Setting the Bar

The successful KC-46A tanker contract is proof that the Air Force has cleaned up its source-selection process, said Gen. Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command. “We’ve turned a corner with source selection,” said Hoffman Wednesday during an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Program presentation in Arlington, Va. “The KC-46 itself really puts us on the path of controlling the costs, not only with production and development, but throughout the lifecycle,” he added. Unlike other major acquisition programs, the new tanker contract includes a fixed price for development as well as some incentive fees to encourage contractors to continue reducing costs. The government also intends to reduce pass-through payments to the prime contractor on items, such as engines and other major parts, by furnishing the parts itself once the risks have been assessed, Hoffman said. “The amount of effort we put into that fairly visible—and some would say highly charged—source-selection process is not applicable to every source selection we do,” he said. “There aren’t enough people in the universe to do that with every source selection, but the process is the same.”