Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark of the Royal New Zealand Air Force spoke recently to the virtual RAAF Airpower Conference on the Indo-Pacific Region. Originally, the conference was to be held in March 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19.
But the RAAF’s Airpower Development Centre has moved ahead with a virtual conference, consisting of the core presentations which would have been given in person.
In his presentation, Air Vice-marshal Clark focuses on why pulling up the drawbridge which has been done to hold COVID-19 at bay is not the way ahead for New Zealand in the South Pacific region.
This is a maritime region, with vast distances and many small nations.
He argued that geography is an important definer for New Zealand security but that geography is being altered by forces which are not limited by geography, such as cyber and space.
He argues that the New Zealand neighborhood had many “disrupters” in play reshaping the security environment, such as climate change.
He explained that New Zealand worked a wide variety of partnerships but was fully committed to supporting a rules based order in the region.
He noted that New Zealand needed to enhance its situational awareness and reach in the region, which is leading to acquisitions in the maritime awareness and lift domains.
These priorities were highlighted in the 2019 defence capability plan for New Zealand.Defence-Capability-Plan-2019
He argued for a broader view of the “gray zone” which is the area within which New Zealand operates its forces and its relationships going forward.
His presentation can be viewed below:
Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark
Air Vice-Marshal Clark joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1986 as a Navigator. During his flying career he has had four operational tours on P-3 Orion aircraft, as well as a tour as an instructor with the Royal Australian Air Force. His flying career has included command of an operational mission in the Middle East, and culminated with a tour as Commanding Officer of No. 5 Squadron.
Throughout his career Air Vice-Marshal Clark has held a variety of operational and strategic level staff positions. In recent years these positions have included Assistant Chief of Air Force – Strategy Management, Director of Strategic Commitments, Director of Defence Intelligence, Deputy Chief of Air Force, Assistant Chief Capability and Air Component Commander. In addition, he has served as the New Zealand Defence Adviser to India.
Air Vice-Marshal Clark completed Staff College in Australia. He has a Masters degree in Management (Defence Studies) from the University of Canberra and a Graduate Diploma in Defence Studies from the University of New South Wales.
Air Vice-Marshal Clark was appointed Chief of Air Force in September 2018.