A new report from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the Conference of Defence Associations Institute finds that the government's new Defence Procurement Strategy on its own won't fix "record" delays in acquiring needed military equipment.
OTTAWA, Jan. 14, 2015 – The Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the Conference of Defence Associations Institute are pleased to present a new research paper titled: “Putting the ‘Armed’ Back Into The Canadian Armed Forces: Improving Defence Procurement in Canada” by David Perry, Senior Security and Defence Analyst with the CDA Institute.
The paper is available at the following link.
In February 2014, the Government of Canada announced a Defence Procurement Strategy (DPS) designed to reform the way Canada acquires military equipment. The Canadian system has been uniquely problematic in the past and is likely to remain so, with the length of time to acquire military equipment now at “record levels”. Although the DPS is a commendable initiative, it will not fix the current problems on its own.
Perry finds that DND faces an unprecedented difficulty in spending the money allotted for acquisitions; projects are cut down or cancelled due to delays and lost purchasing power; and current capacity and resources cannot meet increasing demands. Overall, a large disconnect exists between desired capabilities and the government’s financial commitment. “Our acquisition system simply isn’t robust enough to succeed. Until a new defence policy is articulated, purchases prioritized, and adequate resources applied, the military will keep losing capability”.
In an effort to highlight and address these vital issues, the CDA Institute, Canada’s prominent voice on security and defence issues, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, the leading federal policy think tanks in Ottawa, have joined forces to issue this new report that analyses the country’s broken procurement system and makes recommendations for reaching the goal of getting the right equipment in the hands of our fighting forces at the right time. An opportunity exists right now to build on the strengths of the DPS and restore trust in the system. If these problems are not addressed, the reforms will fall short of expectations.
Highlights from Mr. Perry’s paper:
- Since 2007/2008, an average of 23 percent of the available Vote 5 money supplied by Parliament, a combined $7.2 billion, was not spent as intended.
- Budget cuts starting in 1989 led to a decade of limited defence acquisitions. As a result, there is too little experience and training and insufficient staff in the acquisition workforce
- The Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) promised the largest recapitalization program since the Korean War, but this recapitalization is severely delayed, eroding the buying power of DND’s capital program
- The CFDS is “neither affordable nor viable in today’s fiscal reality”, and a lack of strategic priorities has made resolving the gap between funding and capabilities more difficult
- DND’s program exceeds the financial and human resources to implement it; resolving the mismatch between funding and capabilities must be the key focus of the renewed CFDS
- “All trust and faith between players in the system has been lost;” restoring trust in the procurement system will require a track record of success.
About the author: David Perry is the Senior Security and Defence Analyst of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, and a doctoral candidate in political science at Carleton University where he studies defence privatization. Dave is a frequent media commentator on national defence and security issues and has testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.
About the Macdonald-Laurier Institute: The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
About the CDA Institute: The CDA Institute was created in 1987, with charitable status, to provide research support to the CDA and to promote informed public debate on national security and defence issues and the vital role played by the Canadian Armed Forces in our society. Its varied research activities, events and publications – including the Vimy Papers - are disseminated amongst various audiences: Canadian and International public, media, policymakers, the military, the diplomatic corps, business community, and academia.
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