Captain Richard Walker, of Auckland, DSD, for services to the New Zealand Defence Force
Captain Richard Walker was appointed as the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of Combined Task Force 150 (Counter Terrorism) in early 2018 as a result of an unexpected shortfall in command.
CTF 150 is one of three Combined Task Forces under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition of 33 member nations conducting Maritime Security Operations in the Middle East region. NZDF provides ships and aircraft in support of the Combined Task Forces, as well as command staff. In June 2018 CTF 151 (Counter Piracy) also experienced an unexpected shortfall in command for a mission beginning in September. Captain Walker was appointed as the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff to utilise his recent experience to prepare for the upcoming operation within a tight timeframe. He prepared the planning document for the tenure of command single-handedly over a period of weeks, working around the limited availability of the designated Kuwaiti commander in the lead-up to command, and taking into account the limited resources of CTF 151 and the necessary coordination with other military assets in the region. He mentored staff from Kuwait and eight other nations to prepare and assume command within the shortened period of two months. Captain Walker’s leadership saw an effective multi-national staff deliver successful outputs with diverse experience, cultural and language challenges present.