The Air Force has taken in stride the new protests over its combat search and rescue helicopter replacement program. Lockheed Martin filed a protest June 8 and Sikorsky filed one June 18, but both companies also filed their new submissions for the revised CSAR-X request for proposals on time to meet the June 19 deadline. USAF provided a 13-page response to contractor questions during the second round, rebuffing all criticism. In Washington, the Air Force’s military deputy for acquisition, Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman said in a statement: “Protests are part of the acquisition process. … The Air Force feels we have correctly adjusted the RFP to satisfy [Government Accountability Office] guidance and concerns.” The service has asked the GAO to use its “express option and expedited procedures to resolve this protest,” stated Hoffman.
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.