You know the old saw, “misery loves company?” Well, we only need cast our gaze a little to the north to see that our Canadian brothers in arms are experiencing many of the same problems in procurement and development that the Pentagon is struggling with. David Pugliese wrote in The Ottawa Citizen yesterday that Canadian defense and procurement officials are not having a good time of it, and according to a new government report, many of its programs are suffering, or on life support:
Defence equipment projects totalling almost $10 billion are at risk because of a lack of management oversight and authority, according to a report by Defence Department auditors.
The report determined that "under-ranked" people led 20 equipment projects, with a value of $9.6 billion. "This poses a significant risk for high-value projects with insufficient senior management oversight," stated the report.
The report comes out at a sensitive time, as the Harper government in Ottawa is trying to increase defense spending, and the Defence Department is asking for $5 billion in new armored vehicles, and is pushing for a $3-billion program to acquire a new search and rescue aircraft. Pugliese writes that his sources tell him that “project offices are stretched or staffed with inexperienced personnel” while “others are run by ‘under-ranked’ officers who, because of their lower ranks, don't have the capability or authority to make key decisions.”
And in case the story didn’t sound familiar enough:
To deal with the shortages, the Defence Department is using private consultants as deputy project managers, but they do not have the authority to make decisions, according [to a new Chief of Review Services] report.
Outsourcing and understaffing: when has that ever gone wrong?