Our people

We have about 80 scientists, technologists, technicians and business services staff. All of our staff are civilians (non-military).

Our scientists include chemists, physicists, metallurgists, engineers, operations analysts, psychologists, human systems specialists and environmental scientists.

We are organised into four groups: C4ISR Systems, Platform & Protection Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems and Operations Analysis & Human Systems. We also have an Operations Support Group.

View profiles of our senior management team.

Dr Brian Young – Director

Brian Young

Brian Young

Dr Brian Young joined DTA as Director in April 2012. Before that, he’d spent two and a half years as Director for Research at the University of Otago.

Previously, Brian worked for four years at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC as the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology’s first Science and Technology Counsellor to the United States of America.

In his earlier life as a neuroscience researcher, he was a senior scientist at HortResearch and a Foundation for Research, Science and Technology Research Fellow at the University of Otago. Brian also undertook a period of post-doctoral work in neuroscience that was divided across the University of North Carolina and the State University of New York.

Brian received a BSc(Hons) in psychology from the University of Canterbury (NZ), and a PhD in psychology (behavioural neuroscience) from Dartmouth College (USA).

Dr John Kay, MNZM – Principal Scientist

John Kay

John Kay

Dr John Kay joined DTA in 1979 following ten years with the New Zealand Post Office working in the telecommunications area. He worked initially in the undersea warfare domain. This included managing the Ocean Engineering section and leading various projects such as the design and development of a sea-floor acoustic measurement system and of equipment for measuring underwater multi-influence fields.

In 1996 John’s research broadened into the surface and above maritime domains, managing projects for the Air Force on “Air Intelligence and Reconnaissance” and for the Navy on “Anti-Ship Missile Defence Vulnerability Assessment” and “Above Surface Threat Assessment”.

During 2000 to 2002 John contributed technological and scientific advice to the Defence Capabilities Review. From 2005 John increasingly provided information and advice to the NZDF on the contemporary threat and technology within the military domain and across Government security agencies.

In 2012 John commenced setting-up, managing and growing the NZDF interests in research and development capabilities related to the utilisation and exploitation of space.

John’s career has been founded on active international engagement and collaboration. Within “The Technical Cooperation Program” (TTCP), John has been the National Leader in a number of maritime areas and the National Representative for Radar Technology and Sensor Systems through until 2013.

From 2002 to 2010, John was the scientific advisor to the Navy for a multilateral agreement on “Surface Warfare Technology”; and, set up and chaired an associated specialist working group on infrared, visual and radar frequency propagation in the maritime environment. More recently John has been active in the international space arena.

John has a BE(Hons) electrical and PhD in Engineering from the University of Auckland.

Learn more about TTCP

Ryan Brookes – Group Director, Platform & Protection Systems

Ryan Brookes

Ryan Brookes

Ryan Brookes joined DTA as a Research Leader in March 2008, following a 15-year career with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). He was appointed to the role of Group Director, Platform & Protection Systems in January 2013.

Serving as an aeronautical engineer for the RNZAF, Ryan led the design and analysis of structural repairs and modifications for all New Zealand Defence Force aircraft fleets. He also investigated the performance, reliability and certification of various structural and propulsion systems.

Ryan began his career as an aircraft technician with the RNZAF, working on a variety of aircrafts. After being commissioned from the ranks, he served on various RNZAF bases within New Zealand and was also seconded to: the Central Institute of Technology (NZ), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australian Defence Force Academy, Cranfield University (UK), Air New Zealand, Safe Air, and the Singapore Ministry of Defence.

Ryan has a BE(Hons) in aeronautical engineering from the University of New South Wales (Australia), and a MSc in aerospace vehicle design from Cranfield University (UK). He also holds a commercial pilot licence and is a qualified flying instructor.

Learn more about Platform & Protection Systems

Tony Brown – Group Director, Electronic Warfare Systems

Tony Brown

Tony Brown

Tony Brown joined DTA in 1977 as a research scientist. He started his career as a design engineer for radio and then moved to the medical laboratory industry.

He has spent many years at DTA working on sonar systems research for the RNZAF and the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Also, he spent two years on secondment to the United States Naval Underwater Systems Center in Connecticut.

Tony established the Electronic Warfare Group  in 1993 and he has been the DTA lead for major New Zealand Defence Force electronic systems purchases due to his many years of experience in avionics and ship electronic systems.

Tony has an MSc in physics from Auckland University.

Learn more about Electronic Warfare Systems

Robert Read – Group Director, C4ISR Systems

Rob Read

Rob Read

Robert Read joined DTA as a Research Scientist in Feb 2008, shortly thereafter being promoted to Research Leader, managing the Information & Intelligence section in Network Systems.
Prior to that he spent 5 years as a Lead Systems Engineer for Defence Tactical C4I Systems at General Dynamics UK Ltd, and led the Information Management capability definition on the BCIP6 programme for the British Army developing a long term interest in C4ISR, IM and Systems Architecture.
In 1999, Rob worked for Industrial Electronic Automation as a Technical Team Manager in the Information Systems division. During these 4 years, Rob led a team of Software Architects and Developers on turnkey projects and contracts in the Aerospace, Automotive, and Manufacturing industries.
In 1997, Rob worked for ADC Metrica Inc. in the Mobile Telecommunications Software business as a Senior Project Consultant and Technical Account Manager. He contributed to the success of ADC Metrica by taking responsibility for the overall technical management and satisfaction of key telecom customers, through the successful implementation and integration of the company’s core product: Metrica/NPR.
In his early career, Rob worked for Sony Manufacturing UK Ltd in the Manufacturing Information Systems division with responsibilities for the design, development and implementation of Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Business Systems for both the production and corporate environments. Rob spent 2½ years overseas in Singapore at Sony Display Device Pte Ltd and was responsible for a number of ICT projects having established a local support team of software engineers.
Rob has a BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Glamorgan, South Wales, UK.

Learn more about C4ISR Systems

Andy Richardson – Group Director, Operations Analysis & Human Systems

Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson joined DTA as Director of what was the Human Systems Group in October 2009. Before that, he provided Human Systems and Safety consultancy services to clients within the defence and transport infrastructure sectors in both the UK and Australia.

Andy has extensive experience in the main Human Systems areas of manpower, training, workplace and equipment design, and health and system safety.

He gained his technical and management expertise in Human Systems while working on a range of high profile, large scale and complex integration programmes and socio-technical systems projects. Developing standards and processes for Human Systems Integration in the United Kingdom’s defence sector is one of the projects he’s worked on.

Andy has worked in the United Kingdom for most of his career. He’s worked mainly for major international companies and in the defence sector, but also in the transport and offshore oil and gas industries.

Andy has a BSc(Hons) in Ergonomics and a Diploma in Professional Studies from Loughborough University of Technology (UK).

Learn more about Operations Analysis & Human Systems

Chris Powell – Director, Operations Support Group

Chris Powell

Chris Powell

Chris Powell joined DTA in September 2013 as Manager, Business Services following a 30+ year career in the NZ Army (Regular and Territorial) coupled with 19 years in the NZ Police.

During his military career Chris served in the Wellington and Auckland Battalions (commanding the latter) and as the Senior Instructor at Tactical School. He has also seen operational duty in the Middle East with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization and in Bosnia-Herzegovina and East Timor with the International Stabilisation Force.

Chris’s police career saw him working in Wellington and Auckland in the uniformed branch from which he retired in 2010.

Since joining DTA Chris has changed the focus of the Group from general administration to direct support of DTA’s  RS & T outputs and worked towards a more commercial  emphasis on technology transfer and achieving commercial returns for the New Zealand Defence Force through understanding the value of intellectual property.

Chris has recently lead several initiatives in Auckland to engage military, commercial and educational entities in mutually beneficial relationships. Leadership skills, technical skills and commercial expertise can all be brought to the combined battle space of defence science and business and Chris is looking to lead the DTA towards further developing these relationships.

Chris completed the Joint Reserve Command and Staff Course at the Canadian Forces College, Toronto in 2006.