Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne told lawmakers last week that the service expects to award a KC-X tanker contract in January, not Feb. 29 as staffers for Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told media in Mobile. Perhaps there is some confusion with the CSAR-X combat search and rescue helicopter program award, which Wynne said USAF now expects to award in mid-February. At an Oct. 24 House Armed Services Committee hearing, Wynne said on the KC-X award, “We right now are treating both competitors with extreme fairness. … We have done a very serious look at what they’ve done, and I still hope that we can by January of next year come to an agreement and award the KC-X contract, and that’s where I’m aiming.”
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.