Hulshof Commends GAO Decision on Boeing Tanker Appeal

Statement

By:  Kenny Hulshof
Date: June 18, 2008
Location: Unknown


HULSHOF COMMENDS GAO DECISION ON BOEING TANKER APPEAL

Congressman Kenny Hulshof applauds the GAO's decision to sustain Boeing's appeal regarding the awarding of the KC-X Tanker contract to Northop-EADS.

Today the General Accountability Office (GAO) made public its decision on The Boeing Company's appeal of the United States Air Force's awarding of the KC-X aerial refueling tanker to Northrop-EADS. In its 69-page decision, citing seven main reasons, the GAO sustained Boeing's protest and recommended that the Air Force re-open discussions with the two companies, including obtaining new proposals from both Northrop-EADS and Boeing.

"Since the initial contract was awarded back in February, I have pushed for a thorough review process so that we can ensure our military has a state-of-the-art, efficient and cost-effective tanker to replace our aging KC-135 fleet. The KC-767 is that tanker," U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., said. "By initially choosing the larger, less-efficient Northrop-EADS tanker, the procurement officers in the Air Force signified that they were not interested in providing our pilots the best plane available, one that could operate in a much larger array of situations."

In the report, the GAO, an independent auditing arm of the federal government, said the proposed tanker from Northrop-EADS would not be able to actually refuel all current Air Force fixed-wing aircraft, a primary requirement in the tanker solicitation. The GAO also stated that the Air Force conducted "misleading and unequal discussions with Boeing" when it informed Boeing that it had fully satisfied a key performance objective, but later determining that Boeing had only partially met this objective, while failing to advise Boeing of this change. Additionally, the GAO found that the Air Force seemingly overlooked a number of large deficiencies in the Northrop-EADS bid.

"This GAO ruling today reaffirms my belief that Boeing did, in fact, propose the superior airplane," Hulshof said. "It is my sincere hope that the Air Force will take into account all of the GAO's recommendations, fix the shortcomings in the procurement process and choose the best platform for our country's next refueling tanker."

"The most important thing is that we continue moving this process forward and get these planes into service as soon as possible," Hulshof said. "I will continue to maintain that the KC-767, which is designed and assembled by Americans all over this country, including thousands of Boeing employees in St. Louis as well as hundreds of subcontractors throughout Missouri, is the ideal tanker to replace our aging KC-135 tanker fleet. The decision handed down today gets us back on the path to making this replacement a reality."