SITREP | DWP 2015 (PCD) : New Zealand’s Defence Assessment, Strategies & Capability Planning
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SITREP | DWP 2015 (PCD) : New Zealand’s Defence Assessment, Strategies & Capability Planning

By Ministry of Defence
Government of New Zealand

This brief SITREP considers how New Zealand’s strategic circumstances may change over the next 25 years to 2040. The Defence Assessment found that New Zealand’s interests beyond our region are growing while the rules and values we rely on are increasingly under threat. The international strategic environment continues to evolve at a fast pace. Some of these changes are positive, while others increasingly challenge New Zealand’s strategic interests.

SITREP | DWP 2015 : New Zealand’s Defence Assessment, Strategies and Capability Planning

Some of the major features of the strategic environment visible in the last five years include:
  • A rising sophistication, range and number of actors operating within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, Southern Ocean and the Pacific Islands;
  • A rapid evolution of the cyber threat to New Zealand’s significant information structures, including the Defence Force’s;
  • An increased risk of terrorism as a result of the radicalising effect of the Iraq/Syria conflict;
  • Heightened tensions in the East and South China Seas;
  • A renewed political, military and economic focus on the Asia-Pacific by the United States;
  • An escalation of military spending across South East Asia;
  • A marked improvement in our relationship with the United States;
  • China’s rising global influence;
  • Intensifying turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa since the first events of the Arab Spring unfolded in 2010;
  • Continued weakness in the global economy since the Global Financial Crisis; and
  • Increasing challenges to the rules-based international system.
Although we do not foresee a direct threat to New Zealand territory, our geography does not protect us from other threats to our security and prosperity. Cyber threats, for example, can emanate from anywhere around the globe – New Zealand’s location provides no immunity. Increasing economic interconnection – globalisation – also means that security events far from New Zealand’s shores could negatively affect our national interests. With approximately 99 percent of our goods by volume exported by sea, and with important markets right across the world, New Zealand is reliant on freedom of navigation and commerce for our continued prosperity.

It is therefore in our national interest to contribute to the resolution of global security challenges.
In addition to defending New Zealand, current policy settings envisage that the Government would consider the possible use of military force in the following circumstances:
  • In response to a direct threat to Australia;
  • As part of collective action in support of a member of the Pacific Islands Forum facing a direct threat;
  • As part of New Zealand’s contribution to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (which includes Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom);
  • If requested or mandated by the United Nations, especially in support of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific; or
  • At the request of another government.

The Defence Force is also tasked to contribute in other ways to New Zealand’s security, resilience and prosperity. As the only agency that maintains disciplined forces available at short notice with large-scale, integrated fleets of vehicles, ships, and aircraft, it is able to support a range of tasks other tasks. These include:
  • Counter-terrorism and explosive ordnance disposal in support of the New Zealand Police;
  • Support to the Department of Corrections, New Zealand Fire Service, and Civil Defence and Emergency Management;
  • Search and rescue, including aero-medical evacuation;
  • Supporting maritime resource protection, law enforcement, responses to maritime incidents and marine pollution;
  • Disaster relief, both in New Zealand and overseas;
  • Support to New Zealand’s Antarctic programme;
  • Responding to major bio-security and pandemic incidents; and
  • Support to youth development programmes.
Consideration of whether these current tasks and roles of the Defence Force are appropriate for the next 25 years is a key part of developing the new White Paper.

Defence Capabilities

The Defence Force maintains a mix of capabilities to fulfil the wide range of roles and tasks expected of it, from protection of our Exclusive Economic Zone to undertaking combat operations around the world. Military capabilities are primarily based around major platforms in the Navy and Air Force, such as frigates and helicopters, personnel, such as in the Army, and groups of specifically skilled and trained people, such as the Special Air Service and Operational Diving Team. Broadly, current defence policy provides for:
  • Capabilities to fulfill credible combat roles;
  • Strategic projection and sustainment capacity, to get the force where it is needed and sustain it once there;
  • Deployed ground forces suitably equipped, trained and in sufficient numbers; and
  • Command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Military capability is about more than just numbers of ships, aircraft and vehicles. Although equipment is an important element, capability is also generated by people, their training, research and development, and an overall level of preparedness to undertake any given task directed by the Government.

The capabilities needed to perform the tasks required of the armed forces are a critical decision for the Government and one that the new White Paper will provide a clear direction on.

New Zealand Defence Capability Plan

Defence Forces Deployment:

The Defence Force has a rich history of overseas deployments in support of New Zealand’s interests and international peace and security. As the map below shows, this has included 37 separate operational and non-operational missions since 1990.

The Defence Force has experienced a period of very high activity over the past 15 years, including major deployments to Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan and Korea, which at times stretched its capacity. Since the 2010 White Paper the Canterbury earthquakes are an example of an unexpected call on the Defence Force that required a large initial and smaller medium term commitment of people and equipment. A number of smaller longstanding deployments continue in Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Korea (see map). The Defence Force also undertakes a range of regular capacity building and defence diplomacy activities, with a primary focus on the South Pacific and South East Asia.

NZ Force Deployment - List

With the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan, Afghanistan withdrawn and major operations in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands concluded, the Defence White Paper 2015 provides an opportunity to take stock and consider where, how and to what extent New Zealand should contribute to international peace and security efforts.

NZ Force Deployment - Map

Defence Force Facts and Figures:

Total Defence Force Personnel by Service Status

The New Zealand Defence Force is an armed force drawing on experts from the maritime, land and air environments, supported by its civilian force. 

Total Defence Force Personnel by Employment Status
The Navy, Army, Air Force – are charged with developing and sustaining the specific military capabilities, professional skills and internal culture necessary to meet the unique requirements of their operating environments.

Defence Force Gender Break Down
To deliver the maximum joint effect, the Services then co-ordinate, and integrate, their capabilities in a joint and collaborative setting. This recognises that the New Zealand Defence Force achieves greater success when its single Service strengths are skilfully woven together on operations.

Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN):

Total Navy Personnel by Employment Status RNZN
Force Elements Based in Devonport

Naval Combat Force
  • HMNZS TeKaha (Frigate FFH)
  • HMNZS TeMana (Frigate FFH)
Naval Support Force
  • HMNZS Endeavour (Auxillary Oiler)
  •  HMNZS Canterbury (Landing Ship Logistics)

Littoral Warfare Support Force
  • HMNZS Manawanui (Dive Tender)
  • Maritime Survey Team
  • Operational Dive Team
  • Mine Counter Measures Team
Navy Patrol Forces
  • HMNZS Otago (Offshore Patrol Vessel)
  • HMNZS Wellington (Offshore Patrol Vessel)
  • HMNZS Rotoiti (Inshore Patrol Vessel)
  • HMNZS Hawea (Inshore Patrol Vessel)
  • HMNZS Pukaki (Inshore Patrol Vessel)
  • HMNZS Taupo (Inshore Patrol Vessel)
  • Four Reserve Units
  • One Reserve Sub Unit
Royal New Zealand Army (RNZA):

Total Army Personnel by Employment Status RNZA
1(NZ) Brigade
  • 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment located in Linton provides a light infantry capability;
  • 2/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment located in Burnham provides a light infantry capability;
  • Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles located in Linton provides the Army’s light armoured capability;
  • 16th Field Regiment located in Linton provides an offensive support (artillery and mortar) capability;
  • 2nd Engineer Regiment located in Linton provides horizontal and vertical construction capability, and selected specialist military engineering services;
  • 1st New Zealand Signals Regiment located in Linton and 3rd Signals Squadron in Burnham provides the communications capabilities for deployed Task Groups;
  • New Zealand Military Police Unit located in Trentham provides military police support; 2nd Combat Service Support Battalion located in Linton, and 3rd Combat Service
  • Support Battalion located in Burnham, provide logistic support; and 2nd Health Support Battalion located in Linton provides operationally focused medical support.
1st NZ Special Air Services Regiment
  • Located at Papakura, the Regiment provides Special Operations Forces for special and counter-terrorist operations and the national response for Chemical, Biological,
  • Radiological, Explosive and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal issues where public safety or national interest are threatened.
Reserve Force
  • Three infantry battalions located throughout New Zealand, two in the North Island and one in the South Island.
Training and Doctrine Command
  • Land Operations Training Centre based in the Manawatu at Hokowhitu Campus, which has schools located in Waiouru, Linton, Trentham, and Burnham and is responsible for teaching and validating New Zealand Army combat and logistics doctrine;
  • The Army Depot located in Waiouru, provides recruit training, and all arms promotions courses; and
  • The Army Command School located in Waiouru provides officer training, all arms promotion courses and leadership training.
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF):

Total Air Force Personnel by Employment Status - RNZAF
Based at Whenuapai:
  • Naval Helicopter Forces : Five SH-2G Super Seasprite (to be replaced with 10 SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite)
  • Maritime Patrol Forces : Six P-3K2 Orion Fixed Wing Transport
  • Forces:  Five C-130H(NZ) Hercules; and Two B oeing 757-200

Based at Ohakea:
  • Rotary Wing Transport Forces - Six UH-1H Iroquois as of March 2015 to be retired in mid 2015
  • Eight NH90 Medium Utility Helicopters (still under Operational Test and Evaluation for some roles) Five A109 T raining/Light Utility Helicopter (still under Operational Test and Evaluation for some roles)
  • Training Aircraft - Four Beech King Air B 200 (leased) 11 Beechcraft T -6C Texan II
Royal New Zealand Armed Forces - Camps and Bases:

Whenuapai Air Force Base - Home to: No 5 Squadron (6x P-3K2 Orion aircraft); No 6 Squadron (5x SH-2G(NZ) Seasprite Helicopters); No 40 Squadron (2x Boeing 757-200; 5x C-130H(NZ) Hercules); Expeditionary Support Squadron.

Devonport Naval Base - Home to: Naval Support Command; Naval College; Joint Geospatial Facility; HMNZ Dockyard; Naval Combat Forces (2x FFH Frigates: HMNZS Te Kaha, HMNZS Te Mana); Naval Support Forces (1 x Landing Ship Logistics HMNZS Canterbury; 1x Auxillary Oiler HMNZS Endeavour); Mine Counter Measures and Diving Forces (1x Dive Tender HMNZS Manawa NUi); Hydrographic Force; Naval Patrol Forces (HMNZS ROTOITI, HMNZS HAWEA, HMNZS PUKAKI, HMNZS TAUPO, HMNZS WELLINGTON and HMNZS OTAGO).

Papakura Military Camp - Home to: 1st New Zealand Special Air Services Regiment; Auckland Regional Support Centre. Waiouru Military Camp Home to: Headquarters New Zealand Army: Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command; The Army Depot; Army Command School; Army Marae.

Ohakea Air Force Base - Home to: No 3 Squadron (8x NH90 Helicopters; 5x A109 Helicopters; 6x UH-1H Iroquois Helicopters (to be retired mid 2015); Flying Training Wing (11x T6-Texan II; 4x Beech King Air).

Hokowhitu - Home to: Land Operations Training Centre (HQ); Defence College; Army Staff Tactics School; Logistics Operations School; School of Military Intelligence and Security.

Linton Military Camp - Home to: 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment; Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles; 16th Field Regiment; 2nd Engineer Regiment; 1st NZ Signals Regiment; 2nd Combat Service Support Battalion; 2nd Health Support Battalion; Linton Regional Support Centre; Combat School; 1st New Zealand Military Intelligence Company; School of Military Engineering; School of Signals; School of Artillery; Mission Command Training Centre.

Trentham Military Camp - Home to: Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand; Trentham Regional Support Centre; 1st New Zealand Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron; New Zealand Military Police Unit; Trade Training School; Logistics Executive.

Wellington - Ministry of Defence and Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force. Home to: Command Logistics; Office of Strategy Management; Strategic Commitments and Engagement Branch; Intelligence Branch; Defence Personnel Executive; Capability Branch; Communications and Information Systems Branch; Defence Public Affairs; Legal; Naval Staff; Air Staff; Army General Staff; Finance Branch; Veterans’ Affairs; Office of Chief of Defence Force; Defence Library; Security.

Woodbourne Air Force Base - Home to: Ground Training Wing.

Burnham Military Camp - Home to: 2/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment; 3rd Signals Squadron; 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion; 3rd Health Support Company; Headquarters Youth Development Unit; Southern Regional Support Centre; New Zealand Army Band; Joint Services Health School; Army Adventure Training Centre.

Tekapo Military Training Area

NOTE: Publication of 2015 Defense White Paper (DWP) has been pushed to 2016. -  For more details, click at this LINK 

This copyright work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand license. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the New Zealand's Ministry of Defence and abide by the other license terms.

Download DWP 2015 The Public Consultation Document - LINK