Janes Defence Weekly
May 7th, 2012
More troubles in Canadian DND procurement
The bad news keeps pouring into Canada’s defense department. The latest is a new book titled Canada, Democracy and the F-35s, which alleges that the procurement process was manipulated so that the government could get the result that it wanted. Written by Alan Williams, a former assistant deputy minister who has been involved with the program, the book alleges that the process was hijacked from the beginning.
Traditionally statements of requirements (SORs) are issued which explain to bureaucrats what they need. The information in the SOR is supposed to be then used to seek out suppliers. However in his book Williams claims that the Department of National Defence had its eyes set on the JSF from the start and concurs with the recent conclusion of Canada’s Auditor General that the government misled the public as to the program’s projected cost.
As if that weren’t enough, bidders on Canada’s $2 billion Close Combat Vehicle initiative got bad news last week after they were told that their bids had been ruled non-compliant The program, to acquire 108 new vehicles, suitable to “deliver a combat ready Canadian infantry section into close combat,” is already thought to be two years behind schedule and will almost certainly fall further behind, as bidders were asked to come back with new proposals.
Was Canada “shafted?”
That bad news came on top of recent revelations based on a document obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Network which indicates that Canada demanded compensation for four used submarines that it bought from the UK in the late 1990s for $750 million. The acquisitions proved to be a major disaster for DND, which ended up sinking an additional $1 billion into the vessels, despite the fact that it never got them to operate effectively. “Canada was shafted,” Mike Hancock, the Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, where the subs had been based before they were sold, told the network.
Although the British government did end up reducing its price on the subs slightly (by about £2 million), the value that Canada ended up getting was questionable. Of the four subs, the HMCS Windsor has only just been put back into the water, after a five year refit. The HMCS Chicoutimi caught on fire on its maiden voyage, and has not been back to sea. The HMCS Corner Brook fared slightly better, but it hit the ocean floor and is out of service. Only the HMCS Victoria is currently in service.
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