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Standardisation and industry engagement: Meet the new COMLOG

Line of Defence Magazine, Winter 2017

BRIG Rob Krushka speaking at RNZAF Base OhakeaBRIG Rob Krushka speaking at RNZAF Base Ohakea


Three months into his new role, Commander Defence Logistics Command (COMLOG) Brigadier Rob Krushka addresses an NZDIA Members Meeting to lay out his plans for greater efficiencies within Defence logistics and enhanced industry engagement.


RNZAF Base Ohakea was the perfect stage for the 21 June NZDIA Members' Meeting. As a prelude to the meeting program, members were given a guided tour of several units on base that service or deploy the very capabilities that Defence depends on industry to deliver.

On the tour itinerary was 3 Squadron (rotary training (A109) and tactical helicopter capability support (NH90)), Maintenance Support Squadron Workshops, Avionics Squadron (Aviation components support), 14 Squadron (pilot training), and Materiel Support Wing (logistics support).

Keynoting the meeting proper was Brigadier Rob Krushka, MNZM, promoted to Brigadier in March to undertake the role of Commander of Defence’s Logistics Command (DLC).

BRIG Krushka has spent 28 years in the army, and logistics is his passion. “I’ve pretty much been involved in either HR or logistics my whole career,” he recounted. “Most of that has been out at the unit level at either Linton Camp, Burnham Camp or up in Auckland doing unit things, culminating in Commanding Officer for a logistics battalion; and that really is my passion: delivering logistics for the outputs that we in Defence deliver.”

His previous job was Logistics Commander Land.

Outlining the work of the DLC, BRG Krushka reiterated its mission: to sustain operational excellence in order to support NZDF outputs and assist in delivering Enhanced Operational Capability, 2020 ready. He also stressed the DLC mantra: “deliver today… shape for tomorrow.”

‘Deliver today’ is about providing logistics support to the three services and deployed force elements and realising the logistics benefits set out in Defence White Paper 2016.

“If we focus solely on today and don’t think about the future we won’t be fit or relevant to deliver the Defence Force of the future,” he said. “It’s about integrating the work of my organisation – which is about delivering today – with that of Capability Branch in MoD – which is about delivering for tomorrow.

“’Shape for tomorrow’ is about building a consolidated and focused logistics and support organisation that influences across the breadth of the NZDF.”

Reporting to COMLOG are HQ DLC Chief of Staff, Logistics Commands (Maritime, Land and Air), Directorate Supply Chain Management, Defence Shared Services Group, and Defence Commercial Services, which are comprised of a workforce of 1,800 spread out across 10 locations throughout New Zealand. Out of the 1,800, 500 are contractors.

Having provided a snapshot of the DLC structure, BRIG Krushka spelt out his areas of initial focus, which included the pursuit of greater standardisation across logistics commands and continued enhancement of Defence engagement with industry.


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Standardisation across logistics commands

On the objective of greater standardisation across the three logistics commands, BRIG Krushka stressed the importance of being focused on outcomes. “Logistics Commander Maritime is responsive to Chief of Navy and the Maritime Component Commander for delivering the logistics support, the MRO function, to allow those ships to sail. Same for Land and Air. We [DLC] solely exist to ensure that those operations are able to function.”

“I think we can get better at aligning our three environmental logistics commands so that we use standardised and similar procedures. We have a Consolidated Logistics Project, which starts delivering mid-this year out to 2020, and a lot of that is about standardising our methods and procedures.”

An Enhanced Defence Shared Services Project has also just kicked off, which is exploring how Defence can better standardise its shared services across all camps and bases. “We have two or three different contracts to delivery similar services at different bases,” said the Brigadier. “We’re looking to align these where it makes sense to do so.”


Industry engagement

According to BRIG Krushka, the DLC was established in 2010 to bring the Defence Force together in the way it delivered support across the environments (maritime, land, air), but also the way it interacted with industry in New Zealand and internationally. “Have we achieved that?” he asked rhetorically, “I’d have to give us a tick, although there’s a few more ticks we need to work on.”

“Our engagement with industry is a lot better than it has been, but there’s still a long way to go. There are certain things we can get better at. There are efficiencies that we can drive into our business to make sure that we use taxpayers’ money in a more efficient and effective way, and a lot of that involves industry in support.

“The Chief of Defence Force has a strategy, and there are five lines of operations, or themes, that run through the strategy, one of which is “partnering for greater effect”. That means partnering with coalition partners, partnering across the three services, and partnering with industry and others.”

In line with the CDF’s intent, the NZDF is working on a framework for industry engagement that is due to be released in the “not too distant future”.

BRIG Krushka noted that things have come a long way in terms of Defence’s accessibility to industry. “We have people in NZDF and MoD that anyone can go to to get information or be pointed in the right direction. If nothing else, if you know who to ring then we can start to organise stuff. I think this is really important and I would like to see that network grow.”

“We need to be a responsive defence force that can adapt into the future. One key aspect to that is engagement with industry. Without being able to link into industry to share the innovation from your environment, we won’t be an adaptive and responsive defence force, so we’ve got to keep that moving.”

BRIG Krushka acknowledged that Defence can often be exceptionally difficult to deal with, but suggested that there’s a couple of good reasons for this. “There’s a little around security, so if there’s anything that you can do in your space to get accredited so that you can then link into us that makes life a whole lot easier.

“The other one is the government rules of sourcing. We spend taxpayers’ money so therefore we need to be accountable and responsible for what we’re doing. Sometimes that means extra layers of bureaucracy, sometimes that means we have to go through steps that you don’t have to go through at the business end.”


BRIG Krushka, MNZM, is Commander, Defence Logistics Command. He joined the New Zealand Army in 1989. His previous appointments include Senior Instructor Transport and Movement; Officer Commanding and Executive Officer 2nd Logistics Battalion, Linton; Joint Operations Command, Sydney; Commander Logistics Command, Upper Hutt, and Logistics Command Land.


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