Update, April 3: The New York Times has this long piece on the prospect of a split procurement.
It is a subtle but major shift on the controversial proposal to split the KC-X aerial tanker contract between Northrop Grumman and Boeing.
KIRO TV (CBS) in Seattle interviewed US Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Boeing/WA), who throughout the previous competitions has been dogmatically in favor of a single contract to Boeing. Dicks is #2 on the House Appropriations Committee, where any funding bill will have to originate. The chairman of the committee is US Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who came out solidly in favor of a split contract as the only way to break the logjam over an award.
We were told last week that Dicks must be on board with Murtha behind the scenes, however grudgingly, or Murtha wouldn’t be out front on this. In fact, we had heard a rumor, circulating while Boeing’s protest of the award was still pending at the GAO, that Dicks had more-or-less come around to a split award, but since we didn’t confirm it, we didn’t write about it.
Now it comes from the horse’s mouth: KIRO reports that Dicks said, “If that’s what’s decided at the end of the day, we’ll have to live with that, but I think we have a chance to win this thing outright.”
This is a major shift on Dicks’ part. If Dicks is willing to “live with” a split buy, the next Member of Congress to watch will be Sen. Patty Murray (D-Boeing/WA). If she goes along, the sun will rise in the West. If Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Boeing/KS) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Boeing/KS) go along, then maybe it really will snow in hell.