New Zealand Defence Doctrine

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 – NZ Defence Policy and Military Doctrine
  • Chapter 2 – Levels of Military Operations
  • Chapter 3 – The Context of Military Operations
  • Chapter 4 – NZ Defence Force Operational Tenets
  • Chapter 5 – Components of Fighting Power
  • Chapter 6 – The Broader Utility of Fighting Power
  • Chapter 7 – Generating Warfighting Capacity
  • Glossary


The development of sound military doctrine is as much to do with challenging received wisdom as it is with codifying established practice.  Those in command, at whatever level, have to rely on their judgement and apply as much of what they have learnt as appropriate, departing from the established route when the circumstances demand it.

The NZDF positively encourages judicious and innovative departure from doctrine when it is a considered departure from established doctrine by educated practitioners.  New military doctrine is inherently flexible, allowing commanders to seize the initiative and adopt unorthodox or imaginative courses of action as the opportunities arise.

Doctrine also embraces the organisational culture of the NZDF. In the NZDF, the culture is undergoing a paradigm shift from three discrete single Services to a jointly focused Defence Force; "three Services, one Force". The operational focus in the NZDF is towards integrated joint operations with synchronised joint effects. This cultural change realises the collective strength of a joint approach, whilst retaining the strength of the diversity of the three Services.

Conditions of Release

The information within this publication is protected by copyright and the intellectual property rights for this publication belong exclusively to the Crown / New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). No material or information contained in this publication should be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form outside NZDF establishments, except as authorised in writing by both the sponsor and the NZDF where appropriate.

The information may be released by the NZDF to a recipient Defence Force for defence purposes only. It may be disclosed only within the recipient Defence Force, except as otherwise authorised by the NZDF.

Fleet exercises and manoeuvres in Cook Strait as part of the Navy 70th Anniversary celebrations

Fleet exercises and manoeuvres in Cook Strait as part of the Navy 70th Anniversary celebrations [20110928-PH-T1015674-0048]

A LAV on patrol on Ex Silver Warrior

A LAV on patrol during an Exercise [OH 05-0629-05]

An Air Force NH90

An Air Force NH90 helicopter [20110628-OH-N1015025-0091]

This page was last reviewed on 2 March 2017, and is current.