The choice of a contractor to build the Long-Range Strike Bomber will be delayed from the initial forecast of “late spring” 2015, but more important is “getting it right,” Air Force acquisition chief William LaPlante said. “It doesn’t matter to me if it’s done June 1 or July 1 or August 1,” as long as the contract is properly structured, he told reporters after an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast in Arlington, Va. Asked why the award is delayed, LaPlante said, “it’s a lot of work. First of all, the teams are killing themselves,” and there continues to be a flurry of back-and-forth questions between the contractors and the Air Force that must be answered and checked. “It’s only done when it’s really done,” he said, adding that he thinks it was a “good take” for Congress to subtract $460 million from the program in Fiscal 2015 because the service wouldn’t be able to spend the whole amount anyway. Though LaPlante declined to call the contract as it is being structured “protest proof,” he did note that out of 140,000 Air Force awards last year, only 140 were protested, and of those, only two were sustained, with “corrective action” on just 20.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.