Lynn To Lead Tanker Buy?

Lynn To Lead Tanker Buy?

Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn may well play the lead role in managing the KC-X tanker competition, his boss indicated.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Senate Appropriatiions defense subcommittee that he would decide within the next week whether the Air Force would lead the competition or the Office of Secretary of Defense would. Gates may have tipped his hand – though it’s hard to tell with the cagey old intel player – when he told the Senate panel Tuesday that he was looking for the “best people” to run this program and then added that Lynn would take a “very close interest” in the program.

If the decision is made by then, the ripples will flow through the Paris Air Show, with Boeing and Northrop analyzing every possible repercussion.


The Air Force is eager to demonstrate it can do the job and wants the authority to manage what it regards as a core program. But the service’s disastrous management of the program through last year means the service will have to present some very convincing arguments to Gates, who continues to indicate unease with service acquisition competence.

“There were too few people who came to work in the Pentagon asking, what can I do today to make sure that our warriors come home safely. Without top down direction from sec def it would not have happened,” Gates told the Senate panel, speaking about the building when he arrived. But the defense secretary did indicate things are beginning to improve: “I believe the services are changing the way they do business.” Of course, the begs the question, if they are beginning to improve, would the Air Force be ready to handle a major procurement of such sensitivity.

The question for the tanker competition will be whether Gates thinks the Air Force has changed enough to warrant his trust in managing one of the most watched defense procurements in history.

Join the Conversation

If the AF can’t handle a program to buy an aircraft — we are in deep trouble! But one thing that will increase costs and slow down procurement is more involvement by OSD. The lower level that you allow people to make decisions the better off you are. Decisions could be reviewed at the OSD level but please don’t have them handle the procurement decisions.

Considering that the problem is more the industry (and Congress!) than the USAF, I’m not so sure that it matters who runs the program! Everyone claims that “split buy” was far too expensive, completely unworkable, etc., but you’re going to be sued for any single-contractor award. That’s a guarantee. Even if the Holy Ghost came down from heaven and said “N/G GETS TO BUILD THE TANKER”, Boeing would sue (and vice versa.)

If Gates believes that “too few people come to work in the Pentagon asking how can I make sure our warriers come home safely,” he has not been in the same building in which I have been. What the Sec Def should be worrying about is why and where he sends the warriors to start with. And answering the question of why Afghanistan and why this level of commitment with no logical end in sight is what he needs to puzzle over and leave the warfighting to the professionals

They can sue, but if the process is done right, they will lose.

As long as Congress treats DOD as its own special pork program, and is unwilling to impose “conflict of interest” rules on itself that it has imposed on DOD procurement officers, procurement practices will not change. Just try reading the Federal Acquisition Regulations/DAR SUPPLEMENT!!!!

The idea that we still don’t have a design for something that for the most part is 1950s tech is really pretty sad. We spend as much money figuring out which one we want to get as we do buying the first 10 of them. Imagine if we had just said, well what’s on the market now and put a team of like 10 guys together to pick one of them to buy. We would already have these things.

ya i say overhall the aquisitions programs

I would love to see sustainment costs for the old ass KC-767. Now the KC-777 I think would be a game changer!

In the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division we had a saying that challenged leaders by asking “What have you done for PFC Warrior today?” In times of bad leadership the soldiers might ask “What have you dome TO PFC Warrior today?”

Soldiers and Airman deserve the best equipment and the best leadership. When the AF chose the Airbus 330 as the next tanker, I feel there was a huge breach in the decision making process.

EADS is funded by European governments who could care less about the United States or PFC Warrior. Boeing has been in the business of supporting PFC Warrior since it’s inception and it is an AMERICAN company.

The A330 is a very capable airplane, yet the B-767 is as well. I say keep the contract in America and let DOD have the decision making authority for the KC-X program. It’s obvious the AF leadership or lack there of cannot get it right.

Lynn came from DOD to K street back to DOD and Obama promised no more lobbiests to come to and from govt but now this boeing hack will ensure that the unions and boeing get the plane as EADS and NGs idea of insourcing jobs at a time when America could use some good competition will not happen. Why does Gates continue to hang on for this fool Obama and his puppets of Pelosi and Ried

JD, Don’t forget the N/G part of the KC-45 or the workers assembling parts in Alabama. I’m a Huge fan of the “What have you done for the PFC Warrior today?” work code, by the way. Thats the way military management should work!
Lets get a look at how Boeing management has performed on the sustainment/upgrade contracts with the KC-135 and exactly where they source their production parts from before we paint them red white and blue and give them a blank check.

Ask why Gates is so miffed at the Air Force? What’s their history on this program? If the Deputy Secretary can’t be the lead for a major system acquisition what’s he doing there? Delegating this decision down is not the answer.

What a crock… US society needs tanker aircraft about as bad as it needs more cases of AIDS and Syphilis. These are nothing more than tools for barbaric imperialists. Oh oh oh! I forgot their are evil monsters out there that are trying to destroy our freedoms. The funny thing is even if they could build an invisible viking ship and sail over here and conquer the US what would the US become? Why it would become a phony religious phony capitalist country that mistreats women. Wow, what a big revolution that would be!

Back on your meds Buddah–

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