Ball in Pentagon’s Court

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday the Defense Department may accelerate the process of awarding the KC-X tanker contract now that Boeing is the sole remaining offeror after Northrop Grumman’s withdrawal from the contest on Monday. According to a Reuters news wire service report, Whitman said DOD “may be in a position” to reduce “some of those milestones” in the current timeline, which sets the deadline for turning in proposals in mid-May and anticipates the contract award around mid-September. Also on Tuesday, Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing’s commercial airplane sector, who ran Boeing’s defense business through August 2009, said the next move is up to the Pentagon. “It’s really in the hands of the customer right now, how they want to proceed,” he told attendees at an aviation conference in New York. (See also Bloomberg wire service’s March 9 report)