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Rear Admiral James Gilmour

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand is the operational commander of all joint operations and exercises of the New Zealand Defence Force, and reports directly to the Chief of Defence Force.

Rear Admiral James Gilmour

Rear Admiral James Gilmour

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral (RADM) James Gilmour is the New Zealand Defence Force Commander Headquarters Joint Forces.

In the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) his 36-year career has included: ship navigation, helicopter aviation, senior staff appointments, major fleet unit command, Deputy Maritime Component Commander, senior staff training, directorship of New Zealand Defence Force capability delivery, Maritime Component Commander, and most recently; Chief of Defence Strategy Management.

He was Commander Combined Task Force 151 between July and October 2011. This Task Force is responsible for counter-piracy operations in the South Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.

In 2016, RADM Gilmour commanded Task Force 176 (all amphibious forces) during Exercise Rim of the Pacific. Joining the RNZN in 1985 RADM Gilmour spent the next five years conducting operational training including bridge watchkeeping, helicopter approach control officer and navigational training.

In 1989, he was appointed as the Navigating Officer of Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship Waikato (FFH55).

RADM Gilmour was selected for pilot training in 1990 and spent the next 14 years engaged in aviation related roles including: exchange with Royal New Zealand Air force’s No. 3 Squadron, Flight Commander of HMNZ Ships Waikato and Wellington (FFH69) where he completed a tour within the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield in 1995.

His career in aviation included a posting to the Royal Australian Navy’s 723 Squadron as a Helicopter Flying Instructor before returning to New Zealand and assuming command of the RNZN’s helicopter support squadron (formerly Naval Support Flight, now known as No. 6 Squadron RNZAF).

During his term he oversaw the introduction into service of the SH-2G(I) Seasprite helicopter.

After his time in command of the Naval Support Squadron, RADM Gilmour was posted to Naval Headquarters where he assumed the duties of: Director of Naval Capability Requirements and Director Naval Aviation. During this period he was heavily involved with Project Protector which ultimately saw the introduction to service of seven new ships in the RNZN including the Multi-Role Vessel HMNZS Canterbury.

RADM Gilmour was posted to secondments to Task Group and Task Force staff appointments including: SO1 N5 (lead long term planner) to the Maritime Component Commander for Exercise Suman Protector in Penang Malaysia and as Chief of Staff to the Commander Task Force for the Royal Australian Navy’s annual Fleet Concentration Period.

He completed the Royal Navy’s Maritime Warfare Course in 2008 which concentrated on development of maritime operational and tactical planning. RADM Gilmour commanded HMNZS Canterbury (L421) for two and a half years where he oversaw the introduction into service of the ship's amphibious and aviation capabilities.

This period included numerous periods where the ship was deployed for exercises and operations where RADM Gilmour assumed the duties of Commander Amphibious Task Force.

Canterbury, under his command was involved in several HADR operations including the Samoan Tsunami Relief and the response operation to the Canterbury (Christchurch) earthquake in 2011.

RADM Gilmour was posted as the Captain Fleet Operational Support for the RNZN (a role that included deputising for the Maritime Component Commander) in 2011 and was responsible for operational standards and was the RNZN deployable tactical commander.

He completed tertiary studies at the Australian Defence Force Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies which is associated with Deakin University in 2014 before taking up the role of Director of Programme Delivery in 2015 and was responsible for, amongst other things, the introduction into service of new Defence Force capabilities.

RADM Gilmour assumed the role of Maritime Component Commander in January 2016 and oversaw all NZDF maritime operations until February 2018 when he assumed the role of Chief of Defence Strategy Management.

He assume the role of Commander Joint Forces New Zealand in November 2018.