Monday, January 21, 2013

F-35 Fiasco Dumped Into Harper's Lap

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.



Owen Gray said...

In the end, Mound, Stephen Harper will have to face the consequences of his incompetence.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that the Canadian forces will purchase the limited range, underpowered F-35 light attack bomber in place of the long range fighter interceptor that's really required for Canadian defensive purposes. Does the Harper Government think that slapping some lipstick and a dress on the F-35 pig will convince us otherwise? What's their motive?

Steve said...

Whats the motive, money. The F35 can never be cancelled or there will be blood. The industrial military complex does not do refunds.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Owen. I'm not so sure. We'll be left with the consequences of Harper's incompetence long after he's safely (and comfortably) gone from Ottawa.

@ Anon. You know how kids want to show up for the first day of school dressed in the same fashions that "all the kids" will be wearing? The F-35 is pretty much the same thing. It's Canada's admission ticket to America's aerial Foreign Legion and our people want in.

@ Steve. Yes, money is a powerful motive. Lockheed was supposed to make bags of loot from the F-22 until it was canceled in mid-production run by Obama. That shifted the fortunes of America's biggest defence contractor entirely onto the F-35. That's when Lockheed quietly stopped talking F-22 and began proclaiming its poor cousin, the F-35, the greatest fighter in the world.