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  SoldierMod Volume 12 - December 2013
Volume 12 Articles

Country flagThe Integrated Soldier
System Project

Update on Canada’s Major Modernisation Effort

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The Integrated Soldier System Project (ISSP) is the Canadian Department of National Defense’s (DND’s), ambitious modernisation program. Envisioned by DND since 2008, ISSP was first proposed in 2011 as an official procurement initiative to provide the Canadian Army with a “lightweight integrated suite of state-of-the-art equipment, which includes network-enabled communications for voice and data, orientation and navigational aids for complex terrain, and an integrated power and data infrastructure.”

Photo: ©. DND Canada
Photo: ©. DND Canada

Launched in February of 2012, the program stalled, when the first RFP seeking acquisition of equipment and in-service support was cancelled by the DND in January 2013 over its failure to attract any fully compliant bids. Normal procedures by the Canadian government call for the cancellation of the solicitation in such cases. An independent fairness monitor, engaged for the duration of this procurement, has provided advice, including how best to handle non-compliant bid elements. He also agreed that all previous bids on the original RFP were non-compliant.

However, in April 2013, DND announced the issuance of a new RFP by the Public Works and Government Services Canada for the procurement of the integrated suites of advanced equipment required for ISSP. According to a DND Press Release regarding the new RFP, the ISSP contract will cover “production and delivery of up to 6,624 integrated suites, including weapon accessories, electronic devices, sensors, individual equipment and operational clothing to dismounted soldiers in the next four years.” The winning bid is expected to be awarded in December 2014.

The goal of the ISSP suite of gear is to significantly improve command and control, target acquisition and situational awareness for the warfighter by allowing seamless sharing of voice and data with intermediary command centres across the engagement landscape.

Those responding to the RFP will need to provide the equipment that can answer NATO Soldier System’s lethality, mobility and survivability capabilities, while at the same time enabling Canadian Army soldiers to feed communication and targeting information into their battle management command and control communication computer and information (BMC4I) system.

The new RFP is some 1800 pages long, and includes a detailed “Industry Day” Presentation from March of this year. It can be found by logging on to and referencing solicitation number: W8476-112965/B.

Since the very rigid bid qualification processes that resulted in all bids being rejected in January that forced the cancellation of the Project, the Canadian government has introduced a provision to allow defense firms to repair their bids on military equipment programs. The provision is an attempt to head off situations in which companies vying for a contract are disqualified over minor infractions as was the case in the cancellation of ISSP.

Tim Page, president of the Canadian Association of Defense and Security Industries, welcomed the new provision. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, Page said, “We think any opportunity for the government not to use a sledge hammer approach on procurement issues is a good thing.”

A lack of flexibility on the part of Public Works that prohibits any errors, even minor ones, in bid proposals also contributed to all bids being disqualified for the Canadian Army’s Close Combat Vehicle program in 2010 and again in 2012, according to Page.

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