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Recruitment, Regional Engagement Among Goals of NZ Army's 5-Year Plan

Apr. 10, 2014 - 07:57PM   |  
By NICK LEE-FRAMPTON   |   Comments
New Zealand Army Chief Maj. Gen. Dave Gawn
New Zealand Army Chief Maj. Gen. Dave Gawn (LAC Amanda McErlich)
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WELLINGTON — New Zealand’s Army has released “Army 2020,” its strategy for the next five years, which outlines five key themes as service goals.

Described as a “continuum from Army 2015,” the strategy is intended to position the Army as “an effective land force, optimised for operations in a Joint, Interagency and Multinational (JIM) environment.”

Writing in the fortnightly Army News, Army Chief Maj. Gen. Dave Gawn said the strategy is centered on five themes, with the main focus on people.

■ Force Generated has the goal of achieving a balanced and sustainable force through “reviewing the way we recruit, train and retain our personnel,” and “ensuring the nucleus of the core,” — senior NCOs, lieutenants and captains — is retained.

Attrition rates soared above 20 percent a few years ago, Gawn told DefenseNews in an interview last October.

“As at 31 July 2013, the rolling attrition rate this year for the NZ Army is 16.7 percent. In comparison to 31 July 2012, when rolling attrition was 23.85 percent; this signifies an improvement in retention.”

Defense News has compared the Army Lists, which lists officers from second lieutenant upward, for 2009 and 2013 to track how many junior officers in the Army remained serving five years later.

Of the 378 second lieutenants, lieutenants and captains serving in 2009, only 296 remained serving in 2013, representing an attrition rate of some 22 percent..

The figures are especially acute for women officers: Of the 68 women junior officers serving in 2009 only 42 remained by 2013, explaining the Army’s recent focus on highlighting the role of and opportunities for women within its ranks.

■ Being viewed as a trusted regional partner, with goals including reviews of interagency engagement and “community engagement opportunities.”

■ Enhanced land effects, with the goal of achieving combined arms excellence in a JIM environment and keeping war fighting as the Army’s core business.

■ Enhancing “human performance,” which a New Zealand Defence Force spokesperson defined as “Combining education, specialist skills and physical training, enabling the NZ Army to work smarter domestically and internationally,” and “enhancing land worthiness. This includes a focus on practicing and enhancing safety when we operate in the land environment.”

The intended effect is rebuilding trust within the Army’s ranks and reinvigorating the profession of arms.

■ Enhanced resource management by way of smart logistics and “future-proofing infrastructure.” ■

Email: nframpton@defensenews.com.

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