New Zealand has a new Chief of Defence Force

Line of Defence Magazine - Update

AVM Tony Davies
AVM Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force. Image: Ministry of Defence.

Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins has announced today.


Air Vice-Marshal Davies has been appointed for three years from 6 June, when he will also be promoted to Air Marshal. 

AVM Davies has been in the role of Vice Chief of Defence Force since 2018, and before that was Chief of Air Force from 2016-2018. He has also served as Air Component Commander (2016) and Assistant Chief Strategic Commitments, Engagements and Intelligence (2013-2016)

“Air Vice-Marshal Davies is an outstanding military officer who has served New Zealand with distinction for many years,” Ms Collins said in her announcement.

“With his exemplary leadership and broad experience, I am confident Air Vice-Marshal Davies will lead our defence force with integrity and a commitment to safeguard New Zealand’s interests.”

“Air Vice-Marshal Davies is a well-respected, strategic leader who will uphold the highest standards of professionalism and capability. He is well positioned to achieve an integrated defence force that is more connected, coordinated and agile.”

“I also thank the outgoing Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, for his dedicated service.” 

The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence and international security sectors.

The role is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Defence Minister.

AVM Davies joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1984 as a trainee pilot and for the next 16 years held a number of leadership and operational flying roles. In 2001 he was Boeing Operations Commander 40 Squadron, and in 2000 he was Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Force.

From 2003-2007 AVM Davies was Commanding Officer 40 Squadron (Hercules and Boeing 757 operations), before becoming Director Joint Operations and Planning, Headquarters Joint Forces NZ. In 2009, he was Base Commander Auckland (then Officer Commanding 485 Wing) and in 2008 he was Head of Air Force Capabilities.

As well as being awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his role as Mission Commander of a winter medical rescue mission from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, he has studied at the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, the United States Air Force Air University in Alabama, and the Asia Pacific Centre for Strategic Studies in Hawaii.

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