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May 25, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) joined forces with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) to publicly release a new report on Canada's defence industry for decision makers. Features of the report include building analytic capacity through collaborative research, economic impact, innovation, exports, and supply chains analysis.

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  • Defence Procurement’s Effectiveness Dissected at Ottawa Conference

    November 25, 2019 | Local, Other Defence

    Defence Procurement’s Effectiveness Dissected at Ottawa Conference

    By James Careless How well is Canada's defence procurement actually working, and are industry-boosters like ITBs paying off? These and other questions were tackled at the ‘Defence in the 43rd Parliament' one-day conference on November 20, 2019. It was staged by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) at the Chateau Laurier hotel, before a full house in the Adam Room. During the opening session, ‘Canadian Defence Procurement – The State of the Union', DND Associate Deputy Minister Claude Rochette was cautiously upbeat about the state of Canadian defence procurements. In the last year, DND has signed about 12,000 contracts and spent about $6 billion on procurements, he said. Most of these contracts were on time and on budget. 2019's defence procurement spending is up from $4.9 billion spent by DND in 2016, Rochette noted. In addition, this year DND will “close out its budget” by spending its allocated funds, he said. Despite some criticisms that Canadian defence procurements are not moving fast enough, “we are doing pretty well,” said Claude Rochette. But the process isn't perfect, he admitted. “We have more work to do.” Rochette's positive assessment was echoed by PSPC Associate Deputy Minister Michael Vandergrift. 2019 “has been a very busy time” in Canadian defence procurement, he said, During the past year, the federal government issued an RfP for the Future Fighter Capability project; sole-sourced Light Armoured Vehicles from General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada; and selected Lockheed Martin to built 15 Canadian Surface Combatant ships. Asked which defence procurements are going well and which are posing challenges, Rochette replied that smaller projects that fall within DND's $5 million spending authority are easy to manage. Where issues crop up is in large multi-million dollar projects with long time lines: Trying to cost them accurately and manage them effectively is akin to asking, “I want to have a car and buy it next year, so tell me how much I'll pay for it (right now),” he said. In a later morning session entitled, ‘Offsets – Is the ITB Policy Delivering?', the panel considered the impact of procurement bidders ‘overcommitting' to ITBs (promising financial benefits worth more than the contracts they are bidding for) on the Canadian defence industry. Such ITB overcommittments, which can be worth 300% or more than the contract being sought, are “introducing unnecessary risk” in the Canadian defence industry, said Rich Foster, Vice President of L3 Harris Technologies - Canada. The result of overcommitting is that contractors are “now focussed more on quantity than quality” in making their procurement decisions, he said. The real victims of ITB overcommittments are SMEs, which lack the resources available to large companies to pay for these big ITBs. The choice facing these SMEs is to directly/indirectly seek such contracts – which can run 20-40 years – “or you go out of business,” said Brian Botting, Director of Strategic Offsets at General Dynamics Missions Systems. “It is a terrible dilemma for them to be in.” The CGAI procurement conference ended with the panel discussion, ‘Defence Procurement Canada'. This is the name of the integrated procurement agency the Liberals proposed during the October 2019 election, to replace the multiple ministries currently sharing this responsibility. The common sense reason for having a single defence procurement agency comes down to human nature: “If you ask two of your kids to take out the garbage, it won't get done,” quipped Alan Williams, President of The Williams Group. “If you ask one of your kids, maybe it will get taken out.” He explained that sharing procurement among ministries causes requires agreement between multiple ministers and deputy ministers – which wastes time -- and that Canada's military allies manage their procurements through single agencies. Creating a separate Defence Procurement Canada (DPC) agency would not be easy, said Jim Mitchell, Research Associate with the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Speaking from his own government experience, Mitchell observed that such changes are “disruptive, costly, difficult, hard on people, and hurt efficiency and effectiveness for a few years.” Mitchell added that creating DPC would not prevent Treasury Board and other ministries from having a role in defence procurement afterwards. CGAI Fellow Gavin Liddy was just as pessimistic about the value of creating DPC when so many defence procurements are underway. If the government wants “to do one single thing to delay the procurement agenda in the next five to seven years,” then they should instruct defence bureaucrats to create the DPC, Liddy concluded. “Nothing would divert their attention more than doing that.”

  • Le Canada fait un nouveau versement de 71 millions $ US pour le chasseur F-35

    July 22, 2021 | Local, Aerospace

    Le Canada fait un nouveau versement de 71 millions $ US pour le chasseur F-35

    Le Canada a discrètement effectué au printemps un nouveau versement de plusieurs millions de dollars pour le développement du chasseur furtif F-35, même si le gouvernement ne sait toujours pas s'il en achètera — et malgré les appels d'artistes et de militants à ne pas acheter de nouveaux avions de combat.

  • Federal budget shores up cyber defences but is silent on new jets and warships

    March 5, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Federal budget shores up cyber defences but is silent on new jets and warships

    By Murray Brewster, CBC News The new federal budget focuses on ones and zeros over tanks and troops by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into new and improved cyber and national security defences. Several federal departments will not only see upfront cash but promises of long-term spending to counter both the threat of hackers — state-sponsored and otherwise — and cyber-criminals. National Defence, by comparison, is seeing virtually nothing in terms of new spending on the nuts and bolts of the military, other than initiatives outlined in the recently tabled national defence policy. The 2018 budget is, on the surface, a tacit acknowledgement that the nature of threats to national security — the nature of modern warfare itself — is changing. The budget recycles the government's $3.6 billion pledge last December to provide veterans with the option of a pension for life and better services. But cyber-security was, by far, the headline national security measure in the budget. Finance Minister Bill Morneau's fiscal plan sets aside $750 million in different envelopes — much of it to be spent over five years — to improve cyber security and better prepare the federal government to fend off online attacks and track down cyber-criminals. More for CSE It also promises an additional $225 million, beginning in 2020-21, to improve the capacity of the country's lead electronic intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment, to gather foreign signals intelligence. The Liberals will soon pass new national security legislation — C-59 — and CSE will receive important new powers and responsibilities to disrupt global cyber threats. "These are brand new tools. They're going to need lots of resources — technological resources, personnel resources — to engage in those kinds of operations," said Wesley Wark, a University of Ottawa professor and one of the country's leading experts on cybersecurity and intelligence, in an interview prior to the budget. The sense of urgency about getting the country's cyber-security house in order is being driven in part by the fallout from Russian hacking and meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, said a former assistant parliamentary budget officer. "With what we've seen south of the border, I think cyber-security and cyber-threat has been elevated in this budget to a high-priority item," said Sahir Khan, now the executive vice president of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy. The budget creates two new entities to deal with online threats. The first, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, will assemble all of the federal government's cyber expertise under one roof — a plan that will require new legislation. The second organization will be run by the RCMP and be known as the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit. It will coordinate all cybercrime investigations and act as a central agency to which the public can report incidents. The budget also includes cash for Public Safety's National Cyber Strategy, which not only aims to protect federal government networks but is meant to collaborate with the corporate financial and energy sectors to boost their defences. Military procurement a work in progress The budget's dearth of new spending on the real-world military — at a time of significant global insecurity — is due to reasons that are partly political and partly organizational, said Khan. The former Conservative government's inability to deliver on promises of new equipment during its nine-year tenure was a political "albatross around its neck," he said. The Liberals may have produced a clear defence policy but they have yet to straighten out the procurement system, he added. The Trudeau government has promised a lot of military capital spending down the road. Khan said it seems determined to keep the issue out of the spotlight in the meantime. What's missing from the new budget is a clear commitment that National Defence will get the cash it needs as those needs arise. "I think there was a lot of clarity in the policy direction coming out of the government [defence] white paper," said Khan. "What a lot of us are trying to understand is whether the money ... is accompanying that change in direction ... so that DND has a stable footing to meet its needs." He said he still has questions about whether promised future spending on fighter jets and warships has been baked into the federal government's long-term fiscal plans. A senior federal official, speaking on background prior to the release of the budget, insisted that military capital spending is welded into fiscal plans going forward into the 2030s. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said repeatedly, since the strategy was released last June, that the defence plan was "fully costed" into the future. Up until 2016, National Defence produced an annual list of planned defence purchases. The Liberals promised to produce their own list of planned acquisitions and table it this year. Khan said it "needs to be presented to Parliament and the public." Training and retaining? The cyber initiatives in Monday's budget drew a mixed response from the high-tech sector. On the one hand, the Council of Canadian Innovators praised budget signals that suggest the Liberals are open to dealing with home-grown companies rather than buying off-the-shelf from major U.S. firms. "The imperative to build domestic cyber capacity is not just economic. It's existential," said Benjamin Bergen, the council's executive director. "Without a domestic capacity in cyber we risk becoming a client state. Innovators welcome the announcement of a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, which will allow for information sharing between the public and private sector." What the budget didn't offer was a clear commitment to training and retaining highly-skilled software engineers and IT professionals. "We would have liked to have seen a retention strategy. There wasn't one," said Bergen. "We know Canada produces amazing graduates but we're struggling to keep that talent here." The council estimates there will be up to 200,000 job openings in high-tech by 2020, which will put pressure on the industry and on the federal government as it bulks up its cyber capability. Adam Froman, CEO of the Toronto-based data collection firm Delvinia, was blunt when asked if the federal government will be able to fill all of the cyber-security job openings created by this budget. "They're not going to be able to. Plain and simple," he said. "Or they're going to have to outsource those jobs to foreign companies."

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