Why We're Protesting

Why We're Protesting
March 13th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Why We're Protesting

Why We're Protesting
USA Today
March 13, 2008
Pg. 10
Opposing View
Boeing has serious concerns about the fairness of the contract process.
By Mark McGraw
Boeing has taken a rare step in its business interactions with one of its biggest military customers. The company has decided to protest the Air Force's decision to award a $35 billion air tanker contract to Northrop-EADS.
I would like to explain why Boeing has decided to protest. We have significant concerns about the Air Force evaluation process. Our concerns include several areas involving the capabilities of our aircraft, the cost and risk of both air tankers, and the evaluation of the bids. We left the debriefing with the Air Force with more questions than answers.
According to the Air Force, in the key category of capabilities, Boeing received the highest rating possible, met or exceeded all thresholds and objectives and was graded as having significantly more strengths than the competition.
But one key question we have: Why did the Air Force evaluators assign more value to our competitor's bigger tanker than to the smaller Boeing 767?
This is crucial because such evaluationcriteria were not included in the bid specifications. If the Air Force was going to give credit beyond the requirements, it should have stated that and given Boeing the opportunity to propose a larger aircraft.
We provided unprecedented insight into Boeing Commercial Airplane cost data for the 767 aircraft. But we have significant questions about how the Air Force evaluated the commercial aspects of our proposal. At the top of the list: our concern about the unequal treatment in the evaluation of each competitor's cost information. The Air Force chose not to "trust" the information provided by Boeing a single company with transparent financial systems and a proven production system. But it did trust the cost provided by Northrop and European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. and their unproven and multiple production methods.
We are a global company and compete every day in the global marketplace.
This decision to protest is so much more than questions of politics, subsidies and jobs. The issue for Boeing is about the fundamental fairness of the evaluation process and whether our proposal was given the same consideration as our competitor's.
Mark McGraw is vice president, Boeing Tanker Programs.

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