With an Eye on KC-X

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) on Thursday announced legislation called the Fair Defense Competition Act that would force the Defense Department to factor World Trade Organization decisions in its military acquisitions. Specifically, Brownback said it “would require the Pentagon to add the cost of illegal subsidies onto the price of a competitor’s bid proposal pursuant to a ruling by the WTO.” This move, both lawmakers said, would compel DOD to take a stand on trade issues in the Air Force’s KC-X tanker recapitalization program, something the Pentagon has thus far resisted. WTO ruled in March that EADS has received improper aircraft subsidies from European governments. That, so Brownback and Tiahrt said, gives EADS an unfair advantage over Boeing in the ongoing KC-X competition. The measure has bipartisan support, with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) among those onboard. (Brownback-Tiahrt release)