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What’s Canada Buying? – March 13, 2014

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Written by milnewsca

13 March 14 at 10:00

What’s Canada Buying? – February 7, 2014

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  • New Way of Buyin’ Military Stuff (1)  “Ministers cut and run from military procurement announcement – Diane Finley and Rob Nicholson use the side door following speech on new procurement regime”
  • New Way of Buyin’ Military Stuff (2)  Headline from Canadian Manufacturing web page  “Tories tackle broken military procurement system with incremental change”
  • New Way of Buyin’ Military Stuff (3)  This, from the guy who signed Canada’s original F-35 deal paperwork  “Is defence procurement on the right track? NO”
  • New Way of Buyin’ Military Stuff (4a)  From the Liberal Party Info-machine  “The Conservatives’ announcement that defence procurement will be “reset” once again, and will largely be removed from the Department of National Defence, is a clear admission that military procurement over the last eight years has been wrought with failure, said Liberal National Defence Critic, Joyce Murray ….  Since 2006, the Conservatives have built up a long list of failed military acquisitions, characterized by delivery delays and huge cost overruns. From the failure of their flagship F-35 fighter jet program, to the ongoing delays in securing a design for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship, to the abrupt cancellation of the Close Combat Vehicle after years of development, this Conservative government has shown a clear and consistent inability to deliver promised equipment to our men and women in uniform ….”
  • New Way of Buyin’ Military Stuff (4b)  From Mark Collins via Twitter  Well, the Liberals were not so much mis-managing as simply not procuring at all, Cyclonse (sic.) and Cormorants aside …. And late 2005 before Martin gov’t fell MND Graham trying 2 get new Chinooks, Hercs w/Cons against ….”
  • A reminder (with huge kudos to Mark Collins for rooting this one out) that the Conservatives haven’t always been keeners on buying military hardware – this from 2005 “Canada’s military is set to buy new Chinook helicopters and Hercules transport aircraft without seeking competitive bids, a move that has opposition MPs crying foul.  (Liberal) Defence Minister Bill Graham has been engaged in high-level lobbying in recent days to win the support of senior decision-makers, including Prime Minister Paul Martin, sources say.  In those discussions, military brass are pitching a plan to issue “sole source” contracts for the new fleets of aircraft — purchases worth hundreds of millions of dollars — to avoid a drawn-out tendering process.  And they’re pushing ahead with the plan even though commanders have yet to finish their so-called capabilities paper, a document outlining what equipment the military needs to fulfil missions around the globe.  That research won’t be released until sometime around Christmas.  Conservative MP Gordon O’Connor (Carleton-Mississippi Mills) accused Graham of planning big-ticket military purchases “behind closed doors.”  “Who will benefit financially as the government skirts the checks and balances of competition?” O’Connor asked in the House of Commons ….” – a reminder of how those new Chinooks were bought by a then-Conservative government nine months later here
  • Ooopsie?  Detailed schematic diagrams are posted on the Internet of the top-secret military spy operations centre on Leitrim Road in south Ottawa.  The drawings are attached to a Public Works tender issued Wednesday for a renovation fit-up of the ops room, the heart of Canadian Forces Station Leitrim, the country’s oldest signals intelligence listening post targeting foreign electronic communications.  It supports the cryptography operations of Communications Security Establishment Canada, the coding, decoding and analytics agency that provides the federal government with foreign intelligence and computer network security.  The fit-up plans show not only the location of the ops room within the main building, but the number and arrangement of desks, computer screens, specifications of the voice data power system, a reflected ceiling plan, electrical and mechanical requirements and more.  Military officials were asked Thursday whether the public release of diagrams represent a security breach. Daniel Le Bouthillier, assistant deputy minister for public affairs, issued a statement saying the department takes security “extremely seriously.”  “With regards to this specific project, a security checklist was created and used prior to project submission and public posting of this information in order to ensure all security requirements are met.” ….” – more from the Lux Ex Umbra blog here
  • Big Honkin’ Ships (1)  The plain text version  “(Yesterday) Federal Ministers offered an update on the AOPS Project.  The first 2 of 7 phases of the 288 million definition contract were completed on time and on budget ….” – more here
  • Big Honkin’ Ships (2)  The Info-machine version  “The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, along with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Regional Minister for Nova Scotia, (yesterday) announced that two new tasks with a potential value of $53.5 million have been authorized for the construction of the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS). These two tasks are part of the definition contract awarded to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in March 2013.  The two tasks authorized are the Engineering Design Phase 2 and the Project Implementation Proposal Development. The Engineering Design Phase 2 task is the second of three design tasks in the definition contract that will mature the AOPS design. Irving, working closely with Canada, will further mature the AOPS design so that it meets all the contract design specification requirements. During this task, Irving will continue to work on 3-D modeling, which will ultimately be a key component of the design package from which the ships will be built. During the Project Implementation Proposal Development task, the shipyard will prepare a fully developed build plan, which will include all activities related to material procurement and construction ….”
  • Sea King Replacement  Problems with weapons systems and electronic sensors are among the shortcomings of four Cyclone helicopters being used for preliminary flight training at 12 Wing Shearwater, the Defence Department has confirmedAs Ottawa announced a new defence procurement strategy Wednesday, stalled efforts to acquire new maritime helicopters to replace the Sea Kings are moving toward a new contract with Sikorsky.  In a series of emails, Public Works and Government Services Canada and Defence Department officials addressed my questions on the troublesome 2004 agreement to purchase 28 Cyclone helicopters, with initial delivery slated for 2008.  It was announced last month that a preliminary agreement had been struck to move forward with Sikorsky on the $5.3-billion deal. This followed a second look at the previous contract, and a tentative threat from Ottawa last year to cancel it in favour of a competitor’s helicopter.  Public Works and Government Services Canada told me upgrading will be required on the initial eight helicopters it will accept in advance of the first contract-compliant helicopters, which won’t arrive until 2018.  “All the helicopters will be retrofitted to the 2018 configuration,” said department spokesman Sebastien Bois ….”
  • Blogger with good question  “Why Does Military Hardware Cost So Much?
  • Wanted:  70 x “bone conduction head sets to be delivered to two (2) different locations within 100 km of the National Capital Region by 31 May 2014″ - a few more details here

Written by milnewsca

7 February 14 at 8:00

What’s Canada Buying? – January 21, 2014

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Written by milnewsca

21 January 14 at 8:00

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – January 20, 2014

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  • Please do what you can to spread the message that folks who are having a tough time don’t have to suffer alone – #sendupthecount – more here on Facebook and here at milnet.ca (Disclosure:  I’m a moderator at Milnet.ca)
  • Another member of the Canadian Armed Forces has died of an apparent suicide, the eighth such death in just over two monthsLieut.-Col. Stephane Beauchemin, who was deployed in Haiti in 1997 and Bosnia in 1999, died last Thursday in Limoges, a small community outside Ottawa, the military confirmed on Sunday.  Officials, however, did not acknowledge that the helicopter pilot died of suicide ….” - more here, here, here and here.
  • “…. Canadian Veterans Advocacy president Mike Blais, who has been urging the government and military to take action on suicides, told the Ottawa Citizen that his own sources had confirmed Beauchemin’s suicide to him earlier in the day.  “The message has to resonate within the prime minister’s office, defence minister’s office and certainly the office of the chief of defence staff,” said Blais. “It’s time for action. We can’t stand by any longer and allow this to continue.”  Earlier this month NDP leader Tom Mulcair issued a direct plea to Stephen Harper to take “urgent action” on the issue/ He said Canadians have concerns about whether the system in place to help soldiers is broken.  The prime minister’s office responded by saying it was working with the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs to address the issue of soldier suicides. It did not go into details ….”
  • One former soldier’s story about adjusting after the CF  “Changes in the Canadian Forces have been fast, furious and non-stop since my last article on this site in 2010, which we called “Adjusting to life after Afghanistan.”  That adjustment has been much more wrenching than I initially thought, on both my professional and personal life.  Since 2002, the Afghanistan mission has claimed the lives of 158 Canadians soldiers. It has also left a further 635 wounded in action and 1,436 wounded with non-battle injuries.  But those numbers don’t touch on the human cost incurred here in Canada, whether by suicide or other post-traumatic stress disorder injuries ….”
  • Meanwhile,Army Commander Lieutenant-General Hainse discusses visits to all the Army divisions, deployments in the Philippines and Haiti, new capabilities and the future of the Canadian Army ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  “This week, 143 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will return to their home bases in Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta after the latest deployment to Afghanistan. These soldiers are some of the last Canadians to serve in Operation ATTENTION ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  Commentary:  “This weekend’s terrorist attack in Kabul, in which 21 people, including two Canadians, were gunned down, was a long time in coming. But such an assault was inevitable. Given how little success the Taliban has had in striking heavily fortified embassies and NATO bases, it was always astonishing that the insurgents had not aimed their hatred of the West at one of the six or seven popular, comparatively lightly guarded restaurants where the usual Third World crowd of aid workers, journalists, UN officials, spooks and retired soldiers working as security advisers congregate to pretend for a few hours that they are anywhere but Afghanistan ….”
  • More on Goose Bay layoffs  “Steve Kent is questioning the federal government’s commitment to 5-Wing Goose Bay given recent cuts and a new shorter contract. Twenty-five employees of Serco received pink slips this week after a two-year contract was signed. Serco provides firefighting services, weather forecasting, and site maintenance at the base. The Intergovernmental Affairs Minister says he immediately requested a meeting with the Federal Minister of Defence upon hearing rumours of the cuts last week. Kent is flying to Ottawa in early February to have a face-to-face meeting with Minister Rob Nicholson ….”
  • Commentary on farmer holding out on selling land near Trenton for new special forces base:  move it to Newfoundland!  “…. With sovereignty to the north becoming such a large issue, a Special Forces team would be a welcomed addition for Labrador.  So here’s the chance to do something classy, to disprove the cold conservative reputation that has shrouded Harper and the opportunity to pump new life into an existing base that needs it.  Just do the right thing and leave the old man alone, or come election time it could be a Shane ending, except there won’t be a little boy watching the Prime Minister ride off into the sunset yelling, Stephen, come back!”
  • The Halifax Shipping News blog on naming big honkin’ ships – more from the Canadian Naval Review here
  • Interested in learning a bit about the demographics of the disarmament group ceasefire.ca?  More here.
  • Middle East  “During his first official visit to the West Bank, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced additional support for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza to help advance the peace process, promote security and the rule of law, stimulate sustainable economic growth and deliver humanitarian assistance ….” – more in the Info-machine backgrounder here
  • A new exhibit at the Military Museums (in Calgary) is commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War IForging a Nation: Canada Goes to War chronicles Canada’s war efforts over the past century, through the eyes of soldiers and artists.  “I call it a celebration, but we are not celebrating war but [rather] our commitment to Canada for the last 100 years,” explains Ret. Lt. Colonel William Bewick.  The 32 year veteran’s work is on display, which he did after visiting what is now Croatia back in 1995.  “This church was desecrated by opposing factions, in order to racially cleanse this area and keep the people from coming back,” he remembers, adding the icons inside were destroyed, and bodies buried outside were disinterred. “When you see this type of thing, man’s inhumanity to man, it really does seem to fall short.” ….” – more here

What’s Canada Buying? – December 20, 2013

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Written by milnewsca

20 December 13 at 13:00

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – December 13, 2013

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Written by milnewsca

13 December 13 at 7:45

What’s Canada Buying? – December 12, 2013

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Written by milnewsca

12 December 13 at 13:00

What’s Canada Buying? – December 10, 2013

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  • New think tank study on Canada’s (attempted/alleged) defence procurement out  “In the summer of 2012, then Defence Minister Peter MacKay declared the effort to update Canada’s maritime helicopter fleet with 28 new Cyclone aircraft as the worst procurement in Canadian history. Harsh criticism indeed, but the fact is that almost 30 years have passed since government decided to update its dying fleet.  Sadly, this example is but one on a long list of procurement failures concerning Canadian national defence. A report published …. by The School of Public Policy (with the partnership of CDFAI and CMSS), breaks down this list of projects and offers recommendations on how to inject efficiency into defence procurement.  Author Elinor Sloan highlights some startling cases ….” – a touch of “quelle surprise (not)” from 3D’s Mark Collins here
  • Big Honkin’ Ships  Commentary  “….  Sure, the Defence Department may have severely misjudged the actual cost of the joint strike fighter purchase and had to push the “reset” button on the program to replace our CF-18 fighter jets, but hey, look at the success of the ship building strategy.  We may have just celebrated the fact that we are still flying 50-year-old Sea King helicopters and the Sikorsky Cyclones meant to replace them are still undelivered — 12 years into a four-year delivery date. Not only that, but cost overruns on the project are through the roof, but hey, the Conservatives are delivering on the ship building strategy.  The military procurement process has bungled, stopped, started and restarted the purchase of 108 close combat vehicles without yet announcing a decision. This has become an international embarrassment, but never mind, the Conservatives are on target with the ship building strategy.  Now (Auditor General Michael) Ferguson comes along and tells us the success associated with the ship building strategy is of mythical proportions, almost as enormous as the monumental price tag ….”
  • Wanted:  50 x mountain bikes for CFB Borden Regional Cadet Support Unit - a bit more in specs document extract here

Written by milnewsca

10 December 13 at 13:00

What’s Canada Buying? – December 6, 2013

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  • Big Honkin’ Ships  “Last weekend, Chinese-born Qing Quentin Huang was charged with “attempting to communicate with a foreign entity to supply information that the Government of Canada has taken measures to safeguard.” Huang works for Lloyd’s Register Group, which has been hired to certify Canada’s planned Arctic offshore patrol ships internationally.  But the only thing worth concealing about the Arctic ships is how embarrassingly incapable and overexpensive they will be ….”
  • Wanted:  someone to help study “non-linear aeroelastic prediction” to make CF flying safer  “…. Flight envelopes have been restricted due to unexpected nonlinear aeroelastic events, and the ability to clear new stores has been compromised. It is envisaged that this problem will be even more prevalent for new aircraft acquisitions as technology advancements push operational limits such that nonlinear behaviour may become the norm as opposed to the exception. At this time, the Canadian Forces (CF) has no capability to assess nonlinear aeroelastic behaviour, be it in-house and even at the Canadian level ….” - more on aeroelasticity (usual Wikipedia caveats apply) here

Written by milnewsca

6 December 13 at 13:00

What’s Canada Buying? – December 2, 2013

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Written by milnewsca

2 December 13 at 13:00

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