AFA Urges: Let the Process Work
Arlington, VA, March 14, 2008 – The Air Force Association, neutral as always on contract decisions, today defended U.S. Air Force efforts to acquire a tanker through a structured procedure and urged that the focus remain on rapidly adding new tankers to the fleet.
AFA leaders believe the Air Force has acted properly under the established rules and laws, been transparent about the process, followed a carefully set procedure, used an expert evaluation team, and prioritized the capabilities and costs as required under statute.
"AFA has always been neutral on contracts, and that continues,” said Bob Largent, Chairman of the Board for AFA. “Despite some criticism, we believe the Air Force has followed a fair, specific and clear procedure with independent oversight, a process that should be allowed to run its course so that new tankers are added to the fleet as quickly as possible."
"Since the days of Hap Arnold and Jimmy Doolittle, AFA has focused on policy and education – not on who earns contracts,” said Mike Dunn, President of AFA. “We must let this important process work for the good of the warfighter and the taxpayer. I am concerned that some could lose sight of the most important issue, which is that we need new tankers."
AFA recognizes a contractor’s right to protest an award, but urges all parties, including the GAO and Congress, to work quickly so that production can begin on new tankers. A reliable, efficient refueling capability is essential so that U.S. airpower remains effective anywhere on the globe.
AFA has long backed the effort to begin replacing the aging KC-135 fleet, which has become the Air Force’s number one procurement priority, among many significant needs. The aircraft of the KC-135 fleet average 46 years old already, and even when production begins on new tankers, the Air Force will depend on KC-135s for decades to come.
A viable tanker fleet is absolutely essential to every large-scale operation by our military, AFA leaders said, yet it will take many years of production to replace the entire fleet of 550 aircraft as is eventually necessary.
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