At the outset it is worth making the point that the work and experience of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands or RAMSI is very much relevant to the themes of the conference of civil-military-police interaction. At its inception in 2003, RAMSI was conceived as a comprehensive mission that would involve police, military and development components. It would also be a long-term mission, which was envisaged to last for about ten years. From the beginning, it has always had a civilian leader, the RAMSI Special Coordinator, and has been a police led operation, with the military playing a supporting role.
Justin Fepulea’i commenced as RAMSI’s Deputy Special Coordinator in March 2009. As Deputy Special Coordinator, Justin Fepulea’i deputises for the Special Co-ordinator, and has specific responsibilities for RAMSI civilian security and the SIG-RAM SI Partnership Framework. Prior to commencing with RAMSI, Dr Fepulea’i served within the Americas Division of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he was responsible for New Zealand’s relations with the United States. Dr Fepulea’i joined New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in December 2006, having previously served as a policy officer in the New Zealand Ministry of Defence since August 1999. During that time, Dr Fepulea’i worked in both the Strategic Policy and International Defence Relations branches. For a time, he was responsible for providing policy input and advice to the New Zealand Defence Force’s Mutual Assistance Programme, which provides training assistance to military and police forces in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Dr Fepulea’i has travelled extensively throughout the South Pacific, including making a number of visits to SolomonIslands between 2001 and 2006 while working for the New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence. He was born in Auckland and holds a PhD in Political Studies from the University of Auckland.