New defence chief named

21:08, Dec 09 2013
Tim Keating
TOP JOB: Army Major General Tim Keating.

Major General Tim Keating has been appointed the new Chief of the Defence Force.

Keating, who is vice chief of the force, will be promoted to lieutenant general and take over from Lieutenant General Rhys Jones early next year.

The former SAS commanding officer joined the army in 1982 and served a tour in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said Keating was a "strong, credible" leader with more than 32 years experience in the Defence Force.

He had extensive organisational, management, leadership, and operational experience, and was well respected within the NZDF, and the international defence community, he said.

"During his time as vice chief, he has ably supported the [chief of the Defence Force] in uniting the NZDF around a strategic, cohesive vision for a future Defence Force," Coleman said.

"He has been able to translate strategic ideas into practical and achievable plans, particularly for use on the frontline."

Throughout his time in the army, Keating has held various command positions.

As well being commanding officer 1 NZSAS Group, he was also a commandant officer Cadet School, and commander 2nd Land Force Group.

He was deployed to Afghanistan as the commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, in Bamiyan in 2005.

Keating holds a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the US Army War College, in Pennsylvania.

In 2008 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

He took over as chief of army in February 2011. In December 2012, he was appointed vice chief of Defence Force.

His three-year term as chief of the Defence Force will begin February 1.