Our People

The Defence Technology Agency (DTA) is a small unit of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) that has about 72 scientists, technologists, technicians and business services staff. We are all civilians and come from a variety of backgrounds.

Our scientists are specialists in their own fields and include chemists, physicists, metallurgists, engineers, operations analysts, psychologists, human systems specialists and environmental scientists. Organised into research groups, they also collaborate across workstreams to make sure a multi-dimensional approach is taken for all research tasks.

Read about our structure and governance.

We have a Director, a Principal Scientist and five Group Directors:


Dr David Galligan


Dr David Galligan joined DTA as an analyst in its Military Operations Analysis section in 2002. He subsequently led that section from 2007 to 2020. During that time, he developed a multidisciplinary team that is widely known for its high-quality and impactful analytic advice. David has taken personal analytic leadership roles in a range of areas including Army experimentation, maritime surveillance and combat analyses, and analytic support to strategic planning.

Since joining DTA David has received international awards from The Technical Cooperation Programme (TTCP) for ground-breaking work on Network Centric Warfare and countering improvised threat systems. David was invited to form part of an international benchmarking team that reviewed a major S&T capability area within Australia’s DST Group in 2016 and he has regularly addressed national and international symposia. Over the period 2018 to 2021 David held roles as Executive Chair of TTCP’s Land Systems Group and as Chair of the Executive Chairs’ College of TTCP.

During his time at DTA David has taken a particular interest in Information Warfare and he was delighted to obtain the role of Group Director for Electronic Warfare Systems in 2020. In 2021 he was appointed as the Director of DTA, which includes a role as NZDF’s Chief Defence Scientist. He is passionate about improving the influence and impact of evidence-based Science & Technology advice on Defence and wider Government decision making.

Dr David Galligan holds a PhD and MSc(hons) in physics from the University of Canterbury. He also holds a BSc in physics and mathematics from the University of Waikato and a National Diploma in Business (level 5). His doctoral research focus was on the analysis of radar-derived meteor data to help determine the structure of the interplanetary meteoroid cloud. He held a subsequent post-doctoral fellowship working with international researchers to help determine and mitigate the risk posed to near-Earth satellites from meteoroid impacts.


Dr John Kay, MNZM

Principal Scientist

Dr John Kay 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.

From 2002 to 2010, John was the scientific advisor to the RNZN 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.

In 2012 John started 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 until 2013.

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


Clint Barnes

Group Director, Platform and Protection Systems Group

Clint Barnes joined the Defence Technology Agency as a Research Leader in 2013 following a 12 year career as an engineering officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He was appointed as the Group Director for the Platform and Protection Systems Group in late 2019.

As the Research Leader for the Platform Engineering section, he and the team supported the New Zealand Defence Force with analysis and technology support for RNZAF aircraft, naval vessels and NZ Army land vehicles. This work ranged from supporting in-service operational issues, to supporting Ministry of Defence and NZDF acquisition projects, through to forward looking technology development. Projects include the service life analysis of C-130 Hercules fleet, the analysis of ice-going capabilities of the Offshore Patrol Vessel in the Southern Ocean, as well as modelling capabilities of satellites and long range remotely piloted aircraft.

Additionally, Clint has a senior international role as DTA’s representative in the Maritime Systems Group, which manages the collaborative maritime Science and Technology (S&T) work programme within ‘The Technical Co-operation Programme’ (TTCP). Clint also leads and manages DTA contributions to a technology panel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Clint holds an engineering degree from Canterbury University and a Master’s degree in Science from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom.


Robert Read

Group Director, C4ISR Systems

Rob Read joined DTA as a Research Scientist in 2008, then became 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. Rob led a team of Software Architects and Developers on turnkey projects and contracts in the Aerospace, Automotive and Manufacturing industries.

Previously Rob has worked for ADC Metrica Inc. in the Mobile Telecommunications Software business as a Senior Project Consultant and Technical Account Manager, and 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. He spent time in Singapore at Sony Display Device Pte Ltd and was responsible for a number of ICT projects.

Rob has a BEng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Glamorgan, South Wales, UK.

Janelle Aitken

Group Director, Operations

Janelle Aitken is the Director of Operations, as well as Research Lead/Section manager for the Human Systems and Integration team at the Defence Technology Agency.  Janelle is a Human Factors Engineer with experience in developing and leading programmes of work in the design of control room spaces e.g. bridge /operations room of frigate and human factors evaluation of COTs/MOTs equipment and systems used by the New Zealand Defence Force. Janelle's goal is to optimise human-machine performance for Defence operators and maintainers of the system.