Charlie Foxtrot


Defence expert Kim Richard Nossal presents a damning indictment of defence procurement in Canada, and shows how to fix it.

Defence procurement in Canada is a mess. New equipment is desperately needed for the Canadian Armed Forces, but most projects are behind schedule, over budget, or both. Not only has mismanagement cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, it has also deprived Canada and the CAF of much-needed military capacity.

Successive governments — both Liberal and Conservative — have managed the complexities of defence procurement so poorly that it will take years before the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Army regain the capabilities they need. While new prime ministers invariably come to power promising to fix problems inherited from their predecessors, getting it right has remained frustratingly elusive.

Charlie Foxtrot offers a fresh take on this important policy issue. It shows why governments have found it so difficult to equip the CAF efficiently, and offers a set of political prescriptions for fixing defence procurement in Canada.


Kim Richard Nossal has written a perceptive and invaluable analysis of the “mess” that for too long has characterized the Canadian military procurement process. By focusing on the broader policy and political context he provides insightful explanations for Ottawa’s chronic inability to acquire weapons in a timely and fiscally responsible manner and offers compellingly credible recommendations of what needs to be done to make it right. Charlie Foxtrot should elicit an enthusiastic “Bravo Zulu”, very well done indeed, from those in and out of uniform who are concerned about the future of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Joel J. Sokolsky, Professor of Political Science, Royal Military College of Canada

In this superbly researched, well-structured, easy-to-read book, Kim Richard Nossal provides us with a masterful analysis of what has plagued Canadian defence procurement for many decades. Policy makers are well-advised to pay close attention to what he has to say! While one might not necessarily agree with all of his recommendations, there is no argument that Nossal’s timely contribution fills a crucial gap in our collective understanding of an otherwise “messy” defence procurement business and the strains it creates on our under-funded, yet superbly led, Canadian Armed Forces. Definitely a worthwhile read!

Tony Battista, CEO, Conference of Defence Associations and CDA Institute

Worth reading to understand how much Canada would benefit if its leaders confounded voters and actually took the high road.

National Post

Throughout Canadian history, the story of defence procurement has more often than not been characterized by massive inefficiency and waste. Exactly why this should be so is rarely looked at outside specialist circles, which makes a brief and very readable book by Queen’s University political scientist Kim Richard Nossal worth noting.

An engaging and interesting read. It’s insightful and intimate. Nossal is quite knowledgeable about what was going on behind the government curtain during most of the procurement process.

Defence Report

About the Authors

Kim Richard Nossal

Posted by Dundurn Guest on March 2, 2016
Kim Richard Nossal photo

Kim Richard Nossal

Kim Richard Nossal is a professor of political studies at Queen’s University. He is a former editor of International Journal, a former president of the Canadian Political Science Association, and author of a number of works on Canada’s foreign and defence policy. From 2006 to 2012, he was the chair of the academic selection committee of the Security and Defence Forum of the Department of National Defence.

Ferry de Kerckhove

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 18, 2016

Ferry de Kerckhove

Ferry de Kerckhove is a Fellow of the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Adjunct Professor, Department of Political Science, Cape Breton University, and the former High Commissioner of Canada to Pakistan and Ambassador to Indonesia and Egypt.