Thursday, December 03, 2015

Something Intriguing From an LRS-B Protest Article: What is BLACK DIAMOND?

This brief review of the past performance and core competencies of the Boeing-Lockheed team suggests that the Air Force selection process for LRS-B—employing multiple reviews and several independent cost estimates—rather than being “fundamentally flawed” was sound and thorough. Boeing complaints that the Air Force unfairly penalized their bid on cost contradict reality. The KC-46 and 787 development programs priced out at double what Boeing originally estimated, experiencing costly delays owing to technical challenges and mismanagement. And Boeing proposals to wave away these unfavorable historical cost data with reference to a mysterious and untested “Black Diamond” manufacturing concept are unlikely to be convincing. In such competitions, the Air Force must rely on demonstrated competencies and past performance, not on unproven theories. As Secretary James noted, the independent cost estimators evaluating the LRS-B bids “do have this pesky thing called data and facts on their side more often than not.”

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