Executive Summary – Defence Procurement Organizations Worldwide: A Comparison

(Disponible en français : Résumé — Les organismes d’approvisionnement en matière de défense dans le monde : comparaison)

In Canada, defence procurement is a complex process involving several federal departments and agencies, notably the Department of National Defence; Public Services and Procurement Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada; and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. This decentralized, multi departmental approach to defence procurement is unique to Canada.

Other industrialized countries have used different defence procurement models, with procurement undertaken by individual armed services, defence departments, centralized defence organizations, separate government organizations or independent civilian corporations.

Notwithstanding the existence of these various defence procurement models and reforms in a number of countries in recent years, most processes – regardless of the model – continue to face similar challenges and criticisms. Many processes are characterized by bureaucratic hurdles, political influence, cost overruns and delays in delivering major projects.

No existing defence procurement model seems to be able to address adequately all of the challenges associated with defence procurement in the 21st century. These challenges include the growing complexity and rising cost of major weapon systems and of global supply chains, as well as the increased speed of technological changes in certain fields.

The mandate letters that the Prime Minister of Canada provided to several ministers in December 2019 refer to “analyses and options for the creation of Defence Procurement Canada.” In that context, an examination of the full range of defence procurement models used by Canada’s allies and other countries may occur in an effort to identify some of the advantages and disadvantages of each model, and their respective lessons learned.

Read the full text of the Background Paper: Defence Procurement Organizations Worldwide: A Comparison

Author: Martin Auger, Library of Parliament