Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) announced Friday that they are blocking President Barack Obama's nomination of Ashton Carter as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

Carter received the nomination on March 18 and was already approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Shelby and Sessions have said they are blocking his nomination in the full Senate because of concerns on how Carter will handle the Air Force tanker competition.

Both Shelby and Sessions are supporters of a Northrop Grumman/EADS team that initially beat out Boeing in a competition for a $35 billion contract to build new tankers for the Air Force.

Boeing, not wanting to give the contract up, protested the contract with the Government Accountability Office, and successfully got the contract taken away from Northrop Grumman/EADS.

A new competition for the contract is expected to start up some time later this spring.

It is of the utmost importance that the new tanker competition be conducted in an open and transparent manner based on a best-value process, Shelby said in his statement Friday.

We should have every assurance from Dr. Carter that the Department of Defense will proceed fairly.

I still have some unanswered questions about a commitment to a fair and open tanker competition, added Sessions.

For comments and feedback: contact