Wings Magazine

News
American conservatives unite in opposition to U.S. Air Force tanker deal

March 31, 2008, Washington, DC – Today leading voices in the conservative movement hosted a press conference to call on members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to immediately review the Air Force’s recent award of a $35 billion tanker contract.


March 31, 2008
By Carey Fredericks

March 31, 2008, Washington, DC – Today leading voices in the conservative movement hosted a press conference to call on members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to immediately review the Air Force’s recent award of a $35 billion tanker contract on the grounds that questionable changes to the Air Force’s “Request for Proposals” (RFP) may have undermined the integrity of our defense acquisitions process and harmed US national security. 

The Center for Security Policy, Frontiers of Freedom, Let Freedom Ring, the American Cause, 60 Plus, Free America and the Institute for Liberty have formed a coalition to mount a unified opposition to the award of the contract to EADS / Airbus.

In their joint letter to the Committees, the coalition members stated: “We are concerned about the process by which the Defense Department has awarded a $35 billion contract to build America’s new fleet of air tankers to the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), and about the contract’s implications for national security.”

The letter highlights changes made to the contract guidelines, at the behest of EADS lobbyists and voices in Congress, which would grant exemptions to the French based company regarding the export of sensitive military technologies like anti-missile systems.  This dangerous exemption would allow the company to sell these technologies to rogue nations like Iran that are threats to the nation’s security.

Advertisment

Additionally, the letter condemns the illegal subsidies that EADS / Airbus received while developing the airframe that was selected by the Air Force.  “The Department of Defense originally established an offsetting provision in the bidding process to account for the fact that EADS has received billions of dollars in illegal government subsidies,” states the letter.  “Yet the Department of Defense changed the bidding rules midway through the process so that these illegal subsidies could not be considered in any way.” 

Other changes were made to the bidding rules during the process that gave the foreign conglomerate an unfair advantage including the evaluation criteria for the size of the plane wanted by the Air Force.  “The Department of Defense inexplicably changes the evaluation criteria during the bidding process such that the larger EADS aircraft was given an advantage over the mid-sized 767 Boeing aircraft.  If the size of the aircraft was an important criterion, why was this only discovered midway through the process?” asked the letter to the congressional committees of jurisdiction. 

By outsourcing this contract to a foreign company that has undertaken nothing less than a trade war against the U.S. economy, this coalition of leading conservative groups is concerned that we have outsourced our very national security.