The Politics of 'No'

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Don't say I didn't tell you so.

The politics of the KC-X decision are heating up, with none other than Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling for a "thorough examination" of the contract award.

What are the national security implications of using an aircraft supplied by a foreign firm for this essential mission?

Were the risks associated with choosing a conceptual design over a proven capability properly assessed?

Was sufficient consideration given to the impact of the contract award on jobs in America and on our technological base?

I can tell you the answer to question #3 was "no"...and if it were anything different, no one would do business with the Pentagon anymore.

Norm Dicks' guy chimed in as well yesterday, sending me the following:

Note in this Boeing brochure dated Nov 2006 (while the draft Tanker RFP was out; prior to Jan 30, 2007 Final RFP) that Boeing was prepared to offer a larger tanker version based on the 777 airframe. All the communication that took place between the AF and Boeing (in addition to congressional briefings) indicated clearly that the KC-X competition was for a Medium Size tanker. Based on that, Boeing offered the KC-767 tanker version when the final RFP was issued.

Between then and last Friday, the Air Force set aside the briefing slides that clearly indicated its preference for a medium sized tanker and opted for an A-330 tanker that has a greater wingspan and is longer than the jumbo KC-10 tanker. We are not sure what happened here, and this is one of several issues that could be grounds for a protest and material for questions during upcoming hearings in congressional committees.

Now we're starting the see the CSAR-X arguments all over again. "Did they ask for a medium lift and get a heavy lift?" etc. Next step: Hillary/Obama/McCain skirmish.

The papers today said that Boeing has not yet issued a formal protest and will wait until the Air Force briefs the companies on the whys and why nots of the decision. That's not expected to happen until next week, but that sure isn't stopping the politicians from "waving the bloody shirt" over this already.

[EXTRA:Gonna try a little experiment here folks...Take the poll below and tell me what you really think. I'll fix the formatting as we go along, but I wanted to see if we could get some idea of where you all stand on the "Tanker Tango." surveys - Take Our Poll

-- Christian

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