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Chief of Defence Force (New Zealand)

The Chief of Defence Force (CDF) is the appointment held by the professional head of the New Zealand Defence Force. The post has existed under its present name since 1991. From 1963 to 1991 the head of the New Zealand Defence Force was known as the Chief of Defence Staff. All the incumbents have held three-star rank. The current Chief of Defence Force is Air Marshal Kevin Short.[1]

Chief of Defence Force
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
Coat of arms of New Zealand
Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short.png
Air Marshal Kevin Short

since 1 July 2018
Member ofNew Zealand Defence Force
Reports toMinister of Defence
Term lengthThree years (renewable)
Constituting instrumentDefence Act 1990
Formation1 July 1963
First holderVice Admiral
Sir Peter Phipps
DeputyVice Chief of Defence Force
WebsiteOfficial website


The CDF is the professional head of the defence forces and serves as the principal military advisor to the government. He is responsible for directing the Chiefs of Service and ensuring moral. The CDF also serves as the Chief Executive of the Defence Force, thereby being the person with sole accountability to the Government and people of New Zealand.[2]


The following list chronologically records those who have held the post of Chief of Defence Force or its preceding positions, with rank and honours as at the completion of the individual's term.

Name Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch
Chief of Defence Staff
1Phipps, PeterVice Admiral
Sir Peter Phipps KBE, DSC & Bar, VRD
1 July 1963July 19652 yearsRNZN
2Thornton, LeonardLieutenant General
Sir Leonard Thornton KCB, CBE
July 196519715–6 yearsArmy
3Webb, RichardLieutenant General
Sir Richard Webb KBE, CB
197119764–5 yearsArmy
4Bolt, RichardAir Marshal
Sir Richard Bolt KBE, CB, DFC, AFC
197619803–4 yearsRNZAF
5Anderson, NeilVice Admiral
Sir Neil Anderson KBE, CB
198019832–3 yearsRNZN
6Jamieson, EwanAir Marshal
Sir Ewan Jamieson KBE, CB
198319862–3 yearsRNZAF
7Crooks, DavidAir Marshal
David Crooks CB, OBE
(born 1931)
198619872–3 yearsRNZAF
8Mace, JohnLieutenant General
Sir John Mace KBE, CB
(born 1932)
198719913–4 yearsArmy
Chief of Defence Force
9Teagle, SomerfordVice Admiral
Sir Somerford Teagle KBE
199119953–4 yearsRNZN
10Birks, Anthony LeonardLieutenant General
Anthony Birks CB, OBE
199519993–4 yearsArmy
11Adamson, CareyAir Marshal
Carey Adamson CNZM, AFC
199920013–4 yearsRNZAF
12Ferguson, BruceAir Marshal
Bruce Ferguson DCNZM, OBE, AFC
(born 1949)
200130 April 20064–5 yearsRNZAF
13Mateparae, JerryLieutenant General
Jerry Mateparae ONZM
(born 1954)
1 May 200623 January 20114 years, 267 daysArmy
14Jones, RhysLieutenant General
Rhys Jones CNZM
(born 1960)
24 January 201131 January 20143 years, 7 daysArmy
15Keating, TimLieutenant General
Tim Keating MNZM
1 February 201430 June 20184 years, 149 daysArmy
16Short, KevinAir Marshal
Kevin Short
1 July 2018Incumbent323 daysRNZAF


  1. ^ "NZDF website CDF page". Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  2. ^ New Zealand Defence Force (8 November 2017). "About Us". Retrieved 9 January 2019.