Defense Acquisitions: Air Force Decision to Include a Passenger and Cargo Capability in Its Replacement Refueling Aircraft Was Made without Required Analyses

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The United States Air Force has described aerial refueling as a key capability supporting the National Security Strategy and military warfighters on a daily basis. Currently, the Air Force uses two aircraft for aerial refueling: the KC-135 and the KC-10. While the KC-10 fleet has an average age greater than 20 years, the KC-135 fleet averages more than 46 years and is the oldest combat weapon system in the Air Force inventory. Consequently, the Air Force intends to replace or recapitalize the KC-135 first. The Air Force began ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. March 6, 2007.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The United States Air Force has described aerial refueling as a key capability supporting the National Security Strategy and military warfighters on a daily basis. Currently, the Air Force uses two aircraft for aerial refueling: the KC-135 and the KC-10. While the KC-10 fleet has an average age greater than 20 years, the KC-135 fleet averages more than 46 years and is the oldest combat weapon system in the Air Force inventory. Consequently, the Air Force intends to replace or recapitalize the KC-135 first. The Air Force began its KC-135 recapitalization efforts in fiscal year 2004, and officials presented a KC-135 recapitalization program to joint military decision makers in November 2006. This program proposed the inclusion of a passenger and cargo capability, which exists to some extent in the current aircraft, in the replacement air refueling aircraft. According to Air Force officials, the recapitalization process may cost between $72 billion and $120 billion and will span decades. This recapitalization takes place at a time when the Air Force faces fiscal constraints over the next few years, forcing officials to reconfigure the service's short- and long-term priorities in its fiscal year 2008 budget plan. The Air Force has begun this process by announcing the intention to reduce personnel levels by 40,000 members. GAO is currently reviewing, under the Comptroller General's authority to conduct evaluations on his own initiative, the Analysis of Alternatives for the recapitalization of the KC-135 aircraft. To fully understand the Analysis of Alternatives for the KC-135 Recapitalization, we reviewed the requirements determination process, of which an analysis of alternatives is a part. Specifically, GAO reviewed (1) to what extent policy and implementing guidance were followed in identifying the passenger and cargo capability and in assessing the associated risk of not including that capability in the replacement refueling aircraft proposal and (2) to what extent decision makers, who validated and approved the capability as a requirement, relied on analyses as specified in policy and implementing guidance and the extent to which this reliance may affect initiation of the acquisition program."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 6, 2007

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Defense Acquisitions: Air Force Decision to Include a Passenger and Cargo Capability in Its Replacement Refueling Aircraft Was Made without Required Analyses, text, March 6, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298565/: accessed August 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.