Last month, we reported that Cong. Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock) called into question the U.S. Air Force’s award of a contract to a foreign competitor of U.S.-based Hawker Beechcraft.
The Air Force has backed off the decision and delayed its award pending an investigation.
Griffin, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and represents a district that includes a major Hawker Beechcraft operation, said the Air Force Command was taking a step in the right direction with its review of the awarded contract.
“As I said back in January, the Administration’s decision was puzzling – first excluding American-owned Hawker Beechcraft and then awarding the LAS [Light Air Support] aircraft contract to Brazilian-owned Embraer S.A. Hawker Beechcraft is a trusted supplier to the U.S. military and a leader in Arkansas’s aerospace industry,” Griffin said. “The Secretary of the Air Force’s plan to review the circumstances surrounding the LAS contract award is the right decision. I will be very interested in reviewing the findings of the investigation because we must spend precious taxpayer dollars wisely and do what is best for our national security. Also, the Air Force’s reversal could potentially mean new jobs for central Arkansas.”
In January, officials from Hawker Beechcraft-partner said they would have hired 25 new employees for their Sherwood, Arkansas office had they won the LAS contact.
Griffin had written a letter to Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, asking him to explain why the previous decision. Today, Griffin revealed part of the response he received from Donley.
“While we pursue perfection, we sometimes fall short, and when we do we will take corrective action. Since the acquisition is still in litigation, I can only say that the Air Force Senior Acquisition Executive is not satisfied with the quality of the documentation supporting the award decision,” Donley wrote.
Additionally, General Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, has initiated a Commander Directed Investigation into the matter, according to Griffin.