Vanguard Magazine

Oct/Nov 2014

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 47

P PROCUREmENT to new procurement strategy 12 OCTOBER/nOVEMBER 2014 to new procurement strategy aDm mat aDapts by Chris Thatcher When the government introduced the defence Procurement Strat- egy in February, it laid out three priorities: delivering the right equipment in a timely manner; leveraging the purchase of defence equipment to create jobs and economic growth; and streamlining the acquisition process. all three will have an impact on the Material Group at national defence. John Turner, assistant deputy Minister Material, will be a featured speaker at Best defence IV in London in november. He spoke with editor Chris Thatcher about the strategy and its eff ect. Q How has your role changed as a result of the DPS? I would say our role hasn't signifi cantly changed, it just occurs earlier in the overall process. Specifi cally in the past, the options analysis to best address the requirement was the purview of the project sponsor – one of the three services or the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff or special forces – and we would really engage in strength at the project defi nition phase following Treasury Board project approval for initial expenditure authority. Now we are going to get engaged earlier, as are Public Works and Indus- try Canada, because of process changes around third-party review of the requirements. We will also be engaged with Public Works and Industry Canada around the value proposition in terms of its importance relative to other evaluation criteria. And industry en- gagement is going to happen far earlier; i.e., before a service fi nal- izes its requirements, we will engage with the service and industry to make sure we have the right scope for requirements – that we're not asking for something that isn't deliverable, isn't feasible or doesn't exist or that we do so with eyes wide open. Q When Minister Finley unveiled the DPS, she specifi cally referenced the length and complexity of some the statements of requirements and promised to simplify them. Do you have a new role in how those statements are now brought forward? It's an interesting issue. The actual high-level mandatory require- ments tend not to be that precise, rather it's the specifi cations be- low to address the requirements to deliver on the capability. Have things been over-specifi ed in the past? Possibly. But if we don't have a certain level of specifi cation, we are putting the Crown at risk: it is hard to go back to the supplier and say, "your piece of kit isn't delivering on the requirement," if you haven't required some hard specifi cations. There is, however, always a balancing act. When I came into this offi ce, I had heard that over-specifi cation was an issue, so as I would go around to various projects I would ask about the requirements specifi cations. Fixed-wing search and rescue provides a good example. One of the requirements is a ramp: in simple terms, you need a ramp at the back so the SAR techs can jump out, and so you can get equip- ment on and off. But you need to ensure the ramp is wide enough and high enough that you can actually get SAR equipment on and off; and the plane needs to be able to fl y at a certain speed with the ramp open, etc. I think there are 8-10 specifi cations just around the ramp – all of them valid. So when you start adding up all the specifi cations of all the various bits of an aeroplane, you end up with a lengthy set. This is one of the issues the independent review panel is going to be looking at – the linkage between requirements and specifi cations, and making sure we've got the right balance between the two. Q Does your challenge function change as a result of this? Do you begin earlier? Yes, we would begin earlier. But I think we have always exercised a challenge function. Furthermore, I'm not sure we would do any- thing differently than we are doing now, other than provide/coor- dinate our challenge function through the new third-party review. Q What kind of expertise are you going to be expected to contribute to understanding industrial technological benefi ts and value propositions (VP)? It strikes me that you have a lot

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - Oct/Nov 2014