Why split tanker contract?

Published 3:39 am Monday, February 2, 2009

By Staff
U.S. Rep. John Murtha's idea to “split” a refueling tanker contract between Boeing and Northrup Grumman is the political equivalent of giving everyone who plays Little League a trophy just because they participated.
The politics behind this decision making process has become ridiculous. The Air Force decided, fair and square, in a legitimate bid competition, that Northrup Grumman had the better plane.
Boeing and its well-placed friends threw a fit, implying to anyone who would listen that because Northrup was paired with French company EADS, the Air Force was outsourcing jobs. Never mind that the jobs would actually be located in south Alabama, an area that has worked hard to attract economic development projects.
After Boeing's protest of the tanker decision, the government decided the selection process was flawed, so now we're getting ready for a do-over.
Murtha's latest suggestion is absurd. Boeing and EADS have two different planes; the idea that the companies would work together and share trade secrets is out of the question.
If EADS has the better plane, the company should win, and quickly, especially since the current fleet of tankers is half a century old. As U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said Saturday, we need to do what is best for the soldier. They deserve no less.
It's a fact of life even Little Leaguers learn early. Sometimes, someone has to lose.