The Air Force Tanker Decision: Over To The Next President

Few military procurment decisions have dragged on for so long, or generated so much controversy, as the Air Force’s current efforts to choose between rivals BA and NOC(in partnership with EAD.PA) in awarding a $35 billion contract for a new aerial refueling tanker aircraft. But with time running short to award the politically contentious contract before the election, Defense Secretary Robert Gates ended the competition on Sept. 10. Now, the decision on who will get the lucrative award will be left to the next President and Congress, as this article on explains. Gates, noting the level of politicization, emotions, and complexities that include the potential for continuing legal and political challenges, called for a “cooling off” period and said the military’s ability to do its job would not be hurt by the delay.

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