He reports to Defence information chief Ron Hooton, who became the force’s first CIO last year.
As CTO Sullivan will look after technology, while Hooton will be focused on business results.
“The CTO is responsible for taking the technology to the Defence Force,” says Sullivan, “providing the war-fighter with enhanced CIS [communications and information systems] tools to successfully complete his or her mission. Fundamentally I am there to support the CIO. Our experiences and competencies complement each other.”
Sullivan is aware the quality of the technology counts more than ever in his job.
“The thing I always keep at the front of my mind is that you have to recognise that failure of systems has a major impact in the Defence Force. It can sometimes mean people’s lives — it’s not just a bad entry in the company’s financial results.”
Hooton’s priorities are to deliver the Defence Force’s CIS strategic plan, an architecture to support the plan and governance structures that measure progress towards its CIS goals. Hooton says the Defence Force intends to transform its communications and information systems delivery over the next two to three years. “Warwick’s expertise in the military and broad knowledge of IS will be key elements in first planning and then delivering the changes that lie ahead.”
Sullivan will work with the three services (air, navy and army) and Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand. He will also guide Defence Force work on e-government initiatives in consultation with the e-government unit of the State Services Commission.
Server-based computing is a particular interest for Sullivan. He introduced the Citrix WinFrame thin-client architecture to the navy and 15 Auckland City Library sites when he was general manager of Auckland software and services company Vision Science Computing during a mid-career break.
The navy’s former deputy director, command control and information systems, Sullivan was in the service for 28 years. He specialised in command, control, communications, computers and intelligence. He set up command and control software support for the New Zealand navy and worked on command and control systems for the Australian navy. He was also principal warfare officer of the frigates Southland and Wellington.
Managing systems for the ANZAC frigates gave Sullivan the opportunity to work in the UK with Thorn EMI, Racal and Ferranti and with Saab Systems in Sweden.