Air Force Voices reader "Wayne" posed an interesting question in his comment to a 1 March post regarding the Tanker Controversy.
In an email conversation with Wayne, I agree...his idea merits a new posting rather than a comment. Here is what he writes in an effort to stem the Tanker Controversy:
"Compete for Market SHARE"
"There is little doubt that the tanker fleet needs to be re-capitalized ASAP. Continued debate about HOW to go about the required acquisition is causing an unwarranted delay in moving forward. At this point, a normally-budgeted acquisition could begin - but for delays caused by the controversy."
"The US DoD dominates the world market for in-flight refueling - there is no commercial competition to help keep costs in check. Planning a winner-take-all tanker competition cannot resolve this economics problem - either way, the winner has a monopoly after the competition."
"This comment is to propose that TWO contracts be awarded immediately - with the market share set at their respective production capacity for FY06 (say 90%/10% ?). Then, to ensure competition in the marketplace, which is the intent of the FAR, compete the MARKET SHARE each subsequent contract period (say every two years). By competitively adjusting the MARKET SHARE that each competing contractor has, both the performance of the aircraft and the contract execution (cost) performance can be evaluated continually over the course of the decade(s) that it will take to replace the current fleet of KC-135E/Rs."
"This way the DoD gets deliverable aircraft much sooner (a full-up contract RFP/ proposal/ evaluation/ award could take > year) & competition is ensured, both at award and throughout the term of the contract."
"Then consider having NATO put up the funds for the EADS aircraft, treating it as a FMS. Since it's a European developed aircraft, their NATO partners should put their acquisition $ where their R&D $ are. Not try to take over the whole market!"
Air Force Voices' take:
Wayne's idea is much better than the lease option which is getting more people into trouble these days. I think Wayne offers a fresh approach that should merit serious consideration by acquisition officials.
Talk about streamlined acquisition...this is a novel acquisition strategy that emphasizes quick delivery and better competition.
Air Force Voices thanks Wayne for sharing his idea. Let's hope someone in the acquisition hierarchy reads this and explores this strategy.