Policy Briefs

Enhancing Defence Procurement Communications

Rear-Admiral (Retired) Ian Mack
Created On:
April 4, 2024



Brief Overview

This PIF Brief examines the issue of transparency in the Government of Canada’s communications, focusing on major defence procurement initiatives like the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) and the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project.

Authored by Rear-Admiral (Retired) Ian Mack, this brief highlights the importance of transparency on public trust in significant defence procurement projects, citing examples such as delayed Access to Information responses and concerns regarding cost estimates and progress of the CSC project.

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Executive Summary

Recently, Philippe Lagassé wrote a piece on the need for more trust of those prosecuting military procurement, while recognizing the troubling challenges to Parliamentarians and the public when things went wrong but identifying transparency as the answer. Having worried about transparency based on my own experience in government, I decided to explore the subject, transparency being defined as ‘the quality of being open to public scrutiny, free from pretense or deceit, readily understood and characterized by accessibility of information’, and further regarding the definition of being open as ‘completely free from concealment, exposed to general view and exposed or vulnerable to attack or question’.

About the Author

After retiring from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as a Rear- Admiral, Ian served for a decade (2007-2017) as a Director- General in the Department of National Defence, responsible for aspects of the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), and for guiding DND project managers for three RCN shipbuilding projects and four vehicle projects for the Canadian Army. Since leaving government, he has offered shipbuilding and project management perspectives in many papers and in person. Ian is a Fellow of the International Centre for Complex Project Management, of the World Commercial and Contracting Association and of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. He also is an Executive Associate of Strategic Relationships Solutions Inc.