The Harper government has tried to scapegoat its way out of the F-35 debacle, blaming bureaucratic bungling, deceit within National Defence, just about any likely target that could deflect responsibility from themselves.
Now the recently retired assistance deputy minister of defence materiel has come out swinging.
Dan Ross, the former assistant deputy minister of defence materiel,
blames the Harper government’s culture of secrecy, and a lack of
accountability at all levels of government, for the project having run
so disastrously off the runway.
At the same time, Ross provides an explosive window into a military
procurement system that has ground to a halt thanks to infighting
between bureaucrats, and which he says threatens to leave the country’s
men and women in uniform without the equipment they need.
Ross is still a hardcore F-35 booster, evident from the fact he insists on still calling the light-attack, first strike bomber a "fighter." And he's not without his own critics.
There have been some, such as Ross’s ADM-MAT predecessor Alan
Williams, who felt Ross was too willing to give in to what the military
wanted, even if it meant reducing competition.
Ross says there were many times he pushed back on the Army, Navy and
Air Force because their requirements for a piece of equipment were
unreasonable or limited competition too much. But he also dismisses the
argument — which he says is prevalent in official Ottawa — that
competition is “sacrosanct,” especially when lives are on the line.