Air Commodore Mike Yardley will be the new Chief of Air Force, when Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell leaves the Defence Force next month after a distinguished 41-year career.

Mr Yardley is currently Air Component Commander, Joint Forces New Zealand.

His was one of three Defence Force appointments announced today by Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating also appointed Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short to the role of Vice Chief of Defence Force. Mr Short is currently the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand and has overseen the withdrawal of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and the closure of New Zealand's mission in Solomon Islands.

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Brigadier Tim Gall has been appointed the new Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, and succeeds Air Vice-Marshal Short. In his current role as Land Component Commander Joint Forces, he is responsible for the Army's operational forces and training units.

"I am pleased these three have been chosen to fill these vital roles," Mr Keating said.

"They all have proven track records, and will bring a wealth of experience to the Defence Force's Senior Leadership Team. I'm looking forward to working with them."