Who Chooses? It’s a Secret

The Air Force won’t say who the source selection authority is for the Long-Range Strike Bomber, but it’s not Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, he said Wednesday. “I’m completely isolated from that,” he told reporters in Washington, D.C. “I have no knowledge at all of what’s in the bids, … which I think is completely appropriate ,” Welsh said. A USAF spokesman said the service does not divulge such information, presumably to shield the SSA from people attempting to influence the choice. The request for proposals went out last year, and a choice is expected this summer. Welsh said he has visited both the Boeing/Lockheed Martin team and Northrop Grumman, and “I was very confident on where both teams were before they submitted bids … I was impressed by both—the work they’ve been doing—and so I’m excited to see how this moves forward.” Welsh reiterated that LRS-B requirements have not changed since they were set in 2010, adding the program has not changed. “I have not approved a single requirements change since I’ve been in this job. We are serious about maintaining the baseline cost,” which is $550 million apiece in baseline 2010 dollars, “and I think we can produce the bomber for that cost.”