‘Split buy’ isn’t the solution to bid blunder by Air Force

The Air Force’s inadvertent release of tanker competition pricing details (“Tanker bid still in play after error,” 11/22) might not halt the competition, but neither should it result in a “split buy,” as some are advocating. By awarding the tanker contract to both Boeing and Airbus, the “split buy” approach would cost taxpayers billions more, hand the Air Force a tanker it doesn’t need and turn the competition into a child’s tee-ball contest in which everyone gets a trophy even if they can’t hit, catch or throw.

The point of the competition was to seek out the best aircraft for the Air Force at the best price for the taxpayer. Purchasing two tankers would mean spending billions more supporting development, testing, maintenance and crew training for two completely different aircraft. At a time when Defense Secretary Robert Gates is attempting to root out defense procurement waste, a split runs counter to both political parties’ promise to eliminate wasteful government spending. Additionally, Air Force crews would be forced to fly an aircraft that isn’t the best available, just the one that Washington bureaucrats forced upon them.

In a time of war, and when we’re drilling down on Pentagon procurement waste, a split buy means fewer guns and less butter.

Arlington, Va.

Put the American public before military spending

From Susan Morgan-Chandler

Cut military spending only. Military jobs can be transferred to creating clean-energy technologies and rebuilding our infrastructure. Get the U.S. forces out of Afghanistan and the Middle East — it will make no difference if they are withdrawn tomorrow or in a year. Cuts to Social Security and Medicare put the people of our country at the bottom of the heap. We are in an economy of 10 percent to 19 percent unemployment — people want to work but need jobs. It is imperative to put the people of the United States before our country’s military-industrial complex.

Frederick, Md.

Don’t let partisan politics get in the way of the facts

From Dr. Peter Eriksson

The Environmental Protection Agency has, for a long time, been fighting air pollution and global climate change with one hand behind its back. 

The clean air act should give the EPA a chance to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and at the same time reduce funding to terrorist-sponsoring countries. 

Just take the example of heavy trucks. They fill our roadways 24/7 and get an average of 6 miles per gallon. This is insane in a world facing a climate emergency. The EPA and the Department of Energy have suggested new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy trucks. This step alone could cut our oil consumption 500 million barrels a year. This is not a right or left issue, this is an issue about our survival on this planet and about simple scientific facts. 

We are all in the same boat. We all know how strong the influence of special-interest money is in congress, but without an urgent and forceful action by lawmakers, our future alternatives will be much worse. I urge all lawmakers to take their responsibility and support EPA in their efforts to save the future for our children and grandchildren.

Rockville, Md.