Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Missing First Step

Rona Ambrose has a typically Ambrosian approach to hunting down Canada's next combat jet to replace the stellar but aging CF-18s.

Rona's gonna chat.  She's going to talk to our allies - the U.S., Australia and Britain.   Maybe she wants them to tell us what they want Canada to buy. 

Then she will consult with competing fighter manufacturers and come up with some sort of list, presumably of each aircraft's strengths and weaknesses or how good it looks in Tory blue or something.

And only then will the Air Force wade in with its statement of requirements to identify the winner.

In other words, our artfully dodgy Air Force nobs will be able to tailor their "statement of requirements" for a skintight fit with the airplane they want, the F-35.   And then Rona and Peter and Steve can say that, this time, they crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's.

All that's missing is the critical first step.    That's when the government tells the Air Force just what it wants those planes to do.   What are the priorities for Canada?   Is it to be able to field a mere handful of light, first strike attack bombers and, if so, who are we planning to attack and on behalf of whom?   Is it to have the sort of robust, fast and long-range aircraft needed to patrol and defend Canada's vast north and our coasts?

You see, if we leave out that critical first step - the one where we tell the Air Force what we expect them to do - then they're free to game the process as they have from the get go.   The Harperites get their ideological fetish fulfilled without having to face any public debate and the Air Force boys get to join the Pentagon's aerial Foreign Legion.   Today neither of them is to be trusted.


Anonymous said...

I've worked on projects in both the private and public sector, and step number one, without exception, was always the creation of a requirement specification. Have the project managers in Public Services and Defence forgotten how proper project management methodology works?

I doubt it. Rather, it appears that the whole F-35 project has been corrupted by politics.

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