News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – A bipartisan delegation of Senators from Washington state and Kansas today called on Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ensure that the Air Force debriefs Boeing on the justification for their tanker contract decision this week.  

In statements to both Boeing and the press, the Air Force has said that they won't debrief Boeing until March 12th. The bipartisan delegation called for immediate answers to the Air Force’s decision to award a $40 billion contract to the European company Airbus. 

The full text of the bi-partisan letter follows:

March 3, 2008

The Honorable Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000  

The Honorable Michael W. Wynne
Secretary of the Air Force
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670

Dear Secretary Gates and Secretary Wynne: 

We write today to request your assistance in having the Air Force debrief the Boeing Company by the end of this week on their tanker decision.  It is our understanding that Members of Congress and the public will not be able to access the details of the Air Force’s decision until the bidders have been debriefed.  While we appreciate the attention and resources the Air Force has recently invested in the critical issue of the tanker decision, this report needs to be debriefed so the bidders, and in turn Congress and the public, can fully understand the rationale for the decision 

The Air Force made their decision, now it must start the debriefing process.  If the Air Force was prepared to make the decision, then they should be able to begin the debriefing process immediately.  Our understanding was that the Air Force initially planned to debrief bidders within four days of the decision; now the Air Force says it intends to wait until March 12th - nearly two weeks after the Air Force’s announcement. 

We appreciate your immediate attention to this matter and again request that the Air Force debrief Boeing by the end of the week.

Sincerely,

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA 6th), Todd Tiahrt (R-KS 4th), Adam Smith (D-WA 9th), Rick Larsen (D-WA 2nd), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5th)