Surprise, Surprise, Herald gets it wrong again

This morning David Fisher had an article about a “leaked” report from Defense that “blasted army training”.

A leaked report has strongly criticised the training given to an army contingent sent to Afghanistan which lost five of its members in combat.

The Defence Force has admitted the group left New Zealand with gaps in their training.

The report was written by a sergeant in military intelligence who reviewed the group’s preparation in Hawkes Bay, where the troops performed exercises simulating situations they were likely to encounter in Bamiyan province.

The only problem with Fisher’s assertions is that they are wrong. The Defense Force has not admitted anything of the sort (only one sergeant, and in a stolen leaked report)…in fact they have issued a press release saying that Fisher’s article is wrong.

Statement from the Vice Chief of Defence Force, Major General Tim Keating 

A report in the NZ Herald today that states the Defence Force sent ill-prepared soldiers to Afghanistan is incorrect.

Our pre-deployment training (PDT) is designed for individual missions on a case by case requirement to ensure that troops are adequately prepared for a broad range of situations they will and may encounter once deployed into their mission area.

When CRIB 20 assumed command they had been independently assessed as capable, having completed all the appropriate PDT and in-theatre training. CRIB 20 personnel were focused, positive and ready to get on with the job.

The leaked report mentioned in the Herald article is only one report written by one of 23 evaluators and mentors (Subject Matter Experts) who observed Exercise Afghan Step (the field exercise portion of CRIB 20 Pre Deployment Training).?On completion of Ex Afghan Step each evaluator provided his / her assessment of the contingent’s readiness within their specific area of expertise. These assessments were aggregated by the Army’s Collective Training Centre and submitted to Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand. Any areas of concern were addressed with further training. On review, the bulk of the comments made in the report referred to were not reflected in the final status report. It should also be noted that it was the first time that the author of those comments had observed on a PDT exercise.

There is always a requirement for some level of in-theatre/country specific training for any mission, this in theatre training also addressed the areas identified for further training during Ex Afghan Step in NZ.

The highest priority is given to ensuring the safety of our personnel while in theatre.

You really have to start questioning the integrity of everything Fisher writes these days.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.