As a Communications and Information Systems Officer (CISO), you will be responsible for leading personnel and Information Communication Technology (ICT) systems to support operations wherever the RNZAF is deployed.

  • Service
    Air Force
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
    Auckland, Palmerston North, Wellington, Blenheim
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

Effective employment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) can offer a military force a significant operational advantage. Communication and Information Systems Officers (CISOs) are experts in the employment of high-tech IT systems designed to interconnect elements of a military force.

As a CISO you will be responsible for leading personnel and ICT systems to support operations wherever the RNZAF is deployed.

Job on base

At an Air Force Base, CISOs command teams of specialist CIS Technicians. These teams provide communication support to RNZAF aircraft using satellite and radio systems to pass information between the aircraft and ground-based IT networks.

You will be responsible for ensuring your team is ready to deploy whenever needed, ensuring equipment is serviceable and personnel under your command are trained and ready to perform their duties.

Job on deployment

A CISO can expect to be one of the first to deploy, arriving ahead of the main force. You will be required to manage your team in order to establish vital communication with headquarters (HQ) and to set up other critical information systems for use by the deploying force.

While deployed, a CISO will direct the establishment of IT, satellite and radio networks that support the functions of command and control, intelligence, logistics and communications. Once setup, these networks need to be protected from cyber threats, jamming and interception by adversaries. Your knowledge of cyber-defence and electronic warfare will be critical to safeguarding our operationally sensitive information. You’ll engage with other divisions of the military and Other Government Agencies in order to ensure the successful fulfilment of the mission.

To know you can talk up to almost 3000 kilometers away on a piece of wire is really rewarding.

Nicky Logan

Leading Aircraftman

Career progression and training

Career progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Specialist Training

After successful completion of RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROC), you will take your first command appointment as a section commander in charge of a team of CIS Technicians at RNZAF Base Whenuapai or RNZAF Base Ohakea.

Completion of military training and industry courses will further develop your knowledge, and changing job roles every 2 – 3 years will help broaden your experience. There will be opportunities to deploy on exercises in New Zealand and overseas which are designed to prepare you to lead on military operations.

As you gain experience and move up in rank you will have the opportunity to be posted to the operational Headquarters in Trentham or to the strategic Headquarters in Wellington. There you will apply your specialist knowledge to help plan overseas operational deployments and manage projects to introduce new technologies for use by the New Zealand Defence Force.

Throughout your career there will be opportunities to study for career-relevant tertiary and industry qualifications, with opportunities to be posted overseas.

RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROC)

(26 weeks) Location: RNZAF Base Woodbourne

All individuals selected to become Commissioned Officers in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) are required to complete this course. It is designed to prepare students with the knowledge and experience necessary for commissioned service and the beginning of a career in leadership. This course will cover various subjects including:

  • RNZAF Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Law
  • Military Field Skills and Weapons Training
  • Defence and Strategic Studies
  • Personnel Administration
  • Communication Skills
  • Command, Leadership and Management
  • First Aid

After successful completion of RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course, you will take your first command appointment as a section commander in charge of a team of CIS Technicians. Regular field training activities will play an important role in focusing your leadership skills, while continual personal study and job-specific industry courses will help further develop your knowledge as an IT professional.

As your career progresses you can expect to be trained in advanced organisational leadership, IT systems development and project management methodologies. You will have the opportunity to complete funded tertiary studies and train abroad with foreign military forces.

Engineer Officer Foundation Training (Communications Electronics) (EOFT (CE))

This training is conducted at the Defence School of Communications Information Systems (DSCIS) at RAF Cosford, Wolverhampton, UK. The course covers topics such as electronics and communications theory, cyber, networks, cryptographic and IT security, information services management, operational planning and business continuity, personnel management, project and change management. It is envisaged that you will complete this training within the first two to three years of your career.

As you progress through the ranks can also look forward to completing the two specialist training courses below, provided by the Australian Defence Force. This will introduce you to operational CIS planning and prepare you to lead specialist teams on deployed operations

The Defence Intermediate Signals Operations Course (DISOC)

This training prepares you to deliver against the Mission Essential Elements. The course provides specific CIS knowledge in preparation for command appointments at both coalition and joint levels as well as general Communications, Electronic Warfare and Cyberspace Operations.

The Defence Advanced Signals Operations Course (DASOC)

This training provides specific CIS knowledge in Electronic Warfare and the application of the Joint Military Appreciation Process from both strategic and operational perspective. This course ensures that you are prepared to fulfil Staff Officer and Command Appointments at the Coalition and Joint levels and is vital professional development and educational option for all RNZAF CISOs.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Air Force are well-rewarded, as well as being diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, you will see your salary rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Military Factor

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 18 years of age at the completion of your RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course (ROCC)
  • Meet the citizenship & security requirements to gain TSV security clearance for this trade.
  • Full Drivers Licence but consideration given for Restricted.

Minimum: Level 5 Diploma in Electronics and Computer Technology, Telecommunications or Business Information Systems (or similar).


Scholarship Entry

The Air Force offer undergraduate scholarships for candidates who demonstrate the qualities required to become a Communication and Information Systems Officer.

The scholarships are:

  • RNZAF Undergraduate Scheme: Study at an approved university institution of your choice while the Air Force covers your fees and a living allowance on a ‘year for a year’ return of service basis.
  • Graduate Incentive Scheme: Study at the university of your choice, and on completion of your degree, you will be paid an increasing incentive over the next four years with the monetary value based on the number of full time study years successfully completed. 

View our Scholarship programs.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. Once you have graduated as a Communications and Information Systems Officer, you’ll be contractually obliged to spend another two years in the Air Force.

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