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Author Topic: Air Force tanker contract dispute  (Read 4594 times)

Offline top_spear

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Air Force tanker contract dispute
« on: June 05, 2008, 12:18:12 PM »
In every political campaign there comes a time when the ground game, or the ability to get more of your supporters out pressing your message, plays a decisive role.

In the Air Force tanker contract dispute, now is the time for both the KC-30 team/EADS and Boeing to finalize their ground games. With the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to rule on Boeing's protest by June 19th and the World Trade Organization (WTO) possibly also ruling this month on the US complaint of Airbus subsidies; each side must build their coalition now in order to take advantage of a favorable ruling or withstand a possible setback.

The KC-30 team has a much stronger political right now and has mainly stuck to holding employee rallies, astroturfing in the form of taxpayer groups, and coordinated letters written by military officers who are current/former employees. They also have a fairly decent "war room" that sends out e-mail updates to supporters.

For Boeing though, because it faces a much harder task of possibly getting the decision reversed in Congress if the GAO does not rule favorable, it must build support on the ground in key states and congressional districts beyond tanker employment areas. This article yesterday caught our eye as it shows the efforts being taken in West Virginia who's Senior Senator, Robert Byrd, is President pro tempore of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Since the move to reduce or overturn the tanker contract will probably come from the appropriations bills, having a West Virginia ground game will extremely important for Boeing.

The article points to a number of veterans who have written in protest to the Air Force or their elected officials including:

West Virginia’s best-known veteran, Hershel “Woody”Williams, sent the Air Force a letter of protest.

“As a Marine who served in Iwo Jima during World War II, it boils my blood every time I see an American flag labeled ‘Made in China,’” the Medal of Honor winner from Ona wrote.

“So I am even more dismayed that the Pentagon has chosen a foreign country to make military planes over a good American company. I hope this decision is reversed and that the Defense Department will put American interests first in equipping our armed forces in the future.”


The Air Force selection of an Airbus based tanker has stirred up some strong feelings in West Virgina and the rest of America. How those feelings are turned into constructive action and political power will play a key role in how the tanker decision plays out in the aftermath of the GAO and WTO rulings?


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