Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he would "strongly oppose" an effort to compromise on the aerial tanker stalemate by splitting the order between Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. "It is the (Pentagon's) view that, while the development and manufacture of tankers by both potential offers may appear attractive to the companies and their shareholders, it would result in significant additional expense to the taxpayers, and would further strain the resources of the department in a manner detrimental to our warfighters," Gates wrote in a letter to Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. If Congress passed legislation authorizing a split buy, Gates said he would recommend a presidential veto.

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