So why do we have elected politicians if they aren't held responsible for the decisions they make?
What knowledge or skill do most politicians bring to their portfolios? Do you think most of them, or even a few of them know the first thing about in this case defence? Do you think if they decided to read a thousand page requirements document that they could actually add any value?
Tell me, what experience in the defence sector does Ursula von der Leyen bring? How about Florence Parly? Robert Wallace for the UK at least served as a Captain in the British Army but that hardly qualifies him to review and comment of the requirements for a fighter jet. The Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Saijin served with the Canadian Army as well before moving to policing. His experience in the Army still doesn’t qualify him to make informed comment on a thousand page fighter jet requirements document.
Politicians are the public face of such transactions, and the only thing a politician cares about is getting reelected. Do you really believe that they can't afford more than five minutes to study what they're spending billions of tax monies on?
Again, Defence departments employ large numbers of highly skilled and knowledgeable staff to make recommendations that a Minister would approve. Not only is a minister busy with public engagements, actually appearing in parliament but also the width and breadth of managing a department that is often larger than most fortune 500 companies. A defence minister does more than just sign acquisition docs, they manage the affairs of current military deployments, changing legislation, are concerned with raise, train and sustain efforts, are involved in inquiries about things going wrong, preparing the next years military budget, promotions etc. To expect them to be all over every aspect of a procurement, even one as large as a fighter jet, is simply not possible.
Why say "We won't buy X" and then create a competition where X is the obvious winner?
The answer to that is very simple. It is easy to say “we won’t buy X” when you are in opposition trying to win majority government. It is a far different matter to then actually run a competition, or manage the budget etc according to legislation and established Government policy when you are in Government…