Kari Renko: A Case Study on Applying Decision Analysis in Defence Procurement


Public procurement procedures have been studied extensively as decision-making processes. Several decision analysis approaches for them have been proposed and also applied in practice. However, tight regulatory frameworks and real-life complexities complicate the application of decision-analytic methods.

I describe one complex real-life defence procurement and show how decision analysis can contribute to the success of the procurement, even though a rigorous, “schoolbook” application of decision analysis methods was not performed.

The “HX Program” was a competitive procurement process worth 10 billion euros to replace the Finnish Air Force combat aircraft fleet. This process was challenging for numerous reasons, e.g., (i) the weapon system to be procured was very complex, and the resulting capability is crucial for national defence; (ii) objective measurement and comparison of military capabilities of the candidate systems was difficult; (iii) some of the candidates made direct commercial offers, and some offered via the US Foreign Military Sales program, (iv) the procurement program had to be executed on the planned schedule before the current aircraft fleet reaches its out of service date (v) the procurement was by euro value the largest public procurement ever in Finland, and there was a high risk that the final selection would be challenged by legal appeals.

A unique, iterative decision-making model was devised and implemented. The six year long procurement program was executed as planned.

D.Sc. (Tech.) h.c. Kari Renko is an Executive Vice President for Strategic Programs and a member of the Group Management Team of defence and technology company Patria.

Patria is an international provider of defence, security and aviation life cycle support services, technology solutions and pilot training. Patria employs over 3,000 professionals in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, and Spain.

Prior to joining Patria, Kari had a long career in the Finnish Defence Forces. He retired as a Major General (Eng.) from the position of the Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command at the end of June 2022, being responsible for the procurement, sustainment, and support of all defence materiel and the provision of logistic services to the Defence Forces. In his position, he was also the Defence Forces’ Chief Engineer.

Kari has had a prominent career in various positions in the Finnish Defence Forces. In addition to the Logistics Command, he has held several management positions at the Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Headquarters and Karelia Air Command and has also served as an Assistant Defence Attaché in Washington D.C. with the responsibility for defence cooperation.

Kari holds a Master of Science in aeronautical engineering. He has co-authored a textbook on aircraft aerodynamics and flight mechanics.

Kari’s awards and decorations include the Cross of Liberty, 1st Class, and the Medal for Military Merits. He has been honoured with a Doctorate in Technology by Aalto University.