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Not only were the two proposals “very similar” in quality, but there’s reason to believe the Air Force overlooked several of the primary requirements in the case of the EADS tanker — which possibly would make it ineligible for the award — including the fact that the proposal failed to prove the tanker could actually refuel all currently compatible planes using Air Force procedures.
A key requirement for the KC-X tanker is its ability to meet, among others, overrun and breakaway performance standards. This has to do with a plane’s dive speed and ability to refuel in complex situations and at high speeds. After admitting the Airbus tanker was unable to pass this threshold without an additional “fix,” the GAO report found that the Air Force made no effort to verify that the “fix” would work at all.
Another assumption shattered by the GAO report is just as damaging to the free market case: that the Airbus A330 tanker was chosen because it was a larger than Boeing’s K-767 and, hence, offered more room for cargo and personnel.
While this is undoubtedly true, the report makes clear that the Air Force’s intention was to look for a replacement for a medium-sized tanker first, with two procurements for the larger planes just over the horizon. In other words, the chief criterion on which the Airbus tanker was selected was irrelevant to the request for proposal at hand.
WE CAN NOW SEE that, by awarding EADS/Airbus with the tanker contract, the Air Force didn’t select the best plane for the job. Even professional earmark fighters, long suspicious of Boeing, should be able to make peace with a re-evaluation based on a very clear and disinterested reading of the original criteria.
After all, there’s no virtue in choosing the wrong $35 billion product just to show your free trade bona fides.
The GAO report on the Air Force’s KC-X tanker decision ought to put to rest the “tanker wars” for all but the most entrenched, bitter partisans. Independent pork-fighting groups — or conservatives concerned with the integrity of competition in government procurement — should re-evaluate their stance based on this new information.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?