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Kiwis Play Role Turning Guerillas Into Soldiers

Kiwis Play Key Role in Turning Guerillas Into Soldiers

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Defence Minister Phil Goff and COMJ Major General Rhys Jones after meeting with Timor Leste Chief of Defence Force Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak. Currently 403 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 15 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Advisory

28 March 2008


New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel are playing a key role in training and modernising the F-FDTL - the former guerrilla army which has become Timor-Leste’s national defence force.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Major General Rhys Jones has been in Timor-Leste to see first hand the work that New Zealanders are doing.

“Guerrilla fighters are very different in their structure and operations from a professional defence force. A standing professional army has a lot of logistical, administrative and training requirements that a guerrilla force does not”, said Major General Jones.

“NZDF personnel have provided training to the F-FDTL across a wide range of professional disciplines. For example our logistics trainers have had to cover everything from how to physically stack stores and manage a warehouse to the development and writing of strategic logistics policy.

“The feedback from NZDF personnel working with the F-FDTL has been extremely positive, they all enjoy the challenges of the role and the rewards of watching the F-FDTL assimilate what they are taught and work along the path of evolution from guerrilla force to professional army.

“The transition from guerrilla force to professional army can not be achieved overnight and we are working with our Portugese and Australian colleagues to constantly review and adapt the training to meet the needs of the F-FDTL and ensure that the training and assistance we provide them is both practical and relevant.

“We have to constantly review the training we provide for relevance and work with the F-FDTL to ensure we are meeting their needs. This is something I am proud that NZDF personnel are involved in, and creating a professional disciplined military force in a young country can only be a good thing”, said Major General Jones.


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