Only a handful of members of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee showed up to hear the Air Force leadership lay their plans for fiscal year 2010 during a hearing on Capitol Hill this morning.
Despite the scarce attendance, there certainly was not a lack of questions for Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, particularly from Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS).
As you can imagine, the duo who serve as Boeing's most vocal supporters in the House had many questions about the service's KC-X next-generation tanker competition. Unfortunately, the top two service leaders provided no new insight on a release date for the latest request for proposals or the criteria that will be used to determine a new winner. Who will serve as the source selection authority also is still up in the air.
“We hope to take the work we've developed thus far to the secretary very soon and to have him give us his direction on how to proceed,” Donley said. “We are hopeful that the new request for proposals will be out on the street this summer.”
I At one point toward the end of the hearing, Dicks and Tiahrt went back and fourth in almost rapid fire succession arguing that the industrial base in the United States should be taken into account when selecting a winner.
Dicks served as the acting chairman in the absence of subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-PA). Ranking Member C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) -- who also did not attend the hearing -- along with Murtha did pop in literally as Schwartz was walking out the hearing room door with his entourage.