Wed, Sep 17, 2008
But Agrees 'Cooling-Off' Period Was Needed
Acting US Air Force Secretary Michael Donley is frustrated that
after seven years, there's still no replacement in the pipeline for
the service's half-century-old KC-135 aerial tankers.
The Associated Press reports Donley told the Air Force
Association's annual conference Monday the latest failed attempt to
award the $35 billion contract was "a missed opportunity."
Donley agrees that a "cooling-off period" called by Defense
Secretary Robert Gates --
postponing the third attempt to bid the
contract until the next administration takes
office in January -- was needed. But, he adds, the Air Force needs
to make its acquisition process more capable of handling complex
technological programs, and fend off the growing number of protests
filed by losing bidders.
"None of us can yet answer the question, 'Where do we go from
here?'" Donley said. "This experience has not been a healthy one
for the Air Force, or for the (Department of Defense) or for the
contractors or for our working relationship with each other or
General Norton Schwartz, the new Air Force chief of staff, told
reporters Monday that awarding a new contract will take between
eight months and four years, but insisted, "It's not dead."
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