Spoken Like an ex-Marine:

Rep. John Murtha, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations defense subcommittee, said March 5 the Air Force’s KC-X tanker award to Northrop Grumman over Boeing will be scrutinized to ensure it best promotes national security. “This is not a done deal,” Murtha told reporters, the Washington Post reported March 6, after the two-hour-plus hearing with Air Force acquisition executive Sue Payton and senior service officials involved in the evaluation of the two tanker bids. Earlier during the hearing, Murtha had reaffirmed in a clear tone, without prejudice, the role and responsibility of his panel to ensure that issues such as manufacturing jobs and industrial base—which the Air Force, by law, could not factor in its decision—are considered before supporting the deal. “We want to make sure everybody’s treated fairly. We want to make sure you made the right decision. We want to support the right decision in this endeavor,” Murtha said in his introductory remarks. “You’ve got to remember this—this committee funds this program and all this committee has to do is stop the money and this program’s not going to go forward,” added Murtha, who also recalled the public outcry over the Dubai ports deal. Less middle of the road was Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), in whose state much of Boeing’s tanker work would have occurred. “My view of this thing is that there was a substantial mistake made here,” Dicks told reporters after the hearing. “My view is that the overwhelming case here is to stop this program and … do a procurement in which we say that this has to be built by a US company.”