CALGARY, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - In the summer of 2012, then Defence
Minister Peter MacKay declared the effort to update Canada's maritime
helicopter fleet with 28 new Cyclone aircraft as the worst procurement in Canadian history. Harsh criticism indeed, but the fact is that almost 30 years have
passed since government decided to update its dying fleet.
Sadly, this example is but one on a long list of procurement failures
concerning Canadian national defence. A report published today by The
School of Public Policy (with the partnership of CDFAI and CMSS),
breaks down this list of projects and offers recommendations on how to
inject efficiency into defence procurement.
Author Elinor Sloan highlights some startling cases:
There has been no contract award (or even Request for Proposals
released) for Fixed-Wing Search and rescue Aircraft, originally
anticipated for 2005
There has been no design chosen for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship,
originally promised for first delivery in 2013
The Nanisivik Naval Facility, originally expected to be fully
operational by 2015, has been scaled back significantly and given a
completion date of at least 2017, probably later.
While the causes for these drastic delays vary, "two related and
overarching concerns about Canadian defence procurement are that there
is no single point of accountability and little sharing of risk," the
On accountability, Sloan argues that the interdepartmental nature of
military procurement is causing problems, specifically that three
departments (Industry Canada, the Department of National Defence, and
Public Works and Government Services Canada) are involved but none have
overriding authority. One potential solution is to appoint a single
Minister to oversee procurement.
Related to risk sharing, Sloan argues that the current process places
far greater risk on industry compared to government. A major
procurement can go through the lengthy process mandated by Industry
Canada and still be cancelled by the government because of some
innocuous error. Meanwhile, there is no reimbursement to contenders who
have spent millions of dollars responding to the RFP and building a
prototype. A recently instituted pilot process of allowing defence
firms to repair minor bid infractions may go some way towards
addressing this concern.
The report can be found at www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/publications
SOURCE: The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary
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