Senators plead with defense secretary they voted against

Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, deserve credit for tenacity in protesting the Air Force’s recent decision to pass over Wichita-based Beechcraft and instead give a $427.5 million light-air support contract to Sierra Nevada Corp. and Brazil-based Embraer. That order, which will supply 20 airplanes to Afghanistan’s air force, would have given Beechcraft a big boost post-bankruptcy. The Kansans sent a letter Friday to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting a “thorough, compelling explanation for your decision” and saying the award “raises significant concerns for the entire U.S. defense industrial base.” It’s awkward, however, that just two weeks ago the two Kansas senators voted against Hagel’s confirmation as defense secretary.