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More Fuel For The Tanker Fire

The Government Accountability Office moved the tanker case forward with the release today of a redacted document detailing its reasons for telling the Air Force to re-do a competition to make 179 aerial refueling tankers.

The GAO had released a lengthy statement on its tanker review on June 18, but withheld the entire ruling until it could be scoured to protect proprietary information.

Northrop Grumman won the initial award at a cost of about $35 billion to taxpayers, and its competitor, Boeing, protested to the GAO.

Earlier this week, Politico reported a concern by Boeing-backer Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) that the GAO hadn’t recommended that the Air Force reconsider the fuel costs of the different planes the statement about the decision it released last week.

Now, Dicks may have reason to cheer.

Even though a recalculation of fuel costs is not among the GAO’s major recommendations, it does score a mention in a footnote, toward the end of the 67-page document.

“Even a small increase in the amount of fuel that is burned per hour by a particular aircraft would have a dramatic impact on the overall fuel costs,” said the document signed by GAO Counsel Gary Kepplinger. “Given our recommendation below that the Air Force re-evaluate proposals and obtain revised proposals, this is another matter that the agency may wish to review to ascertain whether a more detailed analysis of the fuel costs is appropriate.”

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