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Joint operational headquarters for NZDF

18 September 2000 Media Statement

Joint operational headquarters for NZDF at Trentham

The command and control of New Zealand Defence Force operations will be centred on a new joint headquarters to be established at Trentham in the Upper Hutt.

Announcing the decision today, the Minister of Defence Mark Burton said the permanent joint operational level headquarters would be established at Trentham by July 1, 2001. It will replace the existing operational headquarters at Devonport (Navy), Trentham (Army) and Whenuapai (Air Force).

"We have to make the most effective operational use of the resources committed to New Zealand's defence requirements. This includes the assignment of single service forces to mount joint operations under a single command.

"The move to one joint operational headquarters is a significant shift in the way we manage operations. We have seen the benefits of this approach in East Timor. New Zealand's involvement in East Timor was planned and executed as a joint operation where the three services of Navy, Army and Air Force coordinated arrangements to provide an efficient and effective response," Mark Burton said.

The new joint headquarters will be responsible for all Defence Force operational deployments (the NZDF is currently involved in 14 missions worldwide) as well as all joint and international combined exercises.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Carey Adamson said the strategic, operational and tactical levels of command would be clear and distinct under the new structure.

The strategic level, which includes military relations and economic management, remains the responsibility of Headquarters NZDF in Wellington.

The various tactical levels of command remain within the three services. The operational level is the responsibility of the new joint headquarters.

The commander will be a two-star officer (Major-General equivalent) and be known as Commander Joint Forces, New Zealand. An appointment will be made in due course.

The single services, under their respective Chiefs of Service, will remain responsible for single service organisation and development. They will continue to recruit, train and sustain forces. These forces will be assigned to the new joint force commander, as and when required.

"Our recent experiences have taught us that greater synergy in planning, deploying and controlling the NZDF on operations can be achieved through a dedicated operational joint headquarters.

“This will be far more effective than our current practice of forming operational joint headquarters on a contingency basis," Air Marshal Adamson said.

Trentham was selected as the location for the new joint headquarters after an extensive review of all the options.

Establishing the joint headquarters will require the refurbishment of an existing building at Trentham and the relocation of 100 defence force personnel from Auckland.

ENDS

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