The focused defence force envisioned here would be notably different from the traditional one which tends to follow in the footsteps of Australia and the United Kingdom.


The army envisioned here is not large. It is small and ruthlessly efficient. It is drawn from the civilian population and much of it will return to civilian employment. It is focused on delivering and supporting the best possible counterinsurgency infantry as fast as possible into the widest range of politically and socially complex conflict environments in order to suppress and disincentivise violence. 

The key word is infantry. 

The focus of the force is our armed people dealing with other people either as individuals or relatively small groups. That may be marines boarding a recalcitrant fishing boat, SAS raiding a cell preparing a terror attack, or Military Police enforcing the law in a village in a troubled Pacific nation. The army is intended to be armed and equipped to be the world's best at asymmetrical, low intensity, and counterinsurgency warfare. 

The army is about being armed. The composition assumes that non-combatant roles are carried out by civilian contractors. This means that the army will hire caterers, hire accommodation, hire non-combatant transport operators to carry out those roles that do not involve being armed. If it requires being armed it involves the army. If operating weapons is not likely to be needed, it doesn't.

The defence force is not for imaginary scenarios like defending New Zealand against hordes of ravening Chinese communists. It is for carrying out the missions that we actually do in and around the Pacific and under the aegis of our allies.

The army is divided into functional battalions which specialise in specific forms of operations. Each battalion is a separate budget line item, from the SAS to the motorised battalion. The efficiency of each battalion should be as transparent as its effectiveness.
That means that if it is cheaper to operate civilian helicopters rather than army ones, civilian helicopters are hired. If army helicopter weapons and systems are needed then army systems are deployed.

All army systems must be selected so that they can be rapidly deployed from existing resources.

The army is not a parade ground entity. It is not about shouting, marching, blindly following orders, tradition, drinking a lot, and dressing in odd clothes to perform ancient rituals. That can be left to civilian marching troupes. 

This army is only about individual discipline, initiative, resilience and politically aware problem solving. It is about teamwork, liaison and intelligent communication. It is about soldiers who can simultaneously and effectively manage their tactical situation, their interpersonal relationships, their political and legal role, their cyber-threat and network situation and their physical comfort and resilience. It is about exceptional individuals who are fitter than fit, smart and alert. 

It is not an army for bullies, thugs, drunks and blowhards. It is an army for quiet, intelligent and fiercely capable teams.


The coastguard's job is to efficiently and effectively patrol our own EEZ and provide transport and support platforms for our army and our allies. 

The coastguard is not a force for combat with other navies. It may engage pirates or illegal fishing vessels but it is not intended to slug it out with enemy combatants whether on the surface, or in the air.  It should be capable of being rapidly upgradable to do this but this is not its main mission. 

Like the army the efficiency of each element will be as transparent as its effectiveness. The use of civilian space services and UAVs to reduce costs will be a key element in its Pacific operations.


The defence force is expected to be intelligently aware of its role within the economy of New Zealand. It is not a unique little snowflake living in its own 'defenceworld' bubble. It is an extension of the interests and welfare of all New Zealanders.

This includes:
  • Acting to acquire and develop intellectual capital for the industrial development of New Zealand
  • Acting to develop and expand its own commercial interests in the form of brands, training services and assistance to allies and the United Nations
  • Minimises its costs to the citizens and businesses of New Zealand and maximise its effective support.
  • Cut, sell down and discontinue operations that are in competition with civilian markets which can demonstrably deliver the same service at less cost.