Is Military Procurement Really Broken?

Posted on July 26, 2017


July has been an “active” month it seems regarding the calling out of military procurement in Canada.

With tantalizing headlines such as Botched procurement delays inflatable boats for military and After years of missteps, Canadian military officials hope procurement now on track, it is likely that most people have already concluded that our taxpayer dollars are being needlessly flushed down the drain.

But is this really the case?

I Have Seen Enough

Over the years I have covered many stories such as the Manitoba Hydro single source controversy, as well as purported public sector procurement missteps in the U.S. and other parts of the world. You will undoubtedly remember the NIGP #CodeGate scandal, as well as my memorable on-air interview regarding the admission by a top official from Governor’s Cuomo team that the majority of contract winners in New York State are decided before an RFP is issued.

And let’s not forget my radio interview with former Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day regarding the Buy American story that has interestingly enough re-emerged in the Trump White House.

I guess what I am saying is that when it comes to public sector procurement, I have seen enough to know that I may have seen too much over the years. Or to put it another way, there are many examples in which governments have missed the mark when spending taxpayer dollars.

The Intricacies Of Procurement

However, and understanding the intricacies of procurement from the inside out I have also learned two very important lessons;

  1. The private sector has as many problems with procurement as the public sector, the only difference being that their missteps are not likely to end up on the front page of the newspaper and,
  2. Not everything is as it seems.

Based on this understanding,  do the above referenced headlines from the CBC – and similar ones to it provide an accurate picture of military procurement in this country? Since the majority of people usually read just the headlines and at most a paragraph or two of an article, this is an important question because opinions are formed, and public sentiment is rallied based on a seemingly small piece of a much larger puzzle.

Over the coming weeks, I am going to do some good old fashioned investigative journalism, to answer the question; is Canadian military procurement practice has bad as the headlines suggest?

Stay tuned.