Defence force in IT hiring mode

The New Zealand Defence Force is looking to hire IT professionals for its new joint information service agency, which will centralise IS functions for the force.

The New Zealand Defence Force is looking to hire IT professionals for its new joint information service agency, which will centralise IS functions for the force.

The joint information service agency will run two data centres, in Auckland and Wellington, which will provide mutual backup. A centralised helpdesk and infrastructure support team and a field force of staff will be “out there fixing PCs etc”, says Defence Force CIO Ron Hooton.

Positions to be filled include deputy director of the communication and IS operations centre, deputy director technical services systems along with half a dozen others. The positions have been advertised following consultation with existing staff and “because we want to follow the best HR practice of externally advertising positions as well as offering them inside [the organisation]”.

He says while skilled, suitable candidates are available within the force, “the positions are new and differ substantially from the old ones”.

The recruitment drive is part of the defence force’s move towards a unified IS environment, to replace the decentralised structure that exists at present, Hooton says.

“The project is about creating a utility environment for our desktops. The Defence Force has operated 10 individual sites from an infrastructure, support and standardisation point of view, with each base around the country having its own IT team. The government has directed us to bring together all the communications and information systems in the organisation into one single team.”

The hardware and applications side of the transition is also going to plan, he says. “We’ll centralise all storage and servers and introduce Citrix on 7000 desktops.”

Pre-tender requests for information are to be put out shortly, one for storage and servers and the other for Citrix expertise.

The plan is to continue using existing PCs and laptops but with all processing done on servers and a Citrix 32-bit ICA client on each device. Servers will run on Windows 2000 and Citrix Metaframe XPE. Windows 2000’s terminal server functionality will be used to connect to applications that run on Unix, such as SAP, which the force uses for logistics and financials.

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