6 janvier 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité
By Charlie Pinkerton; iPolitics Published on Jan 2, 2020 3:02pm Although Canada's defence minister has been tasked with working toward creating a new defence procurement agency to improve the country's often slow-moving system for purchasing military equipment, there's no clear timeline for when the new body will be put in place. In the mandate letter addressed to him by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and published last month, Harjit Sajjan was told that part of his job in this Parliament will be to “bring forward analyses and options for the creation of Defence Procurement Canada,” which the Liberals promised to advance toward in this mandate while they campaigned in the fall's election. “A lot of work has already started on (Defence Procurement Canada) and the goal of this is to make sure that we get the procurement projects done as quickly as possible to make sure the Canadian Armed Forces has what they need,” Sajjan told iPolitics the day before his mandate letter was released. Sajjan also said the Department of National Defence (DND), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada still need to complete “more work” before a timeline for the creation of the new procurement agency would be set. Some of the first steps of the Trudeau government to improve Canada's military procurement system was in transferring the responsibility of military procurements to being managed internally at DND. When the Liberals published its overhauled defence policy in June 2017, DND said that 70 per cent of procured projects were being delivered past their deadlines. “Cumbersome decision making and approval processes have introduced undue delays. Accountability among departments has been diffuse and at times unclear,” says the Liberals' defence policy (it's titled Strong, Secure, Engaged). As a response, the defence policy declared that DND would internally manage the contracts of all projects of under $5 million — an initiative which it said would reduce departmental approval times by 50 per cent for 80 per cent of all contracts. The defence policy is intended to lead how Canada's military operates beyond this decade. At the same time as developing the new agency for military procurement projects, Sajjan has also been tasked with choosing which company the government will choose to pay almost $20 billion to build Canada's next generation fleet of fighter jets. According to the current timeline laid out by the Canadian Armed Forces, the government will receive the final bid proposals from the three companies it deemed in 2018 as being capable of meeting Canada's needs (which includes Saab, Lockheed Martin and Boeing) early in 2020. If it sticks to its timeline, the government will pick which company will be its fighter jet provider by next year and will receive the first next generation jet as early as 2025. Sajjan's mandate letter includes another procurement-related list item; he's also tasked with advancing the renewal of Canada's naval fleet. There are four major navy procurement projects that are nearing their conclusion. Canada is buying new surface combatants, new Arctic and offshore patrol ships, new joint patrol ships and retrofitting its 12 frigates. The combined cost of these projects is expected to cost taxpayers more than $83 billion. Investments in procured projects account for a large portion of the $32 billion jump in annual defence spending that Canada is planning for by 2027. If achieved in that year, Canada's defence spending as it relates to a portion of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) would equal about 1.4 per cent. Canada currently spends just over 1.3 per cent of its GDP on its military two years ago. It has pledged to NATO to work toward spending two per cent of its GDP on its military, which is a common goal amongst allied countries. Over the past few years, U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on Canada to increase its military spending to surpass two per cent of GDP. Global News reported less than a month ago that Canada had multibillion-dollar discrepancies in the last two years in how much it planned to spend on its military and how much it actually spent. According to documents obtained by the publication, it had a discrepancy of $2.29 billion in military spending in 2017-2018 and a shortfall of $4.45 billion in spending last year, compared to what it outlined in its defence policy.