TO AIR FORCE acquisition assistant secretary Sue Payton. As the service’s chief weapons buyer, Payton should be held accountable for the debacle of the KC-X tanker competition. The Government Accountability Office’s scathing report of the acquisition process, including inaccurate cost estimates and the holding of misleading and unequal discussions with one of the two competitors, makes Payton’s remarks at the time of the competition award in February even more unfathomable. Payton cited the transparency of the contracting competition and said: “Northrop Grumman clearly provided the best value to the government.” Payton’s credibility is sunk. More critically, so is the Air Force’s chance of getting a new tanker anytime soon.