"The Long War"

Landau, James James.Landau at NGC.COM
Wed Mar 21 13:22:34 UTC 2007

No, it does not sound "pretty believable" because North either ignores
or is ignorant of the lengthy political history of the tanker buy.

Several years ago the Air Force tried to get a first batch of tankers
from Boeing in a SOLE-SOURCE deal.  There was a big scandal, in which a
couple of people went to jail and from which Senator McCain got much
milage.  So the Air Force, after things had cooled down, tried again,
knowing this time that their procurement had to be sqeaky-clean or
Congress would never buy off on it.

Squeaky-clean means, among other things, having at least two plausible
vendors.  Since McDonnell-Douglas is now part of Boeing and since
Lockheed, contrary to what North said, has no plane of the right size to
bid, this meant the Air Force had to have a bid from Airbus to compete
against the Boeing bid.

This means that the Air Force had to do a little coaxing to get Airbus
to stay in the competition.  This coaxing took the form of fairly minor
rewriting of the specs to meet Airbus objections.  Please note that
Boeing never squawked about any of these rewrites---they knew what the
politics were.  Also the rewriting, North to the contrary, did NOT tilt
the specs against Boeing.

Other things that North got wrong: the well-publicized problems Airbus
is having with their A380 have no relevance to the tanker, which is
based on the A330 which has been in service for years.  The Air Force is
going to be quite careful not to let any of Airbus's European financial
shenanigans mess up the tanker buy.  Boeing will not be seriously hurt
by losing the bid, since they are bidding a plane (the Boeing 767) which
would otherwise be going out of production in a year or two.

Something odd:  since North wrote his column, the GAO, yes that
perpetual good-guy knight in shining armor, issued a report that if
accepted would slant the bid in Boeing's favor.  Either the GAO is as
clueless as North, or it is in Boeing's pay.

- Jim Landau
Test Engineer
Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Jonathan Lighter [mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: "The Long War"

To me, "tinkering" implies fooling around - for good or ill - with
something that already exists. But be that as it may, North isn't
claiming that the plane exists - just the "design and specifications."

  I suggest that a proper interpretation of his words is that "I know,
or have heard of, at least one, and perhaps two or even more persons
associated with the Air Force who have some degree of professional or,
it may be, avocational interest, in technology, who have been thinking
for more than ten years about what a highly advanced new tanker ideally
ought to be like. And they keep changing their minds. I, Oliver North,
defense journalist, personally believe that highly advanced new tankers
are an absolute necessity [etc.]."

  Now, Jim, doesn't that all sound pretty believable to you ?


s" <James.Landau at NGC.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Landau, James"
Subject: "The Long War"

I have never seen this term before, nor do I know how much of a
Washington insider Oliver North currently is.

Buy American
By Oliver North
Friday, January 19, 2007

For more than a decade Air Force wonks have been tinkering with the
design and specifications for a new aerial tanker. The planes are an
absolute necessity for the kinds of worldwide deployments being
conducted in the global war on terror ---- or "The Long War" -- in
Washington's new vernacular.

Quoted from
OT: as a chauvinistic Northrop-Grumman employee, let me say that, while
I have not seen anything else North has written and therefore cannot
judge him as a columnist, in this particular column he does not know
what he is talking about.

- Jim Landau
Test Engineer
Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA

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