Thursday, June 26, 2008

GAO Decision Analysis

These is a great deal of commentary on today's released redacted version of the GAO Tanker Decision. We have some observations of our own but first we want to point out some analysis by others:

Dr. Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute released a new brief on the GAO decision titled Tanker Fiasco: Five Steps to Fix the Problem. In it he makes it clear he is for rebidding the contract sooner rather than later. He also believes that changing the bid criteria will only delay the process and that there is a "simple problem to fix -- not by developing new capability metrics, but by finding competent evaluators to apply the existing ones." Sounds like a call for some personnel changes in Air Force procurement.

We have also received a rather comprehensive set of GAO KC-X Decision Talking Points from our members the Hill. The strongest points are that in addition to the number of errors made by the Air Force, the KC-30 may not have even been eligible for the contract because: 1) the KC-30 proposal did not meet the minimum required task to establish a depot maintenance capability within two year after the delivery of the first full-rate production aircraft. 2) The KC-30 proposal failed to prove that it could refuel all currently compatible planes using current Air Force procedures.

Also, while not really an analysis Senator Jeff Sessions did released a statement that highlights extremely well many of the points KC-30 supporters have been making since the GAO decision: 1) The GAO’s concerns were strictly related to the Air Force’s selection process, not the merits of the KC-30 2) The Air Force is the agency to best determine which tanker it wants 3) The tankers are need now rather than later 4) Further comments will be made after Air Force’s response to the GAO decision is known.

On point #4 above, the experts at TruthyPR believe that waiting for the Air Force answer is the worst thing they can be doing. Instead he offers that the KC-30 team:
...should have followed [the GAO decision] up with a response that they welcomed a rebid, but since it would result in the same outcome, and because the tankers are desperately needed by our men and women in harm's way, there's no reason to delay.

The goal is to promulgate the message that a new process is going to generate the same outcome. And if you don't start saying it, nobody else will believe it.
Well count us as not believing it, even if they do start saying it more forcefully.


Anonymous said...

If Jeff Sessions said it is not on the merits of the tanker what would you call not being able to prove being able to refuel all current aircraft?

ewaggin said...

Boeing's offer met all of the mandatory requirements of the RFP.

Airbus' offer did not meet two of the mandatory requirements.

First, it failed to provide a plan for transitioning to depot-level maintenance within two years.

Second, it failed at being able to refuel all lf the fixed-wing aircraft in the AF inventory.

Therefore, the Airbus offer is disqualified.

The only qualified offer is the one made by Boeing. The AF must therefore award the contract to Boeing.

That's the right answer.

Depending on how determined the AF and DOD procurement authorities are to defend their incompetence, it may take a while for them to acknowledge that it's the right answer.

But under no circumstances should the AF and DOD be allowed to reopen the bidding.

Anonymous said...

Makeing it up as you go! GAO said their analysis should not be viewed on the merits or either aircraft just the process on 8 counts of the 111 Boeing protested. Now your deciding for the AF that has 60 days. Rebid - don't blame you having Boeing lose twice would be hard to swallow in Washington State. Think we'll wait to heard what the AF has to say rather than you ewaggin! unless your the new Chief of AF Staff- ROFLMAO

Aurora said...

Agree 100%. NG's bid was "non-responsive". How on earth the USAF allowed it to proceed to award has to be the central issue here. This simply can't be explained away by incompetence! I see where Congressman Waxman's committee has scheduled a hearing on July 15 and the head of the GAO will testify. Perhaps we'll start getting some answers?

This has gone too far, and the disclosures are too damning, for a re-bid. This award must be over turned and the RFP re-scored. Since there's only one responsive bidder, the outcome is obvious: KC-767.

Anonymous said...

Agree completely the Northrop award and past performance, they have no $18B FIT disaster, a Border Fence, or imprisoned executives. I'll be certain and stop by my congressmans Waxmans home office 3 miles away tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

An interesting additional problem with the A330 is described in this article:

For example, the A330 is limited by flight-control software to a maximum speed of 330kt (610km/h), which falls short of the minimum speed that the USAF requires to conduct a so-called "overrun" manoeuvre.

Northrop first responded to this shortfall by advising the USAF to change its manoeuvre speed, but lost the argument, the GAO reports. The USAF then accepted Northrop's claim that the A330 already safely achieves higher speeds in dives. The GAO noted that a commercial aircraft's maximum operating speed applies to any regime of flight, but the USAF evaluator was unaware of this.

This rather dramatically affects the ability of certain aircraft to perform a 'breakaway maneuver,' particualrly when heavyweight.

This alone ought to have damn near been a showstopper sice it would apparently require refueling of certain aircraft that were heavily laden with munitions to be done in a dive rather than in level refueling.

This thing just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.....

Anonymous said...

Something to consider about the NG/Airbus Team’s refusal to provide a depot maintenance plan. Without a domestic depot maintenance capability, then the USAF would be handing a de facto veto to Airbus on its power projection capabilities. Can we be sure that if the EC does not support a projection of US power overseas that Depot Maintenance would occur? Before you answer this question, remember that France DID NOT give the US overflight rights on its strike on Libya in the 80's. Perhaps there were multiples reason for the rejection of this requirement by the Airbus/NG team?