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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

If you can't describe what you need, you won't know what you'll get

Procurement doesn't begin with the publication of the bid. It doesn't even begin with drafting the specifications. It begins with an honest and critical assessment of what it is the government needs. This can usually only be done once the government knows what is available in the market. See Federal Acquisition Regulations, Part 11.

Canada's auditor general blasts military helicopter purchase
Auditor General Sheila Fraser in her report looked at the military's latest 11 billion-dollar purchase of 15 CH-147 Chinook medium to heavy-lift and 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters.

Both experienced significant cost increases and schedule delays.

"National Defense underestimated and understated the complexity and developmental nature of the helicopters it intended to buy," Fraser said.

According to Fraser, the helicopters were described to cabinet as using "off-the-shelf" technologies, but significant modifications to the basic models resulted in one "aircraft that never existed before" and a "new variant" of the other.

As a result of modifications to the Chinook, for example, the helicopters cost 70 percent more than originally quoted by Boeing in early 2006, and will be delivered in 2013, five years later than planned.

Fraser blamed the military for not precisely defining its needs and priorities at the outset, as well as a lack of oversight in the new sole-source procurement process it followed.

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