Boeing/EADS/Northrup Grumman

I found this article on the tanker situation I thought had a different spin. Imagine Northrop Grumman is feeling so picked on it has to get out the retired General Brigade! If it wasn’t for it being true it wouldn’t be so maddening. I just can’t imagine what they (the generals) were thinking by writing this letter.

These generals say we are “questioning the patriotism” of the men and women of the Air Force and make claims that we are “impugning the integrity” of those same Air Force personnel. Now I ask you, has anyone said anything about the men and women of the Air Force? No, only about the process by which this contract was done and the seeming impropriety of SEVERAL issues within the contract.

I found this article while surfing as I often do, for articles that catch my eye. One tag line leads to another and the original article I was looking for I couldn’t find, the one where the workers at Northrup Grumman had gone on strike, all 10,000 of them. That seemed like something I’d be interested in. I wanted to know why they were on strike, but the article is no longer on the server it seems. Isn’t that convenient?

So this one caught my eye…
Aerospace Notebook: Generals join the PR battle for Northrop

OK this looked interesting. I thought I’d take a gander and see what it said since I hadn’t seen this article before. And I don’t know why I haven’t since I’ve done searches for this type of thing. I find this very curious.

By JAMES WALLACE
P-I REPORTER

Last updated April 1, 2008 7:23 p.m. PT

INTENSIFYING its public-relations battle against The Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman has brought out military gunslingers to defend the Air Force tanker decision.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, 22 retired Air Force generals urged him to “stand up and help defend” the tanker award to the team of Northrop and EADS, the parent of Airbus.

The generals are consultants or work for either Northrop or EADS.

In the letter, dated Monday, they accused Boeing and its “special interest clients” of “impugning the integrity of OUR Air Force” in the conduct of the tanker selection process.

I wonder how much they think I’m getting paid for my work here seeing as how I’m a proponent for Boeing? The fact that I make nothing from this blog probably doesn’t exempt me from having some sort of vendetta against the Air Force though. And just because it isn’t true, doesn’t make any difference I’m sure…

They also said Boeing and those special interests are “questioning the patriotism of the men and women of OUR Air Force.”

“We, the undersigned, have devoted years of service to this great nation and the United States Air Force,” the letter said. “Accordingly, we are very troubled by the vitriolic attack on the Air Force by those who disagree with the outcome of the KC-45 tanker competition.”

The list of generals signing the letter included Michael Ryan, former Air Force chief of staff, and Charles Horner, commander of U.S. and allied aircraft during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Vitriolic? Attack? I’ve only heard questions raised so far with no answers forthcoming from the Air Force. I’ve seen no one attack anyone. This could only come from the imagination of a retired General, (you know all those war games). And yes, we do disagree, this country was founded by those who disagreed. It is a very patriotic thing to do <sarc> Sir! </sarc> And feeling picked on and put upon doesn’t make you right, even if you want it to. And you ARE answerable to WE the PEOPLE!

“The fact of the matter is that Boeing lost, and lost fair and square in an open process, and all its post-defeat complaining is little more than noise,” Horner wrote.

That noise, from both sides, is getting louder.

~snip~

The generals asked Gates to defend the Air Force decision from “scurrilous and politically motivated attacks.”

Now, I actually had to look up scurrilous. That’s not a word I’d use most any day. So, here is the meaning of scurrilous:

scur·ri·lous

adj.

1. Given to the use of vulgar, coarse, or abusive language; foul-mouthed.
2. Expressed in vulgar, coarse, and abusive language.

Hmmm, seems to me the only ones here calling names are the generals. I don’t remember being part of a scurrilous or even a politically motivated group. I just remember reading that contract and seeing that Northrop Grumman/EADS paid for a study that wasn’t part of the original contract bid and suddenly the Air Force goes for a lot more plane. Nice of the generals to come up with all these mean names to call us though, huh? I don’t remember any name calling on my part with anyone. Do people really talk this way in public?

Again, it doesn’t explain why the Air Force would want to do business with a company that the United States has a dispute with in a Global Court of law. Why is that even legal? Along with the fact these generals are all in Northrop Grumman’s pocket, I wouldn’t be listening to them any more closely than anyone else.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Boeing is doing the same thing in trying to Lobby members of Congress. But truthfully, I’d rather see this contract going to an impartial third party and the facts laid out as is. And, I’d like those findings and all the testimony laid out before the Citizens of this country. LET US see just what is going on here. Let us make this a public hearing where WE The PEOPLE get to hear what the evidence has to say. And keep it simple stupid, or KISS as the acronym goes. We are the ones ultimately paying for these babies, let US decide who gets the contract and why.

And don’t you get up in arms with me, we pay your salaries and you, the military in general, have gone off on your own for far too long. You, the military in general, act as though you know best, and you are nothing more than people too, just more specialized. But you are fallible humans after all is said and done. You put your pants on just the same way we do. Or you put your dress on the same way we do. Don’t you kid yourself. You just live by a different standard. Doesn’t make you better and it sure doesn’t make you right. Doesn’t give you the right to call names either. Or to try to make others into something they’re not. I can say what I have to say without calling you names.

No body is above the laws of this land as bush is finding out. We want to get to the bottom of this issue too. The military is demanding a lot of money for this contract, we have a right to see that things are done properly.

The generals should have been able to defend the decision, not forced to attack those who disagree with it. They should have been able to give the points to which the contract was done correctly instead of attacking those of us who write for Boeing. That to me is more telling about this contract than anything else. If the contract cannot be defended, but instead you must attack others to make yourself feel vindicated, or to make your arguments seem more profound, then this is nothing but a slight of hand maneuver. The tobacco control industry is notorious for this type of behavior. The don’t address the message, only shoot the messenger. Louder doesn’t equate to righter, (yes I know it’s not a word), only louder…

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~ by justmytruth on April 16, 2008.

One Response to “Boeing/EADS/Northrup Grumman”

  1. I’ve been trying to get an answer from someone in Conggress to what I think are the key reasons major Defense contracts should not be given to EU companies. No one has addresses my key point, which is that the EU underfunds Defense and EADS has publicly complained about that. But, no problem for EADS; just get tax moneys from the US! 😦

    My most recent attemp:
    Re: Foreign (EU) bidders for Large US Defense Contracts
    Representative Reichert:
    More on my “Hot Button” issue: Foreign (EU) bidders for Large US Defense Contracts. CNNMoney (August 27, 2008: 02:55 PM EST) has this today: “Gallois said EADS needs to boost its presence in the U.S. to get access to the world’s biggest defense market . . . ” As I said in a previous email, EADS openly states that the EU Defense budget is “small”, though indirectly here. I’d still like to hear why we should support foreign defense contractors residing in the EU which underfundS their defense budget (they do not carry their full load), with US Tax dollars, at the expense of US defense contractors! And in the case of the Air Force tanker contract, it’s worse yet; we’ll be using US tax money to aid the only commercial competitor of Boeing, a major US exporter.

    Previous more verbose attemp:
    Senator Cantwell, I also sent the below “complaint” to Congressman Dave Reichert and Senator Murray but I wanted to see what you have to say about my points. It’s been very frustrating seeing what I think are the major points in the tanker bid not being discussed. Maybe you can help me see why that is:
    I’m a recently retired Boeing employee, so of course, I’ve been closely following the never ending tanker saga, which has been very frustrating! I actually got to the point yesterday where I was hoping that Boeing would decline to re-bid the contract, just to make a point to congress and end this sorry mess! How ironic; initially, EADS / Northrop Grumman declined to bid because the Air Force wanted a smaller tanker and now Boeing considers not re-bidding because the Air Force wants a larger plane (those crafty Frenchmen! ).
    I feel that the most important reasons for not outsourcing large military contracts (including the tanker replacements) are not emphasized and, quite often, not even mentioned. In my humble opinion, they are (taken together, for context):
    1. The EU GDP is larger than the US GDP but the EU spends significantly less on Defense than the US does. I think I read that they spend a little more than half what the US spends.
    2. EADS has publically complained about the EU’s low defense budget, stating that EADS cannot be competitive unless the EU at least matches the US defense budget. They are not competitive in many defense competitions, e.g. stealth fighters, stealth bombers etc, which have very large R&D requirements.
    3. EADS, in particular, Airbus, get’s unfair loan subsidies from the EU (WTO lawsuit). EADS counter sued, essentially complaining that Boeing gets other subsidies that Airbus also gets!  How absurd!
    4. If EADS gets the tanker contract, the US tax payers will be assisting the only commercial airplane competitor Boeing has, Airbus, because most of the revenue from that contact will go to Airbus! EADS / Airbus figured out how to get around the underfunding of defense in the EU; get it from the US taxpayer! 
    An argument for allowing foreign companies to bid on large US defense contracts is that they buy lots of military hardware from the US. But the reason the US is the preferred provider of the more sophisticated and costly military hardware is that we have the most sophisticated weaponry. Until the EU takes on an equal financial “funding” role in “policing” the world, which they leave to us now, I see no reason for us to allow them to use US tax money to build up their defense industry, not to mention the only commercial competitor to Boeing.
    John McCain was instrumental in assuring that EADS would bid on the tanker contract; prompting the Air Force to change the requirements to favor a larger plane (thanks a lot, John! I’m not a fan of Obama but I think McCain really screwed up on this issue).
    For the reasons stated above, I cannot understand why congress would allow major military contracts to be outsourced! Congress needs to put into law that major tax funded military expenditures cannot be given to “countries” which underfund their military industry. As it stands now, the Air Force (the military branches, in general) is in very sad pickle, when it comes to large military contacts. Come on guys, fix this ridiculous military procurement mess; seven years and it’s still not resolved!
    Garry

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