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Department of Defence’s purchasing process broken, says budget watchdog


 

The Department of Defence’s buying processes is broken and wrong, says parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page. He made the comments in an interview with the CBC’s Evan Solomon on Thursday after having testified at a committee in Ottawa, saying that his office did not receive information requested from the Department of Defence on the government’s expected costs for the life cycle of the F-35 jets considered to replace Canada’s aging Cf-18 fleet.

From the National Post:

“Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that the Department of National Defence provided the PBO with figures that did not include all operating costs,” Page told members of the public accounts committee.

“The PBO understood that it had been provided with full life-cycle costs from DND as required.”

Those operating costs — which have been estimated at about $10 billion over 20 years — have become central to the question of whether Canadians were misled about the fighter jet in March 2011, weeks before the last federal election.

In a separate announcement on Thursday, the minister in charge of the defence file, Peter McKay, ordered changes to the operations of the Canadian Forces, in an effort to cut military costs. Field operations, both domestic and international, have now been merged under one Canadian Joint Operations Command, according to a source within the Defence Department quoted by the Globe and Mail.

From the Globe and Mail:

Three existing commands will be merged: CEFCOM, the expeditionary command which directs overseas operations like the Afghanistan mission or the Libya air strikes; Canada Command, in charge of domestic defence and all North American operations such as navy drug interdiction patrols; and CANOSCOM, the logistics command responsible for getting ammunition and supplies to troops in the field.

Each of those three commands not only has a senior general in charge, but a separate headquarters in Ottawa to run it. The merger is aimed at slicing about 25 per cent of the “overhead” for each command, although it is not yet clear how many staff jobs, military or civilian, will be cut.


 
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Department of Defence’s purchasing process broken, says budget watchdog

  1. What should be clear to everyone who has bought a replacement car, tractor – anything that there are two sets of estimates being discussed – the estimated procurement costs and the ‘guessstimated’ operational operational costs for 20 – 26 years – fuel, maintenance etc. There really should be three or four sets of operational ‘guessstimates’ – one for the F35. one for the CF18, one for no fighters and one for another aircraft type and they all should be compared. DND has compared the F35 to the CF18 and determined that the F35 operational costs should be no more or possibly better than the CF18. Allan Page & the AG have considered the F35 alone with no costs assigned to the CF18 which is unreasonable. Note that if an entirely new other aircraft is to be quoted on the new quotes themselves would be costly and also lead to new delays. All of the ‘guessstimates’ could be wildly inaccurate over 20 – 26 years but would track each other somewhat.

  2. Why does Canada need the F35? Granted, Canadian aerospace engineers could play a huge role in designing a new space shuttle for NASA, but it it’s going to mean Canadians not being able to send their kids to college, let the United States defend us.

    We need somebody in the procurement process who will say to the all the contractors: “You’d better keep costs in line. Otherwise, you don’t be submitting bids on the next defence project.”

    Contrary to what some people may think, the purpose of the F35 isn’t to provide jobs for people in Quebec, or anywhere else in Canada. It’s for the defence of the Dominion.

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