Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Blythen has been posted to the Strategic Commitments and Engagement Branch of the New Zealand Defence Force as the Deputy Director Strategic Commitments (Domestic) since May 2018. In this role Lieutenant Colonel Blythen is the primary NZDF point of contact for All of Government (AoG) domestic security and emergency response requirements. He has faced an unprecedented number of significant and complex domestic emergencies during his tenure that have required considerable and, in some cases, sustained NZDF support. These have included the COVID-19 pandemic, the March 2019 Christchurch terror attack, the Whakaari/White Island eruption, bushfires in New Zealand and Australia, droughts and floods. It has also included the proactive commitment to many planned major national events including the 2021 America's Cup sailing regatta, APEC 21 until it transitioned to a virtual event, and coordinating support to hui of national significance. During the initial stages of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, at short notice he led the establishment of a NZDF strategic COVID-19 response cell that operated seven days a week to ensure the NZDF was responsive and effective in supporting the national Level 4 lockdown period. Lieutenant Colonel Blythen has covered a near continuous series of challenging national emergencies, demonstrating professionalism and industriousness towards ensuring New Zealand has had the best national response options for the safety of its citizens.
Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Blythen, DSD for services to the New Zealand Defence Force