Sat, Mar 10, 2007
But Nonbinding Ruling Carries Little Weight
The US Air Force and the US Government Accountability Office are
facing off over a contract that some competitors say was improperly
awarded to Boeing.
As Aero-News reported, the
$15 billion CSAR-X contract award for a new search-and-rescue
helicopter was challenged by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, who said
the Air Force changed the method by which it evaluated operating
costs from that which was specified in the original request for
proposal. The General Accounting Office agreed, and said the
bidding should be reopened.
The Air Force responded that it would narrowly interpret the
GAO's statement -- essentially treating it as a recommendation --
but move as quickly as possible to get the new Boeings into
But the General Accounting Office isn't backing down. On
Wednesday, it gave the Air Force 60 days to comply with its ruling
urging the service to reopen bidding.
There are no real teeth here, only political pressure -- as GAO
rulings are nonbinding. The Air Force can adopt the recommendations
fully within 60 days, or notify GAO that it does not plan to do
On paper, the Air Force can go ahead. But when military
appropriations come before Congress, it's probably not good to have
the federal government's auditors mad at you.
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