New approach recognizes there is no “one-size-fits-all


With the increasing complexity of procuring and maintaining military equipment, the introduction of the Sustainment Initiative marks an important milestone in the evolution of defence procurement.

Aligned with governmental priorities, the Sustainment Initiative is a collaborative approach between DND; Public Services and Procurement Canada; and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada that aims to better tailor Defence maintenance and repair contracts. It will encourage contractors to be more efficient and innovative, and builds in flexibility to adapt to changing needs over time.

“We have learned that to remain relevant in the complex military support environment, we need to learn from our allies, collaborate better with our departments, and apply best practices to our sustainment programs,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan at CANSEC 2016, an annual conference for the defence and security industries.

In practice, contracting teams in the three departments are provided with tools to work together, while engaging with Canadian industry throughout the process to find the best contracting solutions for equipment on a case-by-case basis. Options are assessed based on how well they balance four sustainment principles: performance, value for money, flexibility, and economic benefit. These principles also guide Defence Procurement Strategy governance committees in their decision-making processes for new and existing military maintenance and repair procurements valued over $20 million.

When a contract comes up for renewal, sustainment practitioners must determine if the existing equipment support solution achieves an appropriate balance of the four principles, or if changes are warranted to optimize the outcomes. This new approach recognizes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution and allows for more strategic practices in how work is assigned, managed, or contracted.

The Sustainment Initiative builds upon lessons learned from allies and DND experiences with Optimized Weapon System Management and the In-Service Support Contracting Framework, along with pilot projects in the land, maritime, and air environments, such as the Victoria class in-service support contract, T-56 and F404 propulsion engines in-service support contracts, and the Leopard II support project, to name a few. It is too soon to realize the long-term outcomes of these projects; however, regarding the Victoria class submarines, the options analysis resulted in changes to the way the vendor is incentivized and as a result, there is now a more predictable maintenance schedule.

This initiative benefits the stakeholders involved as it is an opportunity for the government to optimize value for Canadians, strengthen industry alignment, and foster innovation and continuous improvement.

To learn more about the Sustainment Initiative, visit the GCpedia page.

FT2011-0057 20 Sep 11 4 Wing Cold Lake 10 Field Technical Training Squadron (10 FTTS) Aviation Systems Technician Class A (AVN-A) Instructors, Master Corporal (MCpl) Marty Paddison, MCpl Ken Grant, and MCpl Mike Wilson hoist a CF-18 Aircraft engine to be used in the School as a training aid. The engine was lifted using a Pettibone 90 Krane out of an engine crate on to engine stands. Image taken outside the 10 FTTS hangar, 4 WIng Cold Lake, Alberta. Image taken by MCpl Kelly Low, 10 FTTS Imaging.

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