Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dueling Talking Points: GAO Decision

The KC-30 team has struck back at the GAO report with a set of talking points that uses many of TruthyPR's suggestions. The KC-30 team's conclusion: It is the Air Force's decision if a rebid is needed. But if they do decide to rebid it, the result would be the same.

Boeing, as you might expect, has a slightly different view and has provided us with some talking points of their own. In their view the KC-30 does not even meet the RFP requirements and may not even be able to be considered.

We have combined both companies' statements to form this Dueling Talking Points paper which is housed on our documents site. Please note that although we used many of their statements verbatim, this not a Boeing document. We have edited some of their points and added some of our own.

As a side note, the Air Force just announced they had not ask the Government Accountability Office to reconsider its tanker decision. The Air Force did not file any request for reconsideration during the initial 10-day period after the decision. Many experts agree this means that Air Force, as a practical matter, has waived its right to appeal.

In the spirit of a good feud, please be sure to hit play above to listen to a song while reading the talking points. The song is popularly known as "Dueling Banjos" and is an instrumental composition that was made famous in the 1972 movie Deliverance.

The song was arranged and performed in the movie for guitar and banjo by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel and was on the movie's soundtrack album. After the movie's release, the song went straight to #2 on the U.S. pop charts. From March 17, 1973 - April 6, 1973 the Dueling Banjos EP was the #1 album on the Billboard 200.

The piece though was originally composed by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith and Don Reno as a duel between a 5-string banjo and a tenor banjo entitled Feuding Banjos in Charlotte, North Carolina 1955. Not initially given credit for his work by the producers of the movie, Arthur Smith had to sue to set the record straight.

We at Tanker War Blog believe in setting the record straight. The GAO has done its part by determining the Air Force made significant errors and should rebid the tanker contract.

We hope that by posting the dueling talking points we have done our part in setting the record straight on what the GAO decision means.


Anonymous said...

The KC-30 team's conclusion: It is the Air Force's decision if a rebid is needed. But if they do decide to rebid it, the result would be the same.

That's hard to square with the GAOs comments that inappropriate changes in selection criteria in favor of the Airbus bird threw the competition to Airbus in what would have bben an otherwiser tight race.

Look, the Air Force has to make the decision here, and they have only three realistic options.
1. Regrade the source selection in accordance with the original RFP....which would give the contract to Boeing.
2. Rebid the whole thing according to the original RFP....which would do the same.
3. Change the RFP (if they have valid needs documentation to do so) to reflect that they really don't want a MEDIUM tanker, they want something longer and with a greater wingspan than their existing LARGE tanker, the KC-10A extender, and rebid the program. But if they do the latter, they are now coming up with a NEW program under procurement law, which means its back to square one. If Boeing then wants to submit a 777 proposal (or 747 or 787 either, for that matter) they can do that since the 767 would be inappropriate for a HEAVY tanker contract. That puts the whole process back at least two, more probably three years from a source selection decision.

All of which I'm sure is driving the SecDef bonkers right now. Basically, nothing but disqualifying the Airbus entry is likely to get this program to stop spinning its wheels. Now, in fact, the KC-135s ARE doing the job. Originally they were tasked to support SAC B-52s worldwide, when we had hundreds more than we do currently, so this is NOT time critical at present. The problem is the KC-135s are really not particularly fuel efficient (besides being a half-century old).

Funding this program out of the currently projected FYDP was ALWAYS going to be problematic, but funding it while having to pay fuel costs for retaining inefficient KC-135s will make that even worse.

Anonymous said...

The release announces that the KC-45's refueling boom has completed its 100th flight.

I can't help but laugh at the way they spin this.


These flights have been done on an A310 testbed aircraft. So far I believe the boom has accumulated 300 flight hours or so. The tanker aircraft sold to Australia still don't have the boom (and already they've decided to convert several of these to VIP aircraft and not use them as tankers at all, which may tell you something about how intensively the Aussies looked at that particular procurement (that's out of a total buy of five (5).)

At the same time they denigrate the Boeing boom. This boom has been flying for some time, and is the fifth generation of booms developed by Boeing for the USAF.


Yet somehow Airbus expects people to believe the Boeing boom somehow represents a higher risk than the EADS one.

Who is foolish enough to believe that?