Skip to main content

Panel 2



This panel will consider observations and lessons from planning and executing domestic and regional operations within the COVID context between January to May 2020. It will offer reflections on command and control at the operational and tactical levels which presented unique challenges and opportunities in considering and delivering strategic outcomes. In both the Maritime and Air domains COVID-19 necessitated the careful balancing of: force protection, maintenance, and risk management against the delivery of directed outputs. This panel asks how was this achieved and what was learnt by the RNZN and RNZAF?


The provision of NZDF personnel to support planning, intelligence, and logistical support efforts within the national COVID-19 effort underpinned the utility of NZDF training and experience, and ability of its personnel to translate policy and strategic direction into actionable plans executed through the all-of-government construct. The overall value of this collective effort is exemplified by the number of personnel still engaged in planning and executing work-stream efforts in support of the national pandemic response. Whilst not as visible as force elements, the value of embedded staff working in isolation from the NZDF deployed effort, was clear.

Whilst this was not the first occasion that NZDF have deployed personnel within the All-of-Government environment, COVID-19 provided a unique scenario which resulted in an adapted approach that was not necessarily in accordance with Emergency Management doctrine or All-of-Government Command and Control. Understanding the scale of the impact on NZ’s health, economic, and social sectors and the rapid timeline of the assessed ‘threat’ of COVID-19 is crucial to understanding why elements of this approach taken were necessary. It also highlights why decisions were made in haste in difference to normal All-of-Government standard operating procedures within the national security system.

The key takeaway for NZDF personnel who are seconded into this environment is that a pandemic response is more akin to a military operation than other natural hazards. The continued threat posed by the virus meant that consequence management had to anticipate an evolving situation based on most likely and most dangerous scenarios. The primacy of modelling to understand the virus effects in response to different courses of action became key in ‘intelligence-led’ operations and the utility of evolving capabilities of machine learning and AI were clear in better preparing the national effort. The planning framework inherent in what we do, the planning culture instituted in our individual and collective training, and the efforts within NZDF to pursue new technologies to defeat an adversary are directly linked to success in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.


DJIATF – Colonel Andrew Shaw

Colonel Andrew Shaw serves as the commander of the Deployable Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (DJIATF). Col Andrew (Andy) Shaw joined the Army in January 1989, graduating from the Officer Cadet School (New Zealand) into the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA).

He completed a variety of postings within the RNZA including; Gun Troop Commander, Cadre Officer 32(E) Battery, Instructor in Gunnery (Technical) at the New Zealand School of Artillery, Air Defence Battery Commander (BC), A/BC of 161 Battery, Second in Command and Commanding Officer of 16th Field Regiment, RNZA.

In 2004 Col Shaw completed NZDF Command and Staff Course No 45 and subsequently completed a Master’s Degree in Philosophy (Defence and Strategic Studies). He also holds a Diploma in Business.

Col Shaw was posted to the UK for a two year stint with 47 Regiment, Royal Artillery, in 1995. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2005, was posted to the ABCA Program Office at the Pentagon in 2009 and served as the J7 CJFLCC-I responsible for the training of all Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces in 2015 and early 2016.

His previous staff appointments include; HQ Land Command (and the subsequent period of transition to HQ Joint Forces New Zealand (HQJFNZ)) within the Trg Branch, Operations Officer for HQ 1st New Zealand Brigade, Director of the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College, and in 2011 Col Shaw was again posted to HQJFNZ, this time as the Executive Officer to the Land Component Commander.

Most recently Col Shaw served in the United States Central Command (US CENTCOM) as the Senior New Zealand Representative and as the Chief of Staff of the CENTCOM Coalition Strategy and Planning Group.

Col Shaw is married to Viv and has three daughters; Casey, Kimberley and Hayley. His interests include; rugby (now as a supporter), skiing, hiking, boating and reading.

HQJFNZ – Colonel Matthew Boggs

Colonel Matthew Boggs is the Chief of Staff for Operations in HQJFNZ. Colonel Matt Boggs graduated into the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery in December 1990. He has held all regimental roles in 16th Field Regiment including BC 163 Battery and Commanding Officer from 2008 to 2011. He has posted overseas to 47 Regiment RA in the UK and the ABCANZ office Washington DC. He has held a number of staff roles in Army General Staff and Capability Staff and has deployed to UNFICYP in Cyprus, UNTAET in Timor Leste and UNTSO in the Levant. He is currently the J3 at HQ JFNZ.

ACC – Group Captain Shaun Sexton

Group Captain Shaun Sexton is the base commander for RNZAF Base Ohakea. Group Captain (GPCAPT) Shaun Sexton enlisted in the RNZAF in 1994 and following initial officer training completed ab initio flying training on the CT4B Air trainer, Macchi 339C and Sioux. He then completed operational conversion on to the UH1H Iroquois. As a member of Number 3 Squadron RNZAF he completed numerous New Zealand and overseas operational tours flying the Iroquois including in Antarctica, Bougainville, East Timor and Solomon Islands. This included a period as the 3 Squadron Detachment Commander on Operation RATA in support of the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI). While on Operation RATA he was awarded a Chief of Air Force Commendation for his service as Detachment Commander and was later awarded the NZ Bravery Medal for his actions as the captain of an Iroquois which conducted the dangerous night rescue of an Australian sailor in the Solomon Islands. GPCAPT Sexton is a Qualified Helicopter Instructor and has taught ab initio and operational conversion course students on the Air Trainer, Sioux and Iroquois.

GPCAPT Sexton was posted to RNZAF Air Staff as the Director of RNZAF Recruiting in 2005. In 2007 Group Captain Sexton successfully completed the NZDF Staff Course, obtaining a distinguished pass. He remained at the NZDF Command and Staff College for a three month tour of duty as a member of the directing staff before being posted back to Ohakea in 2008.

In May 2008, GPCAPT Sexton became the Project Officer for the NH90 Introduction into Service. In October 2010, he was appointed as the Commanding Officer of the Helicopter Transition Unit, the entity charged with the introduction into service of the A109LUH (NZ) and NH90 (TNZA) helicopters. He remained in this position until posting to the USAF Air Warfare College in May 2013. On return from the Air War College in July 2014 GPCAPT Sexton became the Director of Air Force Plans within Air Staff. In May 2015, GPCAPT Sexton was posted to Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand as the J7, Head of Training and Commitments Branch. In June 2016 he was transferred to the Commander of the New Zealand Defence College, a post he held until October 2017. In December 2017 GPCAPT Sexton was appointed to his current role as Base Commander RNZAF Base Ohakea. In 2018 GPCAPT Sexton deployed to the Combined Air Operations Centre, Al Udeid Qatar for a six month tour of duty. He returned to his Base Commander duties in January 2019.

GPCAPT Sexton holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Massey University, a Masters of Strategic Studies in Defence from Victoria University of Wellington and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Air Force, Air University.

MCC – Commander Jonathon Beadsmoore

Commander Jonathon Beadsmoore is the Executive Officer to the Maritime Component Commander. Jon Beadsmoore grew up in the south of England in a Naval Family and was educated at Clayesmore School in Dorset and Yeovil College.  Joining the Royal Navy in 1985 he attended Britannia Royal Naval College before reading for an honours degree in Physics under a cadetship scheme at Imperial College London.  After graduation he completed his bridge watch keeping training and was appointed to the Frigate HMS CUMBERLAND as the Signal Communications Officer in 1990 where he served in the Falkland Islands and Mediterranean.  In 1993 he qualified as a Fighter Controller and was appointed to the Air Defence Destroyer HMS NOTTINGHAM until the end of 1994; during this period the ship was involved in embargo operations against the Former Yugoslavia where Jon acted as one of the ship’s boarding officers regularly leading inspection teams enforcing the UN sanctions.  Having qualified as a Frigate navigator in 1995 he served in the Anti-Submarine Frigate HMS MONMOUTH for a year before attending the Principal Warfare Officer Course at HMS Dryad near Portsmouth in 1997.

After the PWO course he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and appointed to the Frigate HMS NORTHUMBERLAND as the Gunnery Officer and later the Operations Officer.  A further period of specialist Air Warfare training in 1999 was followed by an appointment to the 3rd Destroyer Squadron initially as the Operations Officer in HMS LIVERPOOL and then as the Squadron Operations Officer in HMS EDINBURGH where he was involved in training and mentoring of ships’ warfare teams.  Between 2001 and 2003 he continued in a training role on the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training at Plymouth as an Above Water Warfare specialist.  In 2003 he took command of the Mine Hunter HMS WALNEY for 2 years during this time the ship deployed to the USA and conducted operations around the UK.

In December 2005 Jon moved to New Zealand and joined the RNZN, quickly taking up a posting as the Operations Officer in HMNZS TE KAHA.  After 9 months and deployments to Australia and SE Asia he took up a position as the Fleet Warfare Officer with the Maritime Operational Evaluation Team in Auckland helping to mentor and evaluate ships during sea training periods.  In 2009 he joined HMNZS TE MANA as the Executive Officer, once again deploying to Australia and SE Asia.  In May 2010 he was promoted to Commander to take up a posting as the Fleet Seamanship and Executive Officer in Auckland before taking command of HMNZS TE KAHA in January 2011.  His two years in command were spent largely deployed to Australia, SE Asia and the Pacific and included participation at Exercise RIMPAC 2012.  In 2013 he joined the Frigate Systems Upgrade Project as the Capability Manager helping to modernise the RNZN’s Frigates.  From December 2015 Jon took on the role of Commander Directorate of Sea Power and Warfare in Auckland working on the development of tactics and procedures for the Navy.  He is currently the Executive Officer to the Maritime Component Commander at HQ Joint Forces New Zealand.

Jon lives to the North of Auckland on a small lifestyle block with his wife Amira and their Daughters Ayeisha and Noor.  He runs, usually chasing errant cows, to keep fit and plays golf for the amusement of others.

AGS – Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Murray

Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Murray serves as the Director Strategic Concepts, and Army Business Change Manager within Army General Staff. Lt Col Murray enlisted as an Officer Cadet in January 1999 as part of the New Zealand Army’s Malone Scheme where he completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University. In December 2001, Lt Col Murray graduated from Officer Cadet School (NZ) as a Lieutenant. Upon graduation he was posted into the Army Depot before joining 2nd /1st Battalion, RNZIR. During his time at the 2nd/1st Battalion, he filled a variety of junior officer regimental appointments, including Rifle Platoon Commander, Direct Fire Support Weapons Platoon Commander and Company Second-In-Command as well as serving in both the Solomon Islands and Belize. In December 2006, Lt Col Murray posted into his first extra-regimental appointment as the Adjutant of the Officer Cadet School of New Zealand, and subsequently Officer Commanding of the Corps of Officer Cadets. In 2009, Lt Col Murray was posted on exchange to the Land Warfare Centre, United Kingdom before commencing a posting as a contingency planner in the Plans branch within in Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand from January 2011.

In December 2013, Lt Col Murray was posted to the 1st Battalion, RNZIR and filled the positions of both Officer Commanding Support Company and Officer Commanding Alpha Company. In 2015, he deployed to Afghanistan as the Senior New Zealand Mentor and Senior National Officer at the Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy. In January 2016, he was posted to Canberra to the Australian Army Command and Staff College where he attained a psc(j) (AS) qualification and a Master’s Degree in Military and Defence Studies from the Australian National University. With effect January 2017, Lt Col Murray commenced a posting as the Assistant Director Strategic Commitments, Domestic, within the Strategic Commitments and Engagements Branch within Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force. Lt Col Murray was promoted to his current rank with effect 10 December 2018 and posted to his current role as the Director Strategic Concepts, and Army Business Change Manager within Army General Staff.

Lt Col Murray is married with two young children and lives in Waikanae. His wife, Heather, is a pilot in the RNZAF who holds the rank of Squadron Leader.

AGS – Hannah Locke

Hannah Locke serves as the senior forecast analyst in Army General Staff. Hannah Locke joined the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory as an Operational Analyst in 2011 after graduating with Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Bath.

Hannah developed Future and Conceptual Force scenarios and wargames to identify key future requirements. Hannah also provided the red perspective and analysis for a joint Peace Support Operations Model wargame conducted between the Pentagon and deployed Joint forces in Afghanistan; conclusions helped shape the operational and strategic plans for the withdrawal of UK/US troops. In 2013, Hannah provided analytical advice to operational decision makers at Permanent Joint Head Quarters. Key advice included concerning trends in significant actions, effectiveness of decompression, and logistical implications of redeployment. During the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in 2014, Hannah advised on the medical requirements for UK military support, earning a Chief Statisticians Award for her work.

From 2015 to 2018, Hannah developed the UK’s deployed Science and Technology (S&T) capability from ad hoc support to an internationally recognised professional service which provides Operational Analysis and Scientific Advice directly to deployed military operational headquarters and commanders. This work included developing a rigorous recruitment, assessment, and training programme for personnel, robust and operationally focused tools and methods, and the military understanding of the value of deployed S&T. Hannah has led many teams of analysts on numerous land, joint, and multinational exercises, in particular gaining recognition for integration of evidence based decision making within 16 Air Assault Brigade planning and command. In December 2018, Hannah deployed as the Operational Analyst within the newly formed Carrier Strike Group on board HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH to establish Operational Analysis as an integral part of all maritime task groups. Following on form that, Hannah then provided the objective campaign assessment and ad hoc analysis to the Joint Expeditionary for 2019 BALTIC PROTECTOR.

Hannah joined the NZDF in February 2020 as the senior forecast analyst in Army General Staff. Four weeks later, she was seconded into the All of Government COVID response.