The senior member of an Australian panel and former US Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter will bring a wealth of US defence supplier experience (including Corporate Vice President Northrop Grumman). The "competitive" evaluation process has already selected the US made combat system. (Photograph Courtesy Northrop Grumman)
Submarine Matters on March 26, 2015 indicated Defence Minister Andrews' intention to appoint an expert advisory Panel for the "competitive" evaluation process.
The biggest surprise among the four Panellists selected is that the most senior is an American Donald C. Winter, "senior" by virtue of his position as a former senior politician (US Secretary of the Navy). A foreigner would normally bring a degree of disinterested neutrality. However Defence Minister Andrews has already indicated that the future submarine's combat system (20% to 30% of the project?) is to come from American defence companies. On February 20, 2015 Defence Minister Andrews declared:
"...the Government has endorsed a set of key strategic requirements for our future submarines:...c) The combat system and heavyweight torpedo jointly developed between the United States and Australia as the preferred combat system and main armament."
This makes Winter (with his business background) an interested party. It should be noted that Winter held senior positions in Northrop Grumman which may well supply systems and sensors to the Australian submarine. It is appropriate to ask "will the Panel be involved in vendor participation and pricing issues involving US vendors or with BAE Systems Australia" (see below)?
DEFENCE MINISTER ANDREWS MEDIA RELEASE - June 5, 2015
Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews has released "Transcript – Expert Advisory Panel on the Future Submarine Competitive Evaluation Process – 5 June 2015 http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/2015/06/05/minister-for-defence-transcript-expert-advisory-panel-on-the-future-submarine-competitive-evaluation-process-5-june-2015/ :
"...The Expert Advisory Panel will assure the Government that the competitive evaluation process remains sound, is conducted in accordance with probity and accountability principles, and that participants have been treated fairly and equitably.
The members of the Expert Advisory Panel are:
• Professor Donald Winter [an American businessman, academic and] former Secretary of the United States Navy; [well placed to represent US political and US business interests - including the pre-determined US Combat System that will be incorporated into the Soryu.]
• The Honourable Julie Anne Dodds-Streeton, a former Justice of the Federal Court of Australia;[well placed to anticipate some of the inevitable legal battles including those with the US (see Donald Winter).]
• Mr Ron Finlay, one of Australia’s leading infrastructure specialists with very extensive legal experience; and
• Mr Jim McDowell, who was a member of the First Principles Review team with very extensive Defence experience. [former Chief Executive, BAE Systems Australia. Now currently listed as CEO BAE Systems, Saudi Arabia.]Collectively, these advisers share experience in complex military acquisition programs, legal and probity matters, and major projects...."