Vacancy: Secretary of Defence and Chief Executive, Ministry of Defence

Line of Defence Magazine - Autumn 2024

Andrew Bridgman
Secretary of Defence Andrew Bridgman. Image: Ministry of Defence.

Secretary of Defence Andrew Bridgman’s five year term as the country’s top Defence civilian is due to end on 30 June 2024, and the Public Service Commission is now seeking a suitably qualified replacement.

Applications are now being accepted for the role of Secretary of Defence (SECDEF), with completed applications to be submitted by Thursday 04 April at 11:59pm.

“As the principal civilian advisor to the Government on defence matters, the Secretary of Defence will have experience developing and leading high-quality policy and strategic advice while leading and managing the delivery of multiple functions through a public service organisation as part of a broader system,” states the Public Service Commission’s announcement.

According to the Position Description, the Secretary of Defence:

  • Leads the provision of policy advice on defence matters, including advice on deployments and prepares defence assessments both in consultation the Chief of Defence Force.
  • Is responsible for advice in respect of military capability options.
  • Is responsible for arranging the assessment and audit of any of the NZDF’s functions, duties and projects and of the Ministry’s own capability function.

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“The appointee will have a record of delivering system-wide results throughout their career, enabled by their collaboration and relationship-management skills,” states the announcement. “They will have a strong understanding of the levers that will increase the strategic impact of the Ministry’s work and will be experienced in working with Ministers.”

“The Secretary of Defence will be expected to build the capability of the Ministry to ensure that Defence sector investments are fiscally responsible and sustainable.”

Incumbent Secretary, Andrew Bridgman, assumed the role on 1 July 2019. He was previously the Chief Executive and Secretary for Justice, commencing that role in August 2011.

According to his profile on the Ministry of Defence website, he was also previously the Deputy Chief Executive, Ministry of Health from 2007, and from August 2010 to January 2011 was the Acting Chief Executive and Director-General of Health

Prior to joining the Ministry of Health, Andrew was Deputy Secretary, Policy and Legal Group, Ministry of Justice, having begun his public service career in 1991 as a Senior Solicitor in the Ministry of Māori Development.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Victoria University of Wellington and worked as a Solicitor in Rudd Watt and Stone (now Minter Ellison).

The appointee to the role must be a New Zealand citizen, and the appointment will be subject to a New Zealand Government Top Secret Special security clearance. Information about the vacancy can be viewed at and downloaded from the Public Service Commission’s website.