Tanker Issue Foils Quick Donley Confirmation

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) plans to continue with her hold up of a floor vote for the confirmation of Michael Donley to be Air Force Secretary “until such time that I feel the Air Force and DOD have adequately addressed all these issues,” reports Megan Scully of CongressDaily. The issues, Cantwell wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week, concern the Air Force’s KC-X tanker program, which is about to be rebid under the active leadership of Pentagon acquisition czar John Young. Donley was widely considered to be the easier of the two nominations, but the Senate on Aug. 1 confirmed only Gen. Norton Schwartz for the other top USAF leader spot. (See above) Cantwell, an ardent Boeing supporter, warned DOD last week in remarks on the Senate floor that rumors of changes to the original requirements would not fly. She said the problem with the original tanker award was “an evaluation problem, not an [request for proposal] problem.” Additionally in her letter, Cantwell mentioned that she had been briefed on several classified issue by the Intelligence Community that “raise troubling questions that are much broader than the selection of a new tanker.”