Procurement: March 5, 2003


The U.S. Air Force is asking Congress for some relief from cumbersome procurement regulations. The air force pointed out that the paperwork and procedures are so time consuming that foreign nations buying American warplanes are able to get through all the red tape and get their aircraft delivered in one fourth the time it takes the U.S. Air Force. It was also pointed out that these more nimble procurement policies have resulted in better versions of American combat aircraft. The foreign buyers, with less red tape to hassle with, have gotten better components installed in many of their U.S. made aircraft. The air force has long complained that, every time Congress saw real or imagined corruption in air force procurement, more regulations and paperwork were added to "fix" the problem. But even during the 1980s, the massive amounts of paperwork, and constant audits, involved when the air force bought anything were already legendary. It's gotten to the point where air force officials are openly complaining to Congress. This is rarely done, as Congress approves the air force budget (and which projects get how much money.) Complaints are usually made privately to members of Congress. But the problem has gotten so severe, and solutions so elusive, that the complaints are now out in the open.


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