News Releases

GAO Tanker Decision: Major Victory for Washington State Aerospace Industry

Jun 18 2008

Sustains Boeing Protest, Serious Contract Flaws Found

"Today, the GAO sustained Boeing's protest and confirmed what I have been saying for months – the Air Force’s tanker decision was fundamentally flawed.

"I am not surprised that the GAO identified significant errors in the selection process.  The Air Force bought a tanker that doesn't meet their needs and has been waging a PR campaign ever since.   

"Today's announcement comes shortly following Defense Secretary Robert Gates' request for resignations of the Air Force Secretary and Chief of Staff.  And just last week the Air Force admitted that it had made large scale errors regarding the cost of the Airbus and Boeing proposals.

"But for the past three months the Pentagon has refused to account for how this competition was decided.  Official after official has stonewalled all efforts by Congress to get to the bottom of it.  It is time for real answers to hard questions. 

"I look forward to a thorough and honest response by the Air Force to the GAO ruling.  But my concerns have always gone beyond the issues within the scope of a GAO decision. 

"The GAO did not, and could not, consider the key policy issues this contract raises – such as illegal subsidies, real-world operating costs, economic impacts, and the importance of maintaining our most critical advantage: innovation through American defense-oriented research and development.

"It is Congress’ job to determine whether major defense purchases meet the needs of our warfighter and deserve taxpayer funding.  The Pentagon must both justify its decision and address the flawed process that led to today’s ruling.

"We need answers before handing billions of American defense dollars to a subsidized, foreign company focused on dismantling the American aerospace industry."