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For Immediate Release
Friday, May 23, 2003
Washington, DC – Senator John McCain issued the following statement today on the Boeing Tanker deal:

"I am extremely disappointed that the Department of Defense has approved the lease of Boeing 767 aircraft for use as aerial tankers, a profligate waste of federal revenues. This is a great deal for the Boeing Company that I'm sure is the envy of corporate lobbyists from one end of K Street to the other. But it's a lousy deal for the Air Force and for the American taxpayer.

"The Project on Government Oversight - a politically independent, non-profit watchdog organization - called Air Force Secretary Roche's Boeing tanker lease deal "... a textbook case of bad procurement policy and favoritism to a single defense contractor."

"In all my years in Congress, I have never seen the security and fiduciary responsibilities of the federal government quite so nakedly subordinated to the interests of one defense manufacturer. Indeed, any objective analysis of the deal would conclude that the sole purpose served by this lease is to maximize the profits of Boeing, with the consequent under-funding of other defense priorities.

"Every analysis has shown that that it would be considerably less expensive to either modernize our existing tanker fleet or purchase new tankers. The only reason to lease new tankers is that they are more, not less expensive and, thus, a greater windfall to the Boeing Company.

"If this were such a great deal, why did the Air Force go to considerable lengths to keep Congress as little informed as possible about is details? Efforts by members of the Senate Armed Service Committee to get information on this proposed deal with Boeing, have been met with obfuscation, delay, and the deliberate withholding of critical information. According to the DoD Inspector General, senior Air Force officers have misled the Committee.

"Because of these attempts at obfuscation, the Senate defense authorization bill, passed by the full Senate last evening, included a requirement for an analysis of alternatives (AOA) to the lease as well as other legislative provisions intended to examine its merits. The Defense Department has decided to ignore these requirements, a decision I strongly deplore.

"Air Force Air Mobility Command and Defense Department studies specifically require that the Air Force conduct an AOA. Yet in hearings this year, we have heard the Under Secretary of the Defense for Acquisition, the Air Force Secretary and the Air Force Secretary for Acquisition testify that they have not completed an AOA on aerial tankers. It is clear that this decision today is to get around this requirement. I know of no other weapon system that has been procured by the Pentagon without an AOA.

"Secretary Roche, contradicting Air Force studies, has been relentless in exaggerating aerial tanker shortfalls and problems in order to win approval of the lease. If this represents the kind of acquisition reforms and defense transformation we can expect from Secretary Roche if he is confirmed as Secretary of the Army, then God help the Army and the American taxpayer.

"There will be further hearings on this lease in the Armed Services Committee, and I intend to hold hearings on aspects of this lease in the Commerce Committee as well."


Information and cost analyses of the leasing proposal have been provided to the Congress by the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office, the Department of Defense Inspector General, the Congressional Budget Office, the Department of Defense, and important outside independent experts. A few of their conclusions are listed below.

GAO estimates the cost to lease 100 Boeing 767 tankers for 6 years to be $20 to $30 billion.

GAO estimates that the cost to modernize and upgrade 127 KC-135 Es to "R" Models is $3.6 billion; a $22.4 billion savings to leasing 100 tankers.

GAO estimates the cost for building new infrastructure for 100 Boeing 767 tankers to be $1.7 billion, the same cost to modernize 59 older KC-135 tankers.

The Air Force estimates that their current fleet of KC-135s have between 12,000 to 14,000 flying hours on them-only 33 percent of the lifetime flying hour limit and no KC-135E's will meet the limit until 2040.

According to the Air Force, the Mission Capable Rate for KC-135 tankers is 81 percent-the highest in the Air Force inventory. The B-2 Mission Capable Rate by comparison is 39 percent.

According to the Air Force Air Mobility Command, there is no requirement to begin replacing KC-135's before fiscal year 2013.

OMB reports that the current fleet of KC-135s is in good condition.


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