Late last year, the Minister of Defence released the new Defence Capability Plan which provides the framework for acquiring the capabilities needed to deliver the Government’s defence policy. A key feature of this Plan is the total capability effect: a deployable Army, the ability to transport and sustain that Army overseas, the use of real-time technology to provide the entire Defence Force with a common operating picture, and capabilities for a credible combat role. The goal is an expeditionary Joint Amphibious Task Force.
A P-3K Orion of the RNZAF banks steeply as it displays its open bomb doors. AK 05-0170-32.
The Joint Amphibious Task Force is to be capable of working independently in the South Pacific or as part of a larger coalition operation. Therefore capability development within the NZDF out to 2015 will focus on reorienting existing units and assets into the Joint Amphibious Task Force to provide an integrated and effective response to our security needs.
With the Joint Amphibious Task Force at its core, the NZDF will become a more coherent and integrated force in which existing front-line operational and support units from across the three Services work together as one. Individual components will be deployable, and they will be able to more effectively integrate with other nations and with civil capabilities.
The NZDF amphibious capability will be deployable across all of the NZDF ’s operating environments. Its primary focus, however, will be on responding to security challenges and defence tasks in New Zealand and its environs, security challenges to New Zealand’s interests in the South Pacific, and challenges to New Zealand and Australia’s common security interests.
The Defence Force intends to have the Joint Amphibious Task Force at the core of its force structure by 2015. From 2015 to 2020, capability development will focus on enhancing the Defence Force’s ability to sustain operations and expanding its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Total Defence Capability 2020. By 2020, with the Joint Amphibious Task Force at its core, the Defence Force will be capable of conducting amphibious military operations and responding to emergencies at home and abroad. The Defence Force of 2020 will be capable of projecting and sustaining land or maritime forces with increased combat utility, either on its own or as part of a wider coalition. This combat capability will act as an effective and credible deterrent for any challenge to New Zealand’s sovereignty and to stability in the wider South Pacific region. At the same time, the Defence Force will have selected forces capable of participation in coalition operations elsewhere in the world.
Concurrently the Defence Force will be able to continue to provide effective military assistance to the Government, within areas of NewZealand’s responsibility, in times of emergency. By 2020, the Defence Force will have a range of integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets available to provide all-weather 24-hour capable surveillance in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and over any deployed Defence Force elements.
Resource Protection, Disaster Relief and Humanitarian Assistance. The Joint Amphibious Task Force will also enable the Defence Force to carry out the non-combat tasks often expected of it. These tasks, which are conducted at home and overseas, include: search and rescue; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; resource protection in the EEZ; maritime border security; and evacuating New Zealand and approved foreign nationals from high-risk environments.