The New Zealand national security system has traditionally relied on a network of experienced practitioners who have, over time, developed good habits of cooperation and collaboration. New Zealand’s strategic focus now retains the best of a long-standing system while pointing the way forward to strengthen that system and position it to confront a more challenging range of demands and expectations. New Zealander’s expect a system which is able to understand, mitigate and respond effectively to the full breadth of contemporary security issues. Fiscal pressures mean that a sharper focus is being put on delivering value for money and as more central and local government entities become involved in national security issues there is a compelling need for strategic prioritisation, resource coordination, unambiguous leadership, and sharper accountabilities.
The 2010 Defence White Paper (DWP) sets out our Government’s plan to build a stronger Defence Force (NZDF); A force suitable to keep NZ secure at a time when significant strategic change in the Asia-Pacific region means that we must be prepared for uncertainty. The Chief of Defence Force (CDF’s) plan for a stronger Defence Force is called ‘Future 35’ our strategy to 2035, because this vision will take years of investment and steady building to create the capabilities needed to maintain national security into the future. ‘Future 35’ or ‘F35’ describes the force required to credibly meet future challenges and includes the capabilities and infrastructure needed to support it.
The DWP is the Governments strategic management product to create and maintain a prosperous Defence Force into the future. Its production largely comprised of Organisational Decisions, Key Decision Factors, Environmental Forces and Scenario Logics that are subject to Strategic Implications . This essay will outline the implications of the strategic direction envisaged in the DWP and provide insights into issues that will frustrate NZDF efforts to attain their goals boldly outlined in F35.
There are numerous external and internal challenges confronting the NZDF that will potentially impact the implementation of F35, both external and internal. External influences such as the developing relationship with the United States as it strategically pivots into the Pacific will further test political tensions as well as provide a forum for the NZDF to reintegrate into past alliances. New Zealand’s involvement in international forums and security agreements, enhanced by its perceived inoffensive nature, enable it to interact and express the pressing needs of a region characterised by emerging economies and political instability.
The shift in the ‘centre of gravity' of the global economy towards our Asia-Pacific neighbourhood is positive for New Zealand. Continuing to partner with Pacific governments, while leveraging partnerships with others to increase the impact of New Zealand assistance, will be important to securing...