6 avril 2022 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

Canadian Forces in desperate need of new spending, procurement follow-through, experts say | CBC Radio

Canada's military readiness is suffering from a lack of investment and the federal government must ensure that desperately needed new money actually gets spent, experts in defence and procurement say.


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  • Fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel delivered to The Royal Canadian Navy

    31 août 2023 | Local, Naval

    Fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel delivered to The Royal Canadian Navy

    Today, the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV), His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) William Hall, was delivered to the fleet.

  • Matt Gurney: Supporting local industry shouldn't be the first consideration in military procurement

    17 décembre 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Matt Gurney: Supporting local industry shouldn't be the first consideration in military procurement

    Rather than worrying about where things are built, a better question is: will Canadian soldiers be properly equipped? That's all that matters Matt Gurney Dec 16, 2020 • Last Updated 22 hours ago • 5 minute read It is almost a truism in Canadian public policy: We are terrible at military procurement. You hear that often. I've said it often. But it really isn't true. We only think we're terrible at military procurement because we are confused about what we're trying to do. Our military procurements are not about actually procuring equipment for the military. They're about creating jobs and catapulting huge sums of money into key ridings across the country. Once you shift your perspective and look at it that way, you realize very quickly that our military procurement system is amazing. It bats a thousand. The problem isn't with the system. We've just labelled it badly. If it were called the Domestic Defence Industry Subsidy Program instead of our military procurement system, we'd all be hailing it as a shining example of a Canadian public policy triumph. This is terrible. It has cost us the lives of our soldiers, and probably will again. But it's undeniable. Canadian politicians, Liberals and Conservatives alike, have long had the luxury of seeing defence as a cash pool, not a solemn obligation. And they sure have enjoyed that pleasure. Two recent stories by my colleague David Pugliese for the Ottawa Citizen have explored this theme: Our efforts to replace our fleet of frigates with 15 newer, more powerful ships is turning predictably complicated. The 15 new combat ships are part of a major overhaul of the Canadian fleet, which was neglected for many years and now must be modernized all at once. In February of 2019, the government chose American defence giant Lockheed Martin to produce the ships in Canada, using a British design. (How Anglosphere of us.) Companies that weren't selected to be part of the construction or fitting out of the ships are unhappy, Pugliese noted, and aren't bothering to hide it, even though they've abandoned their legal challenges. The sniping has continued, though, with spurned industry figures talking to the media about problems with the program. Jody Thomas, deputy minister of the Department of National Defence, reportedly told industry leaders to knock it off. “There's too much noise,” she reportedly said, adding that it was making the job of getting the new fleet built “very difficult.” Some of Thomas's irritation is undoubtedly the automatic hostility to scrutiny, transparency and accountability that's far too common for Canadian officials — our bureaucrats are notoriously prone to trying to keep stuff tucked neatly out of public view. But some of what Thomas said is absolutely bang-on accurate: Defence industry companies know full well that the government mainly views military procurement as a jobs-creation program, so are understandably put out to not get what they think is their fair share. Some Canadian companies have designed and developed critical communication and sensor gear for modern warships, Pugliese noted. This gear was developed with taxpayer assistance and has proven successful in service with allied fleets, but was not chosen for the new Canadian ships. And this is, the companies believe, a problem. Why aren't Canadian ships using Canadian-made gear? It's a good question, until you think about it for a moment. Then you realize that the better question is this: will the Canadian ships be properly equipped? That's it. That's all that matters. Will the new ships be capable of doing the things we need them to do? If yes, then who cares where we got the gear? And if no, well, again — then who cares where we got the gear? The important thing isn't where the comm equipment and sensors were designed and built. It's that the systems work when our ships are heading into harm's way. Assuming we have many viable options to choose from, then there are plenty of good ways of making the choice — cost, proven reliability, familiarity to Canadian crews, and, sure, even whether it was made in Canada. But supporting the local industry needs to be the last thing on the list. This stuff is essential. The lives of our sailors may depend on it working when needed. Cost matters, too, of course, because if the gear is too pricey, we won't have enough of it, but effectiveness and reliability are first. Treating military procurement as just another federal jobs-creation program is engrained in our national thinking But we talk about them last. Because we value it least. There probably is some value in preserving our ability to produce some essential military equipment here in Canada. The scramble earlier this year to equip our frontline medical workers with personal protective equipment is instructive. In a war, whether against a virus or a human enemy, you can't count on just buying your N-95 masks, or your torpedoes and missiles, from your normal suppliers. Unless Canada somehow gets itself into a shooting war without any of our allies in our corner, any time we are suddenly scrambling to arm up, our much larger allies are probably also scrambling to arm up, and they'll simply outbid us. (See again our current efforts to procure vaccines for an example of this unfolding in real time.) But we aren't at war now, and we can buy the damn ships from anyone. To the government's credit, it seems to be doing this; the pushback against the program seems mostly rooted in the government's decision to let the U.S.-British consortium chosen to build the new ships equip them as they see fit. The program may well derail at some point — this is always a safe bet with Canadian shipbuilding — but insofar as at least this part of the process goes, we're doing it partially right. Yes, we're insisting on building the ships here, but we aren't getting picky about the equipment that goes into them. That's probably wise. But that's about as far as the wisdom goes. Treating military procurement as just another federal jobs-creation program is engrained in our national thinking. It would have been good if COVID had knocked a bit of sense into us and forced us to, at long last, grow up a bit. But no dice. Oh well. Maybe next time. https://nationalpost.com/opinion/matt-gurney-supporting-local-industry-shouldnt-be-the-first-consideration-in-military-procurement

  • Defence Watch: New dates set for budget watchdog's reports on major naval projects

    29 octobre 2020 | Local, Naval

    Defence Watch: New dates set for budget watchdog's reports on major naval projects

    David Pugliese Two reports by the parliamentary budget officer looking into the costs of major Canadian naval equipment projects have been delayed. The Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates had unanimously passed a motion in June to request the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer undertake a costing analysis of the Royal Canadian Navy's new joint support ships as well as the leasing of the Asterix supply ship from a private firm. The PBO study was to also look at the cost of building the joint support ships in Canada at Seaspan shipyard in Vancouver. The committee asked that the PBO report be provided by Oct. 15. Another motion from the committee, passed later in June, asked the PBO to examine the $60 billion price tag of Canada's proposed new fleet of warships – the Canadian Surface Combatant or CSC. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux was tasked to investigate the cost of the CSC as well as examine the cost of two other types of warships: the FREMM and the Type 31. That study was supposed to be presented to the committee by Oct. 22. But those original motions from the committee expired when Parliament was prorogued. So new motions have to be provided to the PBO. The Commons committee passed a new motion on Oct. 19 on the Asterix and Joint Support Ship analysis. That analysis is to be delivered by Nov. 30, PBO spokeswoman Sloane Mask told this newspaper. A date for the analysis to be made public has not yet been determined. “Currently, we are also in the process of confirming the revised timelines for the CSC report,” she added.There is particular interest in the defence community about what the PBO determines is the current price-tag of the Canadian Surface Combatant project. Last year the Liberal government signed an initial deal on CSC that is expected to lead to the eventual construction of 15 warships in the largest single government purchase in Canadian history. Lockheed Martin offered Canada the Type 26 warship designed by BAE in the United Kingdom. Irving is the prime contractor and the vessels will be built at its east coast shipyard. Construction of the first ship isn't expected to begin until the early 2020s. But the Canadian Surface Combatant program has already faced rising costs. In 2008, the then-Conservative government estimated the project would cost roughly $26 billion. But in 2015, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, then commander of the navy, voiced concern that taxpayers may not have been given all the information about the program, publicly predicting the cost for the warships alone would approach $30 billion. The overall project is currently estimated to cost around $60 billion. “Approximately one-half of the CSC build cost is comprised of labour in the (Irving) Halifax yard and materials,” according to federal government documents obtained by this newspaper through the Access to Information law. But some members of parliament and industry representatives have privately questioned whether the CSC price-tag is too high. There have been suggestions that Canada could dump the Type 26 design and go for a cheaper alternative since the CSC project is still in early stages and costs to withdraw could be covered by savings from a less expensive ship. Canada had already been pitched on alternatives. In December 2017, the French and Italian governments proposed a plan in which Canada could build the FREMM frigate at Irving. Those governments offered to guarantee the cost of the 15 ships at a fixed $30 billion, but that was rejected by the Canadian government. The other type of warship the PBO will look at is the Type 31, which is to be built for the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. Those ships are to cost less than $500 million each. In 2017, then Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette estimated the CSC program would cost $61.82 billion. The entry of the BAE Type 26 warship in the Canadian competition was controversial from the start and sparked complaints that the procurement process was skewed to favour that vessel. Previously the Liberal government had said only mature existing designs or designs of ships already in service with other navies would be accepted on the grounds they could be built faster and would be less risky. Unproven designs can face challenges if problems are found once the vessel is in the water and operating. But the criteria was changed and the government and Irving accepted the BAE design, though at the time it existed only on the drawing board. Construction began on the first Type 26 frigate in the summer of 2017 for Britain's Royal Navy. https://www.thechronicleherald.ca/news/canada/defence-watch-new-dates-set-for-budget-watchdogs-reports-on-major-naval-projects-512897/

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