Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is greeted by reporters after arriving at the Pentagon on Jan. 2, in Washington. DOD photo by Army Sgt. Amber Smith.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan will not sign off on delivery of the first KC-46 because of his past affiliation with Boeing; instead, another senior Pentagon official will accept delivery.
Shanahan, who took over as acting Defense Secretary on Jan. 1 after former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned, has an ethics agreement recusing him from any matters related to Boeing, including the KC-46, DOD spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino said in a statement. Instead, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Ellen Lord will sign off on the Pegasus delivery, Investor’s Business Daily reported.
Shanahan spent 31 years at Boeing, including as vice president of the 757, rotorcraft, missile defense, and Dreamliner programs before serving as senior vice president of supply chain and operations in 2016.
Air Mobility Command said Thursday there is still no date for the delivery of the first aircraft, which was originally expected by the end of 2018. A Pentagon official told IBD the further delay was not because of the abrupt dismissal of Mattis after he tendered his resignation, but was due to continued issues with the aircraft. As of late October, there were still five “category one” deficiencies on the aircraft that need to be fixed. In early December, the KC-46 completed its second phase of receiver certification flight testing, and is expected to begin initial operational test and evaluation testing in the near future.
Shanahan will need to recuse himself from multiple major USAF and DOD acquisition programs, as Boeing has recently received several contract wins and is involved in several other ongoing programs. This includes the T-X next-generation training aircraft, the UH-1N replacement, the Presidential Aircraft Replacement, and the Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker, in addition to progress on other programs likely to involve Boeing, such as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and the Long-Range Stand-Off missile.
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