Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Retired RCAF Lt. General hired into Lockheed Martin's top spot in Canada.

"Anybody know where I can find a job?"


It's good to know a retired RCAF officer need not rely strictly on his or her modest pension after retirement.  There are plenty of other jobs in the private or public sector for those with the experience and credentials.

Take Lt. General Charles Bouchard for instance, just slightly over a year (the mandatory "cooling off period) after his retirement from the RCAF, Bouchard has now been chosen as the new boss in charge of Lockheed Martin's operations in Canada.  Quite the prestigious, and no doubt well compensated position.

Does the name sound familiar?  It should, Bouchard led NATO forces during the bombing runs over Libya a few years back.  While the actual benefits of that action are debatable, the operation itself went off rather smoothly.  

But perhaps you heard the name somewhere else, maybe more recently?

Back in December 2012, when the damning KPMG report prompted the Canadian federal government to hit the "reset" button on the F-35 purchase, retired RCAF Lt. General Charles Bouchard was one of the five people named to study the F-35 and its alternatives.  Bouchard then bowed out, claiming he was "too busy".  Now, 9 months later, it seems we know what Bouchard was likely busy doing.  Obviously, being courted for a high-level job at Lockheed Martin would result in a gigantic conflict of interest if he were to stay on the panel.

Back in the RCAF, was Lt. Gen. Bouchard as outspoken and positive about the F-35 as other higher-ups?  Or was he more on the fence?  Either way, its pretty easy to figure out where he stands on Canada's next fighter selection now.

Some have accused Lockheed Martin of hiring Bouchard strictly to "seal the deal" for Canada's F-35 purchase.  While one cannot simply state this as 100% truth, the facts are pretty clear cut on this one:
  • Bouchard was a well respected senior officer with lots of influence within the ranks as well as the  federal government.
  • Bouchard was briefly in the position to directly determine what Canada's next fighter would be.
  • Bouchard bowed out of that position.
  • Shortly after, Bouchard accepts a high-paying and prestigious job at Lockheed Martin just slightly over the one year mandatory "cooling off" period.
Is there a conflict of interest here?  Maybe not.  But it sure seems precariously close.

3 comments:

  1. Hmm. The general turn down the job that the Torys offered him to be on the panel that analysis all the fighters available. I guess maybe he was always in favor of the F-35 and felt that he could not be open. We has anyone one thought of buying 25 - F-35's for attack, 25 Rafales or Eurofighters for interception and 20 Apache helicopters or A-10's to support the troops. All the eggs in one basket will break.

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  2. A force of multiple platforms costs more in the long run for a smaller air force like Canada's. Separate supply chains, separate training, etc. Even if one platform is cheaper to operate than the other, a single model fleet still usually works out cheaper.


    Of course, a fighter as complicated as the F-35 may end up disproving this general rule.

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  3. Well, I hope Mr Bouchard is an economist as well, the Canadian Government just posted another 2 Billion deficit. These jets, by themselves, or in context of all the other programs, still look unaffordable to me. Its amazing we don't have a clear Defence White Paper, this is whats clearly lacking in all these purchases (this would probably get in the way of politics). Doug has spoken of the Gripen, I was reading about Sweden's ability to produce submarines, and how the US Navy had one shipped to San Diego to test against its fleet. The Gotland, I believe got its periscope on the USS Ronald Regan. Pretty impressive.


    If Canada does purchase the F-35, I at least hope its the C variant so we don't shell out a bunch of money for new tankers, or money out to the yanks to use thiers.....

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