“Too Many Delays”

The leaders of the Senate Tanker Caucus expressed dismay at Northrop Grumman’s threatened pull out from the KC-X tanker competition, but they believe the Air Force should press on. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), co-chairmen of the caucus, said in a statement: “Though competition would likely improve the final product, we have experienced far too many delays in this process already. … We believe the Air Force should proceed with its process, even if one company decides not to submit a proposal.” The latest word from Defense Secretary Robert Gates was that the Pentagon would “make a judgment” about changes after considering all comments on the KC-X draft request for proposals. There are varying views as to whether Northrop’s pull out threat is simply posturing or the real deal.