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Evaluation of Options to Sustain a Fighter Capability

The Terms of Reference guide the work to evaluate options to sustain a fighter capability into the 21st century. The evaluation of options is a key part of the Seven-Point Plan, announced on April 3, 2012.

This new evaluation of options will review and assess all available fighter aircraft. This work will include an assessment of the current and future threats facing Canada. Each option will be evaluated against the roles and missions of the Canada First Defence Strategy. The work will result in a comprehensive report with the best available information on the capabilities, costs and risks of each option, including bridging and fleet options.

Concurrently, a thorough examination of Canada’s fleet of CF-18s will be conducted, including the cost of any upgrades necessary to maintain safe and effective operations beyond their current life expectancy.

Previously, these steps supported the development of a Statement of Operational Requirement and led to an options analysis to meet mandatory requirements. For this new evaluation of options, the Statement of Operational Requirement has been set aside, allowing for a full consideration of the options available to sustain Canada’s fighter capability. Any effects on the Statement of Operational Requirement will be assessed once the options analysis is complete.

Consistent with the aims to improve due diligence, oversight and transparency, this work will be overseen by a panel of independent reviewers external to government. Their involvement is meant to ensure that the work performed is both rigorous and impartial, and that the results made public are comprehensive and understandable. The members of this panel are Mr. Keith Coulter, Mr. Philippe Lagassé, Mr. James Mitchell and Mr. Rod Monette.

The evaluation of options work will be led by the Royal Canadian Air Force, supported by the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat and overseen by a panel of independent reviewers.

The Government of Canada will not proceed with a decision to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft until all steps of the Plan are complete.

The Panel:

Mr. Keith Coulter’s professional career includes experience in the Canadian Forces, the private sector and the Public Service of Canada. While in the Canadian Forces, he was a fighter pilot, jet trainer instructor and member of the Snowbirds. He also served on an exchange posting with the U.S. Air Force and was the commander of a CF-18 squadron. He moved to the private sector in 1997 with Hill & Knowlton Canada and in 1999 joined the Public Service, initially with the Treasury Board Secretariat. In 2001 he was appointed as Chief of the Communications Security Establishment, and in 2005, he was appointed as Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada. He retired from the Public Service in 2008. Since then he has remained active through consulting, leading independent reviews and serving on advisory committees. He has a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, an MA in International Relations and a PhD in Political Science.

Mr. Philippe Lagassé is an assistant professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on Canadian defence policy and politics, civil-military relations in Westminster democracies, machinery of government related to foreign policy and national security affairs, and the nature and scope of executive power in the Westminster tradition. He holds a BA in philosophy from McGill University, an MA in war studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, and a PhD in political science from Carleton University. His current research examines national defence and executive-legislative relations in Canada.

Mr. James Mitchell is a founding partner of the Ottawa consulting firm Sussex Circle. A native of British Columbia, Mr. Mitchell grew up in Saskatchewan and was educated at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Colorado. He began his government career as a Foreign Service officer before moving to the Privy Council Office in 1983, later serving as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Board and Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Machinery of Government). He co-founded Sussex Circle in 1994 and since then has worked on policy and organizational issues for virtually every department and agency in government. Mr. Mitchell is Chair of the Departmental Audit Committee at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and a member of the Audit and Evaluation Committee at the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Mr. Mitchell holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Colorado.

Mr. Rod Monette is the former Comptroller General of Canada and a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA). As Comptroller General he was responsible for government-wide direction and leadership for financial management and audit. During his 28-year public service career, he held various senior management positions, including at Public Works and Government Services Canada where he was Assistant Deputy Minister (2001), and later, at National Defence as Chief Financial Officer (2003). He holds an MBA from University of Ottawa and a BSc from Carleton University. Born and raised in Regina, he spent several years with Western Economic Diversification, including as Associate Deputy Minister Manitoba. Retired from the public service in 2009, he is currently an associate with Rawson Group Initiatives Inc.