An Introduction to the Defence Portfolio
This briefing paper provides you with background information about your portfolio in the following key areas: policy, capability, operational commitments, legislation, roles and organisation, and Votes: Defence and Defence Force.
The defence portfolio has undergone considerable change since the beginning of the decade. Significant capability and resource investments have been managed against a backdrop of international strategic change, which has seen the emergence of changed threats, new adversaries, asymmetric tactics and different defence requirements. These developments have underlined the need for modern, flexible, adaptable and professional military forces.
New Zealand's major decisions on resourcing and capability have been undertaken on the basis of two core policy documents. The Government's Defence Policy Framework of June 2000 reaffirmed New Zealand's five areas of policy focus: the defence of New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone; a strong strategic relationship with Australia; fulfilling our responsibilities in the Pacific Islands; an expanding role in the security dialogue of Asia; and a global approach to multilateral peace support and humanitarian commitments.
This overarching policy was coupled in May 2001 with the Government Defence Statement: A Modern Sustainable Defence Force Matched to New Zealand's Needs. The Statement provided the basis for the primary force structure decisions needed to meet policy objectives. It directed reinvestment toward the rebuilding of a combat-capable Defence Force encompassing a motorised land force, a practical Navy, and a refocused and updated Air Force.
A further important capability enabler was the development of a joint approach within Defence to structure and operations.1
At the strategic level the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and Ministry of Defence have undergone organisational change aimed at enhancing cooperation and collaboration between the two organisations. The establishment of joint governance fora, a clearer definition of shared and separate accountabilities, and the integration of the NZDF and Ministry of Defence's policy branches, have sought to improve the effectiveness and delivery of the Government's defence objectives.
There has been much focus on improving 'jointness' within and among the three Services and ensuring the elimination of unnecessary duplication. Importantly, the creation of Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand in June 2001 was the first major step towards enhancing 'jointness' at the operational level. Other initiatives have included opening a Joint Command and Staff College at Trentham and work on establishing a Joint Logistics and Supply Organisation.
A key initiative in meeting the objectives of the 2001 Defence Statement was the introduction in 2002 of the Defence Long-term Development Plan (LTDP). This was the mechanism for updating and replacing a range of capital equipment across the three Services, each of which has undergone a series of acquisitions designed to sustain and maximise its role in a joint environment:
- Seven new vessels are being acquired for the Navy. These include a multi-role vessel, two offshore patrol vessels and four inshore patrol vessels. The ships will enter service between 2006 and 2008. This enhanced naval capability will allow for other government agencies' interests to be met through improved maritime surveillance, fisheries and coast guard functions, and greater capacity for sealift.
- Modernisation and motorisation of the Army is well advanced. New light armoured vehicles and light operational vehicles have been delivered. Other Army re-equipment projects include the introduction of new radios, the completion of the very low-level air defence system project and the procurement of new medium range anti-armour weapons and some Special Operations equipment.
- The Air Force is part way through a significant period of reinvestment involving the updating or replacement of all its aircraft, as well as preparation for the consolidation of its operations at Ohakea. Two B757 strategic transport aircraft have been delivered into service and will shortly undergo a conversion for freight. The P-3K Orion fleet's mission, communication and navigation systems are being upgraded and the C-130 Hercules life extension project is underway. Proposals on the replacement of the Iroquois and Sioux helicopter fleets should be forwarded to Cabinet early next year.
The LTDP has provided the basis for ongoing capability decisions. An updated, reprioritised list of projects extending out to 2015 (the current LTDP goes to 2012) will be presented for Cabinet consideration soon.
The Capability Management Framework was introduced in 2004 to guide the acquisition and integrated management of Defence capital projects. It is currently being reviewed and updated to take account of lessons learned over the 18 months since its introduction.
Progressing the rebuilding of operational and organisational capability has been an important adjunct to the capital investment programme. In 2004, the Defence Capability and Resourcing Review (the DCARR) found that requirements in a number of areas were below what was required by policy. The DCARR subsequently established the basis for the Government's decision in 2005 to introduce a ten-year $4.6 billion capability rebuilding programme known as the Defence Sustainability Initiative: Building a long-term future for the New Zealand Defence Force (DSI).
The DSI has been designed to provide for the staged recovery of personnel numbers, infrastructure, reserve stocks, and corporate planning capability. Implementing the DSI is a key focus of day-to-day management and planning within Defence. A progress report is being provided to Cabinet in November.
The modernisation and re-investment in the Defence Force has had to be managed in an environment of continuing and concurrent operational deployments.
Recent contributions to Afghanistan and Iraq have seen the NZDF work within multi-national frameworks in high threat environments. New Zealand's ongoing commitment to Operation Enduring Freedom has thus far involved the deployment to Afghanistan of land combat and peace support forces and associated headquarters personnel, as well as frigates, P-3 Orions and C-130 Hercules to the Middle East and Central Asia.
In Solomon Islands, New Zealand contributed to the initial phase of the Regional Assistance Mission. New Zealand's current contribution consists of a staff officer, and, on rotation with the Australian and Pacific Island contributors, an infantry platoon. The NZDF has also continued to maintain a wide range of contributions to other international peace support operations, including those currently in Bosnia, Kosovo, Republic of Korea, and the Sinai Peninsula.
The United Nations (UN) continues to play a key role in New Zealand's decisions to deploy NZDF personnel overseas. Since 1999 all of the NZDF's major overseas deployments have been UN endorsed. Most could be characterised as UN mandated peace support operations.
Managing these varied operational commitments has been a balancing act in the context of handling a complex tri-Service acquisition programme, reinvesting in capability through the LTDP and DSI, and implementing organisational change. Meeting these concurrent challenges will continue to shape Defence priorities over the medium term.
- The term “Defence” is used collectively to represent the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force.