Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thompson: GAO will Find Fault with Tanker Contract

On Saturday the Mobile Register reported highly influential defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute predicting that the KC-30 team will be disappointed by the Government Accountability Office's ruling on the U.S. Air Force tanker contract:
"GAO almost certainly will find problems" with the Air Force's selection process, said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. "The only question is how significant those problems will be. But I think the likelihood is that they will favor Boeing, and that would not be good news for Mobile."
Dr. Thompson is later quoted as saying:
"If you're one of Boeing's supporters, there's no such thing as a minor problem," Thompson said. "GAO has to show that they're giving serious consideration to Boeing's protest, and for that reason I think they uphold at least some of their complaints. And then the catch for Northrop and the Air Force becomes, is an 80 percent confidence level good enough? What about 60 or 70?"
We at Tanker War Blog believe that due to the limited scope of the GAO review, there will probably not be a recommendation to rebid the tanker contract. We also feel though that the certainty level for the Air Force on this contact will eventually be below any percentage mentioned by Dr. Thompson. We can not how see many, if not all, of the issues that have raised previously will not be upheld by the GAO. Issues such as:
1) Changing the criteria for the IFARA model
2) Placing more value on exceeding cargo/pax/fuel load than was stipulated in the final RFP
3) Past performance rating and proposal risk
4) Calculation of life cycle costs to include new construction costs.
In the end we believe Congresses will play a large, if not decisive, part in determine a way out of the botched tanker contract. If Boeing gets even partial victories from the GAO and the WTO we can see no way the KC-30 team gets the tanker contract.

Be prepared to hear much more talk about a split buy.


Aurora said...

A split buy as in 4 KC-30s specified in the original contract, and 175 KC-767s? Most of us would be happy with that outcome. It would give t he "bigger is better" generals 4 airframes to play with, while the USAF would get the more flexible and survivable aircraft: the Boeing KC-767.

Anonymous said...

767 survivable! What part of the kill chain could any commercial airframe effect. Oh yes, I keep forgetting the Radar Cross Section of a 767 is that of a gnat. Oh Please....a contract split never!

Jesse Perry said...

Well, it looks like Loren Thompson was right and TankerBlog was wrong.

Tanker War Blog said...

Actually, if you read Dr. Thompson's quotes and his brief on this subject he did not believe there would be a rebid decision either.

If fact we stated at the time we believe that the GAO would find more to be wrong than he believed.

But, yes we were wrong on the rebid call. We are not embarrassed, but are very glad we were wrong.

Tanker War Blog

Tanker War Blog said...

I told the rest of the team that we would be completly vindicated by the GAO. But did they

Next time we'll see who gets to answer for the group!

The True Believing Tanker War Blogger