Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR May 2015 Contents 24 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAY 2015
24 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAY 2015
NZ CHIEF OF ARMY
Q. How do you rate the capability of the New
Zealand Army now compared to where it
was, say, 5-10 years ago?
A. Today, we have grown professionally by working
with our coalition partners. Our capabilities
have evolved to meet our changing operating
environment, as well as the tasks expected of us.
All in all, we are currently in a good space as a
land force contributing to joint operations, and we
will continue to adapt and improve as the security
environment evolves and as the New Zealand
Circa 2003 – the time when we initially deployed
forces as part of the Afghanistan Provincial
Reconstruction Team – we had limited ability
to force-project into our region (the southwest
Pacific). We were reliant on C-130s and our allies
to get troops into the field. While our engagement
programme in our region was working well, our
focus was shifting towards force sustainment
(rotations) into coalition environments – particularly
in Central Asia. While competent in close-country
operations, we had to learn how to operate in
the multinational environment in a very austere
area. We were well practised in the application
of soft power within a low-threat environment
and peacekeeping, and undertook a transition to
working in a harsh and hostile place.
By 2009, the introduction of capabilities such as
HMNZS Canterbury had provided a mechanism to
force-project and sustain forces offshore. The changing
environment in Afghanistan meant we needed to
adapt, which we did. We introduced counter-I ED
[improvised explosive device] measures, upgraded our
communications suites, recognised the value of the
capability we currently hold (such as the deployment
of the NZLAV into Afghanistan) and tested our
capabilities under fire.
Q. There has been a lot of restructuring,
particularly around 1 (NZ) Brigade. What were
the reasons for these changes?
A. Revisiting the make-up for 1 (NZ) Brigade was a
key component of the Army 2015 strategy, allowing
the consolidation of units under a single command
(unity of command). We made this change to improve
the command and control of the land army, thereby
improving its effectiveness. Overall the creation of 1
(NZ) Brigade has proved successful.
Q. Are you happy with the extent of the army’s
restructuring so far, and what remaining
changes are yet to occur?
A. Army 2020 is our five-year strategy that will position
our army to continue to succeed into the future, exploit
future opportunities and leverage existing strengths
into the next decade. The major restructuring of the
army is for now complete. Our focus is now on right-
sizing our footprint at each of our bases.
As various ‘joint enabler’ projects are finalised, the
army will see some units transition to become joint
units. The military police was the first ‘Joint Unit’
that stood up at the end of November 2014, and
the goal is to have a Joint Health Unit established
by December 2015.
As a modern, agile organisation, our eye is firmly
set on our future. Our relatively small size gives
us the flexibility that allows us to adapt to future
operating environments and the demands placed
on us by government.
Q. Creating a Joint Amphibious Task Force
(JATF) is clearly an important aim. Can you
assess the progress so far, and is the army
on target to achieve this by next year?
A. It is an important aim and a lot of work has
already been completed in this area. We have
undertaken a number of activities both domestically
and offshore to confirm the integration of the Joint
Amphibious Task Force across the single services.
Progress is good, although there remain ongoing
challenges particularly within some key capability
areas such as logistics over the shore (LOTS),
casualty evacuation and surgery, and an effective
tactical command-and-control (C2) system. These
areas are being worked on as key capability
Exercise Southern Katipo 2015 will provide the
confirmatory assessment of a key milestone of the New
Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) Future 35 strategy,
and will provide us the next opportunity to evaluate the
progress of the Joint Amphibious Task Force.
Q. Please comment on efforts to work jointly
with the air force (RNZAF) and navy (RNZN).
Is the army’s ‘jointness’ becoming more
A. From the strategic level to the tactical level,
the single services are working to improve their
interoperability or ‘jointness’. We are a force for New
Zealand – and must operate in that environment to
deliver the best effect. The creation of cohorts with
our personnel and integration of operating procedures
MAJOR GENERAL DAVE GAWN,
NEW ZEALAND’S CHIEF OF ARMY
APDR’S GORDON ARTHUR SPEAKS WITH THE CHIEF:
Major General Arthur David Gawn assumed the role
of Chief of Army on 25 February 2013. (NZDF)
24 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAY 2015
23/04/2015 2:08 pm
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