Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Sept 2014 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter SEPT 2014 65
APDR: How do you think the NZDF is
going in rejuvenating its military skills and
CDF: Our goal is to lead, train and equip our people
to win. That is our primary task as a Defence Force: to
conduct military operations.
The NZDF is well on track with its military training
skills and bringing into service the new capability it has
acquired in recent years. The training that surrounds
this new capability means our people are learning to
work in different environments and how to make smart,
fast decisions while working collaboratively with our
agency and military partners.
Southern Katipo 2013 gave them the opportunity
to test themselves alongside military from nine other
countries. It was the first tangible and large step into
our future where the Joint Amphibious Task Force
(JATF) is a reality.
APDR: How comfortable are you with progress
toward JATF and the longer term plans?
CDF: The Service Chiefs and I work closely to ensure
we are ready for our future. Government requires us to
focus on our own region where there are challenges
around human security, crime and natural disasters:
JATF is the foundation that enables us to deliver on
We have continued to make tangible progress in
developing our joint task force approach.
With 2020 looming fast, our focus is utilising the
work done during the Defence Mid-point Rebalancing
Review. The Review locked in a degree of certainty
and stability for us, helping us deliver a force fit to fight
for the future alongside our key agency partners. The
DMRR process was robust, analytically sound, and
data driven and gave us a clear picture of exactly what
defence capabilities can be delivered out to 2035. It
also gave us the ‘how’ these must be integrated in our
people capability training.
APDR: In your view are our relationships with
Australia, FPDA countries, the US and Asian
allies going well?
CDF: Maintaining momentum in key relationships is a
priority for the Government.
Making sure we keep the right balance across our
engagement with traditional and emerging partners
remains a challenge for a force of NZDF’s size.
My counterparts always tell me they value the
interactions with the NZDF, so I think we must be
getting it right. However, we are not complacent
and are currently re-energising our international
engagement strategy, with a view to making sure our
efforts are focused and prioritised effectively.
APDR: Should we be doing more to move
along our emerging relationship with China’s
PLA and PLAN?
CDF: As well as being important for NZDF, our
engagement with the PLA is a key enabling element of
New Zealand’s broader China strategy.
Simply ‘doing more’ is not necessarily the smartest
way forward. I want to see us working together with
the PLA more effectively and making more of our
engagements in important areas like humanitarian
assistance/disaster relief planning and execution,
peacekeeping operations training and military
education; as well as having a greater proportion of
our bilateral interaction at more junior levels.
APDR: How do you balance planning for
NZDF warfighting capabilities with the need
to have the right resources for prompt HADR
CDF: Having well trained people equipped with up-to-
date sea, land and air technology ensures we are ready
for combat. Being able to turn this same high-end
military equipment to other security events brings an
edge – it is not a zero sum picture.
Every year NZDF participates in a number of HADR
exercises in and around the Pacific, enabling us to test
and train ourselves in different environments.
We couple this with varied training exercises
overseas with our military partners such as RIMPAC14
(Hawaii), OP HAMEL (Cairns, Australia) and New
Zealand hosted exercises such as WPNS (New
Zealand’s largest maritime exercise with 14 other
Navies) and Southern Katipo 13 (our first real JATF
exercise at home).
APDR: What are you doing, personally, to
ensure full implementation of the Defence
Capability Plan 2014?
CDF: Military capability cannot be delivered without
the support of committed and highly trained personnel
and it is my role to make sure NZDF has a long-term
plan for the investment in people capability. It takes
many years to develop a sailor, soldier, or airman or
airwoman with the skills, ethos and leadership to fight
and win. My plan identifies what processes, career
development, training and organisations, within and
outside the NZDF, that will help build a well-rounded,
well-trained defence force that the New Zealand
Government can deploy with confidence.
APDR: Are there any issues in meshing the
“capability set organisation” with the military
forces of partner nations?
CDF: The NZDF has five working groups within its
Capability Branch. They are C4ISR, land combat, naval
combat, projection and sustainment and operational
There is close co-ordination with the Services and
Capability Branch around new capability and this does
not affect our operational training or interactions with
our partner military forces.
Interoperability is a consideration as we develop the
capability solutions at the heart of our future planning.
APDR: Do you think it should be easier for
personnel to move in and out of full-time
service, possibly bridging the time out by a
Reserve service opportunity?
CDF: Our people picture is in a more positive
frame today. Morale is up, attrition is down and our
Remuneration 2014 package is just about to reach
We are always looking at how we can improve
career flexibility for our people. I recently held a People
Capability Summit where we looked at some of the
issues that could enable us to retain, grow and recruit
the skilled personnel we need and to refresh and
update our thinking.
A new People Capability Strategy is a priority for me.
APDR’S GEOFF SLOCOMBE RECENTLY
CONDUCTED A WRITTEN INTERVIEW WITH
LTGEN Tim Keating.
4/09/14 2:31 PM
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