may possess” in the Air Force’s KC-X tanker competition. This would compel Pentagon officials to weigh the World Trade Organization’s March ruling on aircraft subsidies in its evaluation of the KC-X bids expected from Boeing and EADS North America. WTO found that European aircraft maker Airbus, a part of EADS, has received improper subsidies from European governments, which Boeing supporters say places Boeing at an unfair advantage. Pentagon officials thus far have kept the US-Europe subsidies dispute out of KC-X. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) introduced the measure May 27 on the House floor on behalf of a bipartisan group of members, including Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) who was instrumental in its formulation. It overwhelmingly passed 410-8. (Inslee statement)