Jun 04 2009

AF Chief to Shelby: We Want Best Possible Airplane

Senator Richard Shelby, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, today at a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2010 Air Force budget questioned Air Force Secretary, Michael Donley, and Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, regarding the upcoming aerial refueling tanker competition.  Shelby has been an outspoken proponent of a fair, open, and transparent competition that delivers the most advanced, versatile, and capable tanker for the warfighter.  Shelby believes such a process will ensure that the safety of our warfighters and the security of our nation will be the top priorities.  During the hearing, Shelby made the following statement:

SHELBY: “It has been my long-held, continued belief that our military should procure the most capable tanker possible for our airmen using a fair, open, and transparent acquisition process.  In separate discussions earlier this year, both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Acquisition Chief Dr. Ashton Carter assured me this would be the case.  This process should also utilize a best value method that does not contain an option based purely on lowest cost.  I will closely follow the upcoming KC-X procurement process to ensure our men and women in uniform receive the best equipment possible.” 

In advocating for the best possible tanker, Shelby has also argued against a competition strictly based on price. Under questioning from Shelby on this issue, General Schwartz stated:

GENERAL SCHWARTZ: “We want to get the best possible airplane as quickly as we possibly can.”