Keep it Fair

That’s the advice Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has for Defense Secretary Robert Gates concerning the Air Force’s KC-X tanker contest. “The competition has to be completely above board,” Reed told defense reporters Wednesday in Washington D.C., when asked for the counsel he’d give Gates. Reed said he thinks Gates is already “acutely aware” of this. Reed also said the competition has to be one that “both the competitors agree is fair” upfront. (This one may not be so easy. See above.) Reed said the tanker contest is still going to be a tough political battle on Capitol Hill. But Congress may now have a deeper appreciation than last year for “the difficult choices” that Gates has to make and may be more inclined than last time to accept the Pentagon’s decisions on KC-X if those two factors are present.