Auditors Defend Pentagon for Skipping Bids on B-2 Upgrades

A U.S. B-2 strategic bomber taxis down a runway in 2005 at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The Government Accountability office backed a Pentagon decision not to pursue a competitive process for planned updates to B-2 bombers.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
See more stories about...
Diane Barnes
April 23, 2014, 10:50 a.m.

Con­gres­sion­al in­vest­ig­at­ors said the De­fense De­part­ment was right to skip a com­pet­it­ive pro­cess for planned up­dates to B-2 stra­tegic bombers.

Tech­no­lo­gies to up­date the nuc­le­ar-cap­able air­craft were already far along in their de­vel­op­ment, and Pentagon data re­veals little room to save money by so­li­cit­ing more pro­pos­als from com­pan­ies, uni­versit­ies or agen­cies, ac­cord­ing to a Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice ana­lys­is is­sued on Tues­day.

The planned up­grades fo­cus on the air­plane’s “de­fens­ive man­age­ment sys­tem,” de­signed to track en­emy radar and alert crew mem­bers to pos­sible threats, ac­cord­ing to the GAO as­sess­ment.

The De­fense De­part­ment in­formed le­gis­lat­ive aud­it­ors in Decem­ber of its in­ten­tion not to pur­sue “com­pet­it­ive pro­to­typ­ing” for cer­tain up­grades planned for the B-2 sys­tem, the re­port in­dic­ates. A 2009 law re­quires le­gis­lat­ive aud­it­ors to scru­tin­ize any De­fense De­part­ment de­cision to skip the pro­cess, which can some­times re­duce ex­penses and the like­li­hood of tech­nic­al prob­lems, the doc­u­ment in­dic­ates.

The find­ings note that prime con­tract­or Northrop Grum­man ac­cep­ted bids from oth­er firms as it hired sub­con­tract­ors for the B-2 pro­ject.

De­velopers would make use of “ex­ist­ing, tech­nic­ally ma­ture sub­sys­tems” for two of the up­grade pro­ject’s three main com­pon­ents, and Northrop Grum­man used a com­pet­it­ive pro­to­typ­ing pro­cess to de­vel­op new an­ten­nas for the air­plane, au­thors of the GAO study said.

The Air Force re­viewed four “pro­to­typ­ing op­tions” and de­term­ined they “would in­crease the pro­gram’s de­vel­op­ment costs by between $28.2 mil­lion and $524.8 mil­lion [in base year 2011 dol­lars] de­pend­ing on the type and num­ber of pro­to­types,” the re­port states.

What We're Following See More »
DOWN ONLY TWO POINTS IN FOUR-WAY RACE
Trump Cuts Deficit in New Morning Consult Poll
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by a mere two points in a four-way race, according to the latest Morning Consult weekly poll. Clinton leads 39%-37%, with Gary Johnson at 8% and Jill Stein at 3%. In a two-way race, Clinton leads by three, 43%-40%.

Source:
GIULIANI, INGRAHAM, AILES IN THE ROOM
Trump’s Debate Prep Underway
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump is hosting Rudy Giuliani, Laura Ingraham, and Roger Ailes "at his New Jersey golf course for Sunday chats" about debating strategy. "Over bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and glasses of Coca-Cola, they test out zingers and chew over ways to refine the Republican nominee’s pitch. Trump’s aides have put together briefing books, not that the candidate is devoting much time to reading them." Ingraham may be cast as the Hillary Clinton stand-in, although Trump's confidence is such that he may not hold any such dress rehearsals. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports that one such confab was held yesterday.

Source:
STANDS BY HIS ASSESSMENT
Doctor: I Wrote Trump’s Note in Five Minutes
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's personal physician, Harold Bornstein, said he wrote a letter declaring Trump would be the healthiest president in history in just five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his Manhattan office." However, he said "he stands by his glowing assessment of the 70-year-old's physical state."

Source:
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
×