The first New Zealand multi-agency conference on Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED), hosted by the NZ Defence Force, has been a notable success.
A number of representatives from New Zealand agencies including the Police, Customs, Air Security, Maritime New Zealand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the NZ scientific community, came together to discuss ways to co-operate to counter the threat posed by IED.
The three day event was also attended by a number of key international representatives from Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Conference Coordinator, Major Mark Bateman, said that being able to bring together such a broad and diverse range of national and international experts was very productive.
IEDs are the biggest threat to military personnel overseas. There are around 630 IED incidents around the world each month, excluding Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan there were approximately 1,000 IED incidents in February 2012 alone.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Dave Gawn said the NZ Defence Force has gained a lot of knowledge and lessons from our experience in Afghanistan. "It is important that we retain these lessons and work closely with our partners who share security responsibilities both nationally and internationally, to ensure that New Zealanders stay safe and that we prepare for the future."
The C-IED conference was the first of its kind in New Zealand, and is an important step in developing relationships between the NZ Defence Force and other government agencies to address this issue.
"Recent experiences with the Christchurch Earthquakes, the Rena disaster and the Rugby World Cup have shown the benefit of a whole of government approach to resolving some of the major issues that face New Zealand.
"The IED threat is equally relevant to the domestic front in New Zealand. There are people who, given the right opportunity, will seek to threaten our nation’s security and national interests.
"A unified whole of government approach and a multinational strategy is required to ensure success in our efforts to defeat potential threats," added MAJGEN Gawn.
"The conference was able to examine how best to learn from the expertise and experiences of those in attendance, and through a series of working panels we were able to stimulate some excellent ideas on how best to share information and work together to face IED and other emerging threats."
Major Josh Wineera, currently seconded to Massey University, added that information sharing and working together to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders must be a high priority for the security agencies in New Zealand.
"Despite the main focus of the conference revolving around IEDs, it was recognised that many of the processes used in combating IEDs are equally applicable to any number of threats. If New Zealand’s security agencies work effectively together, the impetus will be that much greater and the chances of an adversary succeeding that much reduced.
"Many of our international partners are seeking this type of approach within their own nations, and through this conference, New Zealand has established itself as a lead player in the field."
For further information contact Snr Media Advisor, Kirsty Taylor-Doig, Defence Communications Group, 021 806 926.