What’s Up?

The hold up over the confirmation of Ashton Carter to become Pentagon acquisition czar (see above) is just one of the new issues flaring over the KC-X tanker program. According to defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, the program has gone deep. In an April 6 paper, he writes, ” The new and improved tanker selection process has all the transparency of the FBI’s witness protection program.” He decries the lack of industry input on the tanker’s performance requirements and with the latest acquisition strategy. He notes the lack of transparency during the first—failed—go-round and finds that the “current buildup to a re-competition is being carried out with even greater secrecy.” This time, of course, the Office of the Secretary of Defense not the Air Force is in the driver’s seat. For one thing, the Air Force has been under orders to severely pare down its original 800 KC-X performance requirements.