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Operations Command is the structure charged with carrying out military and emergency response missions. Operations Command is based largely on the Army but also includes Airforce and Navy personnel.
Where the size of Pacific Command is primarily determined by the capital assets (ships and aircraft) the force can afford, the size of Operations Command comes down to personnel. In theory, for example, one could take a Swiss approach to national security and require all males between the age of 18 and 45 to report for military training on a regular basis. This would however be an enormous waste of taxpayer funds. The objective of this review is to achieve the primary missions at the highest level of personnel safety and taxpayer efficiency possible.
As stated previously the largest real deployment of forces in the past 50 years was the UN Interfet mission to East Timor where at its peak 1,100 NZDF personnel were deployed. This is roughly 12% of current uniformed defence force and 4% of defence force total staffing.This included 830 Army personnel of two infantry companies, one reconnaissance and surveillance company plus engineer, medical and logistics support. The airforce operated 6 helicopters with 130 ground and aircrew.
This deployment can be regarded as an absolute maximum and a 1:50 year situation. It is normal for most armies to have a high ratio of support to front-line troops however this review believes it should be possible to do better than the 1:8 ratio which applied in East Timor. That is to say that a deployment of 960 land personnel should be a higher proportion of New Zealand's operational forces given that most of the time deployments will be considerably less than this. This review seeks to achieve and indeed improve on the capability of the New Zealand Interfet mission without creating a force which spends most of its time waiting around for another such deployment to occur.
This study is copyright to Peter King