Expert panel to review defence science

  • Wayne Mapp

An independent expert panel has been appointed to review the provision of defence science and technology support in New Zealand, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp announced today.

“Expert advice on scientific and technological issues in defence is essential for the Defence Force to perform the tasks expected of it,” Dr Mapp said.

“The Defence White Paper identified the need for a comprehensive external review of the Defence Technology Agency and the provision of defence science and technology outcomes for New Zealand.

“In the coming decades the DTA will be expected to provide high-quality scientific leadership. This review will ensure that.”

The panel will be led by Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Ledson. The other members are the former CEO of the Ministry of Research, Science Technology Dr Helen Anderson, and scientist and entrepreneur Neville Jordan.

The panel will be talking with New Zealand stakeholders such as the security sector, science and business communities, as well as looking to overseas experiences and models of successfully delivering defence science and technology.

Interested parties will be able to make submissions to the panel online from late January, through the Defence Force website. A final report on the findings of the review will go to Dr Mapp in late March 2011.

The panel

Rear Admiral (Rtd) David Ledson ONZM was Chief of Navy 2004-2009. He joined the Navy in 1967 and underwent his initial training at the Royal Australian Naval College. He has a BA in history from Auckland University and attended the US Navy War College in Newport, Rhode Island. During his career he supervised the Navy's Anzac frigate project in Hamburg, Germany, and served as Chief of Naval Development and as the Defence Force's Director of Resource Policy. He is currently the chair of Maritime New Zealand.

Dr Helen Anderson QSO was a successful scientist for many years before moving into leadership roles. In 2004 she became CEO of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, after being its chief scientific advisor. She has been New Zealand’s representative at several international forums including APEC and the OECD. This year she was elected a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Neville Jordan CNZM is a graduate engineer from Canterbury University. In 1975 he founded MAS Technology Ltd, a telecommunications microwave company, which he developed into a large international operation which was successfully floated on the NASDAQ stock exchange. In 1998 he formed Endeavour Capital Ltd and now invests in New Zealand science and technology companies. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand and has received the British Kirby Medal, awarded for “outstanding eminence and distinction in advanced technology”. He is the immediate past president of the Royal Society of New Zealand.