(accessible to federal government employees only)
The PWGSC Washington Office, located at the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, has two main activities.
The Office currently manages over 600 government-to-government agreements for purchases under the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program. This is the program through which Canada and other foreign governments acquire defence articles, services and training from the US Government. In addition to contracting, PWGSC Washington does end to end contract management as well as funds management, export clearances (for commercial sales as well as FMS deliverables), and delivery tracking. The portfolio of contract agreements is valued at over $3B. The annual business volume is between $350 and $500 million, representing approximately 10 percent of the Department of National Defence's (DND) overall materiel and support procurement budget. FMS contracting must conform to both Canadian and US acquisitions laws, regulations and policies and requires extensive interaction with the US Departments of Defense and State.
The Washington Region supports the PWGSC International Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and best practices between PWGSC and its USG counterparts. Since the launch of the ICI in 2002, PWGSC officials have explored several areas of common interest with the US Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, the Office of Management and Budget, the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Homeland Security. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between PWGSC and GSA in June 2003, the office has supported a variety of activities, such as joint collaborative working groups and initiatives and biannual meetings of the two management teams.
As DND's contracting agent, PWGSC is supporting the "Canada First" Defence Strategy to help rebuild the Canadian Forces into a first class, modern military. The first step forward for "Canada First" included the announcement of several procurements. PWGSC Washington is contributing to this overall effort through its FMS Program. Of particular note, is the Strategic Airlift Project involving the purchase of four C-17 aircraft. The C-17 was the first acquisition under "Canada First" and was a combination of a Direct Commercial Sale and a Foreign Military Sale. In January 2007, PWGSC Headquarters issued the contract for the aircraft and the Washington Office signed FMS agreements for associated equipment, technology, in service support and training. The first C-17 was delivered in August 2007 (seven months after contract award). The delivery of the fourth and final aircraft took place in April 2008.
In January 2007, responding to an urgent requirement from DND, PWGSC's Washington Office purchased Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) Vehicles for Afghanistan through Foreign Military Sales. Six Husky vehicles, five Cougars and five Buffalos were all delivered in Afghanistan by mid-October. These vehicles were required to bring some much needed protection to soldiers from roadside explosives, which were taking a terrible toll on our troops. Within two days of delivery, the first vehicle was hit with an IED. To date, five more have been struck. Fifteen Canadian soldiers received either minor or no injuries and all were able to walk away from the explosions. As a result of this timely delivery, other lives have been saved, but it is difficult to assess how many, as these vehicles are successfully doing their job of detecting IEDs before they are triggered.
The Manley Report recommended that, "the Government should secure. no later than February 2009, new medium lift helicopters." To fill the gap until Canada has in place its planned medium lift capability comprising sixteen Chinook 47F model helicopters, the Canadian Forces plan on purchasing an interim medium lift capability to begin operating in theatre from February 2009 for at least two years. The Washington Office prepared the agreements for the purchase of six model 47D Chinook helicopters, together with associated in service support as well as pilot training and seasoning. Two "Team International" meetings were held in Washington with principals from the Canadian Forces, DND, PWGSC, the US Army, DOD and industry to establish a schedule for delivery. With the recent Cabinet and Treasury Board approval, the pieces have been put in place to meet this very challenging schedule.
The U.S. Department of State is taking an increasingly rigid approach to export controls/International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITARS) as they apply to the export of controlled unclassified military goods and technology to Canada. In particular, the US requires confirmation that a Canadian person seeking access to ITAR controlled technology is not a national of a US-proscribed country such as China or Cuba. Application of this regulation to Canadian government or private sector employees conflicts with Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality. This issue is creating major problems for DND's new procurements from US sources. PWGSC Washington is actively engaged with Embassy officials in efforts to identify a solution with DOS contacts and to engage political support.
With the tightening of export controls, the transportation of shipments has become more complex. The Washington Office is now accredited to issue shipper's export documentation and is the point of contact for DND for some commercial, as well as all FMS shipments, thus ensuring delivery within tight timeframes to meet urgent operational requirements.
The Region plays an important role in FMS reform. The Director General chairs the Foreign Procurement Group, a network of 30 countries that works with the US Department of Defense to improve FMS processes and systems and to bring about overall reforms.
The Washington Office is a key player in the Canadian Embassy and among the international customer community in Washington DC on combating protectionist ("Buy-American") legislation and in supporting conferences and other outreach activities with the Administration and staffers on Capitol Hill on the benefits of global defense trade and cooperation. These activities contribute to a more informed policy debate that will benefit both the U.S. and its allies. Recent examples of such outreach activities includeorganizing a conference on Capitol Hill where high level speakers from industry, government and the international community debated the myths and facts of globalization in defense,co-chairing and speaking at several Common Defense Conferences, participating in studies by the Heritage Foundation and the Government Accountability Office on the US military industrial base,and guest lecturing at the Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management.
The collaboration between GSA and PWGSC was formalized in June 2003 with a signing of an MOU at a bilateral meeting of the executive teams. The Washington Office acts as a catalyst and support to the follow-on activities under this MOU, in particular the work of the forums that have developed knowledge partnerships in the areas of acquisitions, e-government and real property. As a result of the network of senior USG officials the Washington Office has developed, it is able to respond quickly to urgent requests for information or meetings.
As an example, it was able to arrange on short notice meetings for the Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary's Task Force on Procurement Reform and has provided quick responses on US experiences requested for Question Period. In the past three years, visits have been organized for delegations led by the Minister, Deputy Minister, Associate Deputy Minister, PWGSC ADMs and several Directors General. Exchanges and collaboration in the areas of electronic tools, business process reform, support to small and medium size enterprises, greening and others have been invaluable to PWGSC as we move forward on procurement renewal and real property transformation.
For more information contact:
Jennifer Stewart, Ph.D.
Director General, Defence Procurement