Vanguard Magazine

Jun/Jul 2015

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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 47

I INsIDe INDUSTRY 8 JUNE/JULY 2015 QinetiQ takes first steps in third-party advice explaining the oeM game plan In the hours before Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, stepped to the podium at CANSEC to trumpet the role of the newly formed Independent Review Panel for Defence Acquisition, U.K.-based Commerce Decisions, a QinetiQ company, announced that it had secured an advisory contract with the govern- ment to facilitate the "delivery of bid evalua- tion criteria" for the ship designer and combat systems integrator on the Canadian Surface Combatant. The contract is an important first step for QinetiQ. Borne out of a U.K. government decision to privatize certain aspects of service delivery to the military, the company is seeking to establish a presence in Canada, especially for its technical and procurement expertise and its vast experi- ence in complex project management. Steve Boughton, QinetiQ's managing direc- tor for procurement advisory services and the chairman of QinietiQ Canada, says the goal is to establish a Canadian-staffed company that can support the government's call for third- party advice. As Kenney explained in his CANSEC address, " the independent review panel...will not...op- erate in a vacuum. [It] will draw on existing departmental and Canadian Armed Forces, as well as other expertise to ensure that it has a full grasp of the right issues at the right level of detail." "Canada is probably the first country that has explicitly said, we want third-party independent review and third-party independent advice around procurement," says Boughton. "This transparency is fabulous. We have that deep independence – it's something we jealously guard – so from our point of view, it is about putting third-party review at the heart of our strategy." QinetiQ has business units dedicated to third-party advice, test and evaluation, and re- search. Boughton sees future opportunities for both the test and evaluation and research expertise, which has been acquired through countless U.K. military programs. But his primary focus is procurement advice, especially at the front end of the process. "What advice can we give in how do you run a competition effectively? How do you stop complex procurements going off the rails in the early stages? We've got deep technical ex- pertises, deep procurement expertise. How do we bring our experts to bear, how do we actu- ally add value? We have a tender assessment tool which gives you an auditable trail of who has won the tender, who has lost, and why they have done that. It is completely transparent. A significant amount of money has gone through the tool over the years is incredibly robust. It allows us to speak with confidence about what good competitions look like and how you run them." Boughton says Canada's defence procure- ment strategy and use of third-party expertise has attracted international attention. "There have been changes in every nation, but what I think the government of Canada is trying to do is really unique. And the eyes of the world are looking at Canada, [especially] at the shipbuilding program. Everybody wants the best value for money. Industry and gov- ernment want to work together to get the best offering and capability into place. It has to be a true partnership, and you see that in many places around the world. Our job is to sit in the middle of that and say, 'this is what good looks like, this is what you should be expecting'." While deep analytical expertise and a credible independent voice are vital, so is expert complex project management. "If you get it wrong, you are done. Or, at the very least, you have to rework something," Boughton notes. QinetiQ has a supplier arrangement with the U.K. government for project management and has found that while their expertise might be required to provide some initial direction to a project, "very often we see that the skills in government are so strong that once the program is off and running and we have given some guidance and support through those early phases, it takes off." QinetiQ's approach to establishing a Cana- dian footprint is a soft sell, Boughton acknowl- edges. He sees a strong skill base in govern- ment and industry – "articulate, intelligent people who know what they need to do and how they need to do it" – and says the goal is to help build that capacity. "We're not interested in coming into the mar- ket and trying to go head-to-head with people in an area where there are already many com- petitors. It's about our technical expertise and bringing that to bear in the new procurement piece. It is really exciting, but it is baby steps." As original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seek innovative Canadian technology to fulfill their future value propositions, trade asso- ciations have been crafting new ways to show- case ideas and help members understand the processes of the government's defence pro- curement strategy. In early May, the Southern Ontario Defence Association hosted its second annual Made in Canada conference in London. The event, which attracted 185 people from across the region and the province, includes presentations from equipment manufacturers and systems integra- tors on how to do business with OEMs, informa- tion on upcoming supply chain opportunities, and technologies that will be in demand. Captain (N) Richard Feltham, director of Na- val Major Crown Projects, outlined the Royal Canadian Navy's 2015 capital investment plan as well as the RCN's priorities for its three major shipbuilding projects and some of its SATCOM, weapons, electronic warfare, underwater war- fare and unmanned systems requirements. The event also featured four workshops on the controlled goods program, leveraging value propositions, government funding, and ad- vanced manufacturing technologies. Heather Pilot, a member of the SODA board of directors and the program organizer, said plan- ning is already underway for 2016. Steve Boughton

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - Jun/Jul 2015