Role of Military‎ > ‎

Industrial development

Most industrialised nations use defence as a way to develop industrial capability. We are all aware of the role the Pentagon plays in keeping corporations like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, or NATO's role with BAE, EADS and Thales. But Singapore (Singapore Technologies Engineering) and Turkey are examples of developing economies which have leveraged military expenditure to develop their industries.

New Zealand's Ministry of Defence has done a pretty terrible job in tying up with our Crown Research Institutes, and industry to develop markets for militarised primary products in clothing and food. There are also a number of New Zealand firms who have developed excellent products which our military have shied away from due to a preference for foreign suppliers who can provide "proven" solutions off the shelf.

Defence can be a source of funding for New Zealand firms with duel use technologies and defence can (as it does in other countries) have a role in developing new products and creating firms which build intellectual property and employment. This is a far better use for military funding than to pay men and women to remain "in readiness" for things which might never happen.

New Zealand has a surprising depth of industrial capability. Defence is an internationally established means of providing development assistance to commercial firms. We should use it far more wisely than we have to date.