USAF loses yet another tanker award

Update, October 6:

Mobile Press-Register: The Mobile paper has a long interview with Northrop Grumman’s CEO on the KC-X tanker debacle.

Original Post:

The USAF has been overturned on yet another contract award concerning aerial tankers. A federal court overturned a maintenance contract for KC-135s awarded to Boeing after Alabama Aircraft (formerlly Pemco) protested to the GAO, lost, and sued. Alabama Aircraft’s press release may be found here.

The contract is worth $1.1 billion.

The inability of the Air Force to conduct proper contract evaluations and awards is mind-boggling. Not only are there the high-profile issues with the KC-X program, dating to the 2001-2004 illegal conduct in that award, and the clear disregard for its own rules on eight critical points in the more recent award, the USAF couldn’t even properly award a public relations contract for the Thunderbirds air show team.

7 Comments on “USAF loses yet another tanker award

  1. “So what does that say about their (GAO) KC-X ruling?”
    As far as I know…nothing. If Northrop or the USAF felt that strongly, they probably should have gone to court and contested it as Alabama Aircraft Industries did.

  2. *If Northrop or the USAF felt that strongly, they probably should have gone to court and contested it…*

    Errrr and sued GAO? Interesting.

    OTOH, do you think Boeing would have sued USAF if they had lost the GAO ruling, like AAI?

  3. By the way, as far as I remember, GAO did rule against USAF. Only in this case USAF chose to ignore the recommendation, hence the court proceedings by AAI.

    Now I wonder what would have happened if USAF ignored GAO in the case of KC-X…

  4. Frankly, I think the problem is the variety of ways in which an award can be protested. Let’s face it, no acquisition will be COMPLETELY fair, transparent, and un-biased. To expect such is to expect perfection, which is nearly always unattainable, especially when humans are involved in the process (and perhaps more especially when those humans are government employees…) It has become far too easy for a decision to be protested and far too easy for a small flaw in the process, when found, to negate the entire process, and this is being abused. I think all the recent effort towards government acquisition reform has brought us here, and hopefully the politicians will soon realize that the new, “better” way actually costs more money (in protests, lost effort, time, etc) in the long run.
    The last few years has taught industry that if at first you don’t succeed, protest…. and when that fails, sue.

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