House Adds Language to Force Pentagon to Consider Subsidies to Defense Authorization Bill

The House of Representatives in their vote on the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill added an amendment sponsored by Washington and Kansas members to force the Pentagon to consider the WTO ruling on illegal subsidies when it comes time to consider EADS’ (EADS:P) bid. The Pentagon has made it clear in the past that their contracting and acquisition laws and regulations do not allow them to factor that into their cost evaluations. This language if it is in the final version of the bill when it is passed after Conference will supposedly make them do that.

One question though is the Air Force plans to receive bids on July and announce a decision in the late Fall. There is a good chance that the source selection if it follows that schedule will be complete before the bill makes it out of Congress. While the Authorization Act often is done before the Appropriations one it is often not complete by 30 September as it should be. The Pentagon could also argue to ignore the language setting up some sort of court fight. EADS could also adjust their prices to take into account the effect of the WTO ruling.

Comments (1)

Congress Continues To Try And Micromange KC-X Process

In the latest move by Congress to try and get the U.S. Air Force and DoD to consider the WTO rulings on EADS (EADS:P) subsidies, legislation has been introduced that will require at least a report by the Pentagon on their affect on the competition.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) (No shock there?) is trying to amend the 2011 Defense Authorization Act to require the Air Force to detail the advantage the subsidies gives EADS prior to issuing the contract. Since the DoD cannot consider the ruling in awarding the contract this at least gets a record out of the effect (if any) on the contest.

Comments (1)

Reports Boeing Unhappy With Fixed Price KC-X Contract

Last week reports started to come out that Boeing (BA) may not bid on the KC-X new aerial tanker program. This was due to concerns that the Air Force’s plans for a fixed price development and first production contract may not allow the company to make a profit.

Boeing has denied these reports and it would certainly seem strange for them not to after all of the arguing and noise about giving the contract to them for American jobs. There is though real concern that the contract may limit the ability of the winner to make money on it. In the past fixed price contracts for development often have not worked costing the contractor millions that it can only hope to make up on production.

It would be somewhat ironic that the Pentagon’s desire to limit their cost and exposure would cause even more delays to this critical program. One that is so critical that a sixty day delay in the RFP process has been attacked by legislators, media, retired military and unions.

Comments (1)

U.S. Trade Representative Frustrated With Protests

The U.S. Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, recently addressed European journalists. He expressed concerns that because there were really only two main rivals for this contract that they would automatically complain and protest an award to the other. He hoped that in the future the two companies, Boeing (BA) and EADS (EADS:P), would show “maturity and discipline”.

Unfortunately if EADS does submit a bid and Boeing wins there will most likely be a protest filed. The same if the other happens. Right now there is no guarantee that EADS will bid but reports are that they are considering it and requested more time from the Defense Department. There are only two real competitors for this contract. If the Pentagon wants competition they will need them to bid.

As in 2008 the loser will probably protest. There is always a chance that they will win and at least get a re-hearing. Worst case could be a fourth attempt at buying this critical aircraft. Mr. Kirk may want a situation with no protests but he most likely won’t get it.

Comments (1)

As Expected Alabama Press Critical Of Air Force RFP

Writing in support of Northrop Grumman and the “Mobile region” the Mobile Press-Register has and editorial summing up the situation on the new RFP from their view. They do not demand that the RFP be changed or the contract be given to Northrop and EADS but they do point out that:

“If Northrop pulls out of the contest, Boeing may get the tanker contract, but the entire deal will be tainted — first by Boeing’s own corruption and collusion with some Pentagon officials several years ago over an earlier version of the tanker deal, and second by a decision-making process that puts politics above defense needs.”

It is true that a single bid competition is not much of a competition.

Leave a Comment

OSD Committed To Current KC-X Strategy

Ashton Carter the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD (AT&L), who is the head “weapons buyer” at the Pentagon had a press availability recently. At this he stated he is committed to the current plan for the KC-X program with a final RFP coming out by the end of the year. The draft RFP in his eyes was less subjective then past ones and the questions from industry are being used to shape the final RFP. He is confident that the Air Force will get it right on their third try. It will have to be seen if this is true.

Leave a Comment