Published in the Ottawa Citizen, December 6, 2012

It’s been a rough year for Canadian defence procurement.

This past spring, the Auditor General lambasted the defence department’s lack of due diligence in selecting the F-35 to replace the air force’s aging CF-18 fighters. A few months later, the acquisition of new army trucks was cancelled when it became clear that industry would be unable to meet the military’s specifications within budget.

There are also signs that the widely lauded shipbuilding strategy is facing difficulties, as naval planners struggle to design vessels that do not exceed cost estimates. The 2012 federal budget, meanwhile, announced that the defence budget would grow at a slower pace than previously promised and that billions of procurement dollars would go unspent until 2015.

Defence procurement officials deny that there is anything worrisome going on. They insist that these are minor hiccups. A good deal of new military equipment has been bought in recent years without difficulty, and it is not unusual for complex military acquisitions to encounter setbacks….

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