24 avril 2018 | Information, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

Bridging the ­Procurement Divide

© 2018 FrontLine Defence (Vol 15, No 2)

A critically honest and engaged discussion about government and industry engagement, was held recently at the Telfer School of Management as part of the new Complex Project Leadership Programs.

The program participants (mostly federal civil servants who are involved in procurement) interacted with executive-level industry leaders – Joe Armstrong, Vice President and General Manager at CAE; Jerry McLean, Vice President and Managing Director of Thales Canada; Iain Christie, Vice President of AIAC; and Kevin Ford, CEO of Calian – who shared their leadership insights, as well as what it is really like to do business in Canada.

Through the highlighting of mutual pain points and frustrations, as well as identifying what is being done well and ways to move forward together, efficiently, each party gained insight and understanding that is sure to improve communication and future progress. It was evident that both sides wanted to learn from each other and pinpoint the principles that would help achieve mutual success; ultimately impacting the national economic footprint and saving taxpayer dollars.

From the industry perspective, dependability equals direction. When a company can be assured that it has a fair opportunity to compete for a contract, it can set its sights on that goal and will make the necessary investments to ensure the best possible outcome. When government programs start and stop and change and restart, companies find it difficult to justify the extended costs because they lose their competitive edge and/or any ability to make a profit. Instability does not save the taxpayer, but it does have the potential to impact both quality of product and sustainability of the bidders (therefore employment numbers).

Contracts equal sustainability and confirmation that the company direction is on track for success.

Profit equals growth and further investment. Employment and supply chain purchases depend on a profit margin that allows growth. This “number one” business requirement conflicts with the government's prime directive is to ensure its bidders make a bare minimum of profit.

When asked what they need from their government counterparts in order to create a better working relationship and foster a robust industry that can contribute to a strong GDP, the industry panelists identified two key elements. One was “more accuracy in the procurement process” and the other was “predictability”. Industry must be able to foresee where profits and sustainability could potentially come from. The time it takes to award large projects is also a limiting factor to success.

It was noted that, since the beginning of time, a cornerstone of success for industry has always been ensuring the satisfaction of its client. It is believed that trust in the quality of the product and ease of customer service will lead to sustainability in the form of continued business. Not so with government contracts, which seem skewed to ensure previous successes gain no advantage, and must in some cases be hidden from decision-makers. Not taking into account a company's excellent past delivery performance, was said to contribute to industry's lack of incentive to perform to the best of its ability at all times.

A company's ability to invest goes beyond individual contracts, which means the prospect of being evaluated for value can be a powerful incentive for going that extra mile – if exploited, not suppressed.

Government employees were encouraged to exhibit courage in pursuing ways to truly streamline the procurement process, rather than repeatedly adding more and more layers of approvals and meetings.

Industry leaders across the spectrum have commented on a palpable “lack of trust” on the part of government negotiators. Does this mistrust come from contract negotiators feeling the pursuit of profit is somehow un-Canadian? Or does it mean a company does not care enough about its customers? Neither assumption is accurate, and this may be one area where a culture change could make a world of difference.

As one audience member exclaimed: “This was the best, most transparent conversation regarding the procurement process, I have ever heard.” While large-scale procurements will always be contentious due to the huge dollars and risk at stake, embracing the concept of open and unreserved dialogue, like what was experienced by this small group, has the potential to uncover procurement pitfalls and create a more progressive process.

The Telfer School of Management's Complex Program Leadership programs focus on the hard and soft skills necessary to successfully deliver inherently complex programs and projects, while emphasizing strategic thinking, creative problem solving, stakeholder engagement, and leadership skills as key building blocks for this goal.


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  • Defense Innovation Board Adopts AI Testing, Digital Workforce Recruitment Resolutions

    17 septembre 2020 | Information, Autre défense

    Defense Innovation Board Adopts AI Testing, Digital Workforce Recruitment Resolutions

    Mila Jasper The Defense Innovation Board convened for its fall public meeting Tuesday and approved resolutions for two key federal technology issues in addition to broadening its work on space. The board, which is comprised of national security technology innovators, formed a new space subcommittee to support the Space Force and heard from Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, and U.S. chief technology officer. But the need for better testing protocols for artificial intelligence systems and strategies the Defense Department could adopt in order to attract digital talent took center stage at the meeting. The board adopted resolutions after robust discussions for both issues. Challenges in AI Testing No proven methods for testing and evaluating nondeterministic AI systems—meaning less predictable, more adaptable AI systems—exist. Daniela Rus, a roboticist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it is critical to have strong procedures for testing, evaluation, verification, and validation, or TEV/V, of artificial intelligence in order to create enough confidence in the technology to deploy it. “The department has been articulating the importance of accelerating the deployment of these systems,” Rus said, citing DOD's adoption of the board's AI ethics principles. “We have seen a lot of efforts in developing AI accelerator programs that will take the latest and greatest advancements in AI from research organizations and map them into processes and procedures for the department. We hope to have these in place, but in order to get there we need to have rigorous, robust procedures for testing.” The main reason testing for these types of autonomous systems is so challenging is uncertainty. Board member Danny Hillis, a pioneer in parallel computing, said uncertainty comes in three directions: from the function, the inputs and the outputs. Hillis suggested the board should use these three areas of uncertainty to guide its thinking when it comes to providing recommendations for TEV/V. The resolution adopted by the board argues DOD must develop its own TEV/V solutions as soon as possible, rather than wait for external solutions, in order to be ready to deploy AI systems in the short term. The board's science and technology subcommittee hopes to have two reports—one for a backgrounder and another for recommendations—on TEV/V for AI by December of this year. “Without a strong push for education and training on this topic and a diverse range of testing programs at the developmental and operational levels, DoD will have difficulty assessing its current TEV/V processes and determining next steps to improve its AI TEV/V capability,” the resolution reads. Competing for Digital Talent Later in the meeting, the DIB turned its attention to workforce issues. Jennifer Pahlka, a founder of the U.S. Digital Service and Code For America, led the group's discussion on competing for digital talent. Pahlka said the coronavirus pandemic and remote work trends could help the department attract talent if it develops new strategies to help it compete with the private sector. “As private sector remote work trends are changing how employers compete for digital talent, DOD has the opportunity to take advantage of these trends and be more competitive for civilian talent in this new environment,” Pahlka said. DOD and the federal government in general struggles to fill talent gaps for several reasons, including long hiring timelines. A recent report by the Partnership for Public Service found the average hiring timeline for the federal workforce is 98 days, or more than twice the private sector average. The paper DIB released to accompany the discussion detailed five recommendations for what to do to attract digital talent. Overall, DOD should develop strategies to maintain a remote and distributed workforce even beyond the pandemic. Pahlka added that though the recommendations focus on attracting digital talent, she hopes the same principles outlined can be expanded across the workforce. In the past, common wisdom said the Pentagon couldn't do mass telework. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, DOD had to adapt, and fast. Lisa Hershman, the chief management officer for the Defense Department, said in July the pandemic “shattered the myth” DOD couldn't support remote work. According to the DIB's report, DOD should now focus on expanding its IT infrastructure and make sure it has the tools it needs to maintain remote work as well as expand the agency's capabilities to do classified work remotely. The report also recommends DOD work on improvements to the remote hiring process, prioritize changing the agency's culture around remote work and “consider dedicated remote work pilot programs to recruit and fill critical civilian technical talent gaps at priority organizations.” “The subcommittee believes the DOD is really at an inflection point for talent management,” Pahlka said. Pahlka and three other members of the DIB including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt ended their terms on the board. Member terms last four years. https://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2020/09/defense-innovation-board-adopts-ai-testing-digital-workforce-recruitment-resolutions

  • Approvisionnement en matière de défense - Terre

    2 février 2018 | Information, Terrestre

    Approvisionnement en matière de défense - Terre

    La Direction des grands projets – Terre est responsable des acquisitions relatives à plusieurs projets du ministère de la Défense nationale, y compris le projet de système de véhicule de soutien moyen et le projet de véhicule blindé tactique de patrouille. Système de véhicule de soutien moyen Modernisation des véhicules logistiques Véhicule blindé tactique de patrouille Système de véhicule de soutien moyen Pierre angulaire de la transformation de l'Armée, le projet de système de véhicule de soutien moyen vise à remplacer les véhicules logistiques moyens à roues existants du ministère de la Défense nationale par les deux nouveaux types de véhicules suivants : jusqu'à 1 500 camions de modèle militaire normalisé pour les unités opérationnelles et le soutien logistique pour la durée utile prévue du véhicule d'environ 20 ans; 1 300 camions militarisés en vente sur le marché pour l'instruction de la Réserve canadienne. Le projet vise aussi à acquérir un maximum de 300 remorques, un maximum de 150 boucliers blindés de protection et un maximum de 1 000 abris de véhicules spécialement équipés (VSE) et les ensembles connexes. Les ensembles consistent en espaces de travail, tels que des unités médicales ou des postes de commandement, conçus spécialement pour les abris des VSE. Une fois installés sur un camion, ils transforment ce dernier en une unité spécialisée, comme une clinique dentaire ou une installation de réparation d'équipement. Modernisation des véhicules logistiques Le projet de modernisation des véhicules logistiques vise à acquérir des véhicules logistiques légers modernes. Les produits livrables du projet peuvent inclure, mais sans s'y limiter, de nouveaux véhicules, des remorques, des plateaux déposables, des modules spécialisés à montage sur véhicule, des conteneurs spéciaux et des systèmes de manutention des marchandises en vrac. Le projet remplace deux parcs de véhicules, les véhicules logistiques lourds à roues et les véhicules logistiques de soutien à roues, ainsi que deux parcs de véhicules moins importants, les véhicules lourds de soutien du génie, générations 1 et 2. Ces camions seront utilisés pour transporter des cargaisons légères et lourdes ayant diverses configurations de véhicules et divers rôles pour l'instruction et les opérations au pays et expéditionnaires. Ces parcs de véhicules logistiques légers et lourds doivent être remplacés en raison de leur 'ge et de leur capacité défaillante. Véhicule blindé tactique de patrouille Le 7 juin 2012, le gouvernement du Canada a octroyé à Textron Systems Canada Inc. (TSCI) des contrats d'acquisition pour 500 véhicules blindés tactique de patrouille (VBTP) et leur soutien logistique pour un maximum de 25 années. TSCI les a obtenus après un processus d'approvisionnement qui a inclus une étape de demande d'expression d'intérêt et de qualification ainsi qu'un processus de demande de propositions dans le cadre duquel quatre fournisseurs ont présenté des propositions. La politique du gouvernement du Canada concernant les retombées industrielles et régionales était un critère obligatoire dans le processus d'approvisionnement, et TSCI doit procurer des retombées économiques au Canada de la même valeur que celle des contrats, dans le but d'assurer un investissement égal dans l'économie canadienne. Le VBTP est un véhicule de combat à roues qui doit remplir un grand nombre de rôles différents, y compris mais sans s'y limiter, la reconnaissance et la surveillance, la sécurité, le commandement et le contrôle, le transport de marchandises et le transport de personnel armé. Il doit posséder un niveau élevé de mobilité tactique et fournir un degré très élevé de capacité de survie à son équipage. Les premières livraisons de véhicules sont prévues pour 2014. Véhicules blindés La Direction des projets des véhicules blindés a la responsabilité de l'acquisition, de l'intégration et du soutien en service des véhicules blindés à roues et à chenilles. La Direction a aussi la responsabilité de la gestion des achats pour les projets ci-dessous faisant partie du programme de la famille de véhicules de combat terrestre (FVCT), qui a pour but d'améliorer ou de remplacer le parc actuel de véhicules de combat terrestre. Les projets du programme FVCT qui sont sous la responsabilité de la Direction sont le projet de modernisation du véhicule blindé léger (VBL III) et le projet d'amélioration de la mobilité de la force (AMF). 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La livraison des véhicules d'entraînement Léopard 2 A4 a été complétée en octobre 2014. Le projet prévoit aussi l'acquisition de véhicules blindés de dépannage (VBD) basés sur le Léopard 2, afin d'offrir un soutien aux parcs de chars de combat principaux Léopard 2. La livraison du dernier VBD est prévue pour décembre 2015. Le projet d'amélioration de la mobilité de la force a été établi en 2009 afin d'acquérir des engins blindés du génie basés sur le Léopard 2 pour offrir du soutien aux parcs de chars de combat principaux Léopard 2, et pour acquérir et intégrer de l'équipement pour les différents parcs de Léopard 2, comme des rouleaux de déminage, des charrues de déminage et des lames de buteur. La valeur totale du projet est estimée à 376 millions de dollars. La première livraison de véhicules est prévue pour novembre 2015. Soutien aux véhicules blindés légers à roues A la responsabilité du soutien en service des parcs de véhicules blindés légers à roues (VBLR) : 651 VBL, 203 Coyote, 199 Bison et 75 RG-31. Le soutien en service comprend l'acquisition de pièces de rechange, la réparation et la révision, la gestion du programme, la gestion du parc et les services de soutien technique. Le contrat de soutien optimisé des systèmes d'armes (SOSA) pour les VBLR constitue l'instrument d'acquisition principal et couvre la plus grande partie du soutien nécessaire. Une partie importante du SOSA pour les VBLR est donnée en sous-traitance. Des contrats gouvernementaux distincts existent pour répondre aux autres besoins associés à la protection blindée supplémentaire et aux armes spécialisées. Le soutien en service est aussi offert aux autres variantes du VBLR dans le cadre d'accords contractuels distincts avec leurs fabricants d'équipement d'origine respectifs. Entrepreneur principal : General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada, London, Ontario Bureau de gestion de projet des véhicules blindés légers et de modernisation du véhicule blindé léger III Le Bureau de gestion de projet (BGP) des véhicules blindés légers (VBL) fournit l'orientation stratégique pour les achats, la gestion de contrat et les services administratifs au ministère de la Défense nationale pour tous les projets de VBL. Le BGP complète présentement la modernisation des véhicules blindés légers de troisième génération (VBL III). Le projet de modernisation du VBL III, évalué à 1,4 milliard de dollars, offrira une mobilité, une protection et une létalité améliorée à 550 VBL III, avec une option pour 66 véhicules supplémentaires, au cours des trois prochaines années. Projet de modernisation du système de surveillance du véhicule blindé léger de reconnaissance Le BGP VBL est aussi responsable de l'élaboration et de l'exécution de la stratégie d'acquisition, de même que de la gestion de contrat, pour le projet de modernisation du système de surveillance du véhicule blindé léger de reconnaissance du ministère de la Défense nationale. Ce projet modernisera les capacités de reconnaissance et de surveillance de la force terrestre. La modernisation sera exécutée au moyen de l'acquisition de nouvelles séries de capteurs, de supports sur véhicules et au sol, de postes de commande d'opérateurs et de blocs d'alimentation de veille silencieuse. Ces systèmes et matériel feront augmenter collectivement le rendement du système de surveillance du véhicule blindé léger de reconnaissance et amélioreront la capacité de recueillir, traiter et diffuser des renseignements sur le champ de bataille. Le bureau des contrats aura la responsabilité de gérer globalement ce processus d'acquisition complexe, de fournir en temps opportun des services d'approvisionnement, et d'offrir son leadership, son expertise et son encadrement stratégique dans le choix du fournisseur du système de surveillance du véhicule blindé léger de reconnaissance parmi les fournisseurs de l'industrie. https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-acq/amd-dp/terre-land/index-fra.html

  • Raytheon Technologies Corporation: UTC, Raytheon make marriage official

    10 juin 2019 | Information, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité, Autre défense

    Raytheon Technologies Corporation: UTC, Raytheon make marriage official

    By: Aaron Mehta Updated with comments from officials on June 10, 2019, at 9:21 a.m. ET. WASHINGTON — Raytheon and United Technologies Corporation will officially merge into a new entity called Raytheon Technologies Corporation, with the deal taking place in first half of 2020. Following Saturday reports that a merger was imminent, the two firms made the news official Sunday, launching a website about the planned all-stock deal. On Monday, Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy and UTC CEO Greg Hayes held a conference call, where the two revealed that discussions about a potential merger started in summer 2018, before taking off in earnest this January. “It's like a mirror,” Kennedy said of UTC, noting both companies invest heavily in new technologies while remaining “platform agnostic.” Hayes added that there is roughly a one percent overlap between the two firms portfolios. The new company will be roughly 50-50 defense and commercial, with plans to spend $8 billion on R&D after combining. Much of that funding will go towards high-end defense programs, including, per a news release, “hypersonics and future missile systems; directed energy weapons; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) in contested environments; cyber protection for connected aircraft; next generation connected airspace; and advanced analytics and artificial intelligence for commercial aviation.” The new firm has a “tremendous opportunity to invest” in the future, Hayes said. “The resources of the combined company will allow us to do things on a stand alone basis that would have been very difficult” individually. Hayes also expressed his belief the Pentagon would not see major issues, given the limited overlap. However, other trouble may be brewing; during a Monday interview with CNBC, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed concern about the agreement. While being billed as a “merger of equals,” UTC shareowners will own approximately 57 percent and Raytheon shareowners will own approximately 43 percent of the combined company. A spokesperson for Raytheon confirmed to Defense News Sunday that the combined company will be based in the greater Boston area. Raytheon is based in the Boston suburb of Waltham, while UTC is based in Farmington, Conn. Per a news release, the new company will have approximately $74 billion in pro forma 2019 sales. The release also highlights that the merged company will be a major player in both the defense and commercial aerospace markets, giving greater market resiliency. Byron Callan, a defense analyst with Capital Alpha Partners, wrote Sunday in a note to investors that the merger may be a sign of market trends to come. “An RTN-UTX deal may be a signal (a siren?) that 1) this U.S. defense cycle is peaking, and firms need to start repositioning for growth in 2021 and beyond; 2) Maybe the commercial aerospace outlook is looking wobbly too and Western firms need to hedge against fallout from a U.S.-China trade split. A U.S. recession is overdue; 3) Defense firms will need to fund more of their own R&D in the future so joining a larger firm will limit margin pressure which could be evidenced in the 2020s,” Callan wrote. Callan also sees “some overlap in the defense portfolios” for the two companies, primarily through the Mission Systems segment of Collins Aerospace. That could require some small divestitures down the road as the deal is finalized, but there do not appear to be any major issues that would lead to objections from the Pentagon. “Both are active in defense communications, though Collins has a larger share. Both have imaging/IR products, though Raytheon has a larger product offering,” he wrote. “Collins provides large space imaging mirrors used in surveillance satellites but it's not clear to us if there is an overlap with Raytheon's classified space payload work.” The deal should create a mammoth defense contractor second only to Lockheed Martin. Raytheon already ranked number two on the most recent Defense News Top 100 list, with $23.5 billion in defense revenues, 93 percent of its overall revenue total; UTC has $7.83 billion in defense revenues, a mere 13 percent of its overall figures. However, that UTC number came before its acquisition of Rockwell Collins and its $2.28 billion in defense revenues, which will naturally increase United's overall number. The move comes after 18 months of major defense consolidation. In addition to UTC's move on Rockwell, there was the General Dynamics acquisition of CSRA, Northrop Grumman's acquisition of Orbital ATK, and L3 and Harris announcing in Oct. 2018 that they would combine to form what at the time appeared to be the seventh largest global defense firm. https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2019/06/09/raytheon-technologies-corporation-utc-raytheon-make-marriage-official/

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