At this point, one has to wonder. A hot tip from Dow Jones Newswires that Pentagon acquisition point man Ken Krieg has “reviewed” the study offers no solace. The AOA saga is long. First rumors pegged its turnover to the Pentagon for November 2004. Nine months later, in August 2005, there was still no report, but word surfaced that it was in the building and was undergoing a two-month—or more—review by the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation. In mid-November, we heard that USAF had requested additional alternatives from AOA principal author Rand. A week later, word leaked that USAF would release the amplified AOA by mid-December. At some point, the Pentagon also enlisted the help of the Institute for Defense Analyses. Was this a case of sending it back till the Pentagon top dogs got the answer they wanted? Like, the Air Force doesn’t need a new aircraft; it can simply re-engine (again) the corrosion-ridden KC-135E airframes.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.