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Decisions next step in modernising Defence Forces

Decisions next step in modernising Defence Forces

Minister of Defence Mark Burton has today announced several government decisions that will bring about greater joint cooperation across Defence.

The decisions, based both on existing internal Defence initiatives and recommendations in the Review of Accountabilities and Structural Arrangements between the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force (RASA), were described by Mark Burton as “the next step in achieving this government’s goal of a modernised, well-equipped and sustainable Defence Force.

“In June 2000, we set out our priorities for defence and a framework for future decisions about military capabilities, resources and funding. The Defence Policy Framework stated the key elements of our approach to defence: assessing the strategic setting and our key policy objectives,” said Mark Burton

“In May 2001, the government’s Defence Statement, A Modern, Sustainable Defence Force Matched to New Zealand’s Needs, set out the key components of the defence force as: a joint approach; a modernised Army; a practical Navy fleet; a refocused and updated Air Force; and a funding commitment to provide financial certainty.

“The Defence Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP) was released last year. The LTDP is a planning tool that allows the Government to make decisions on defence acquisitions in the context of defence policy, priority of projects, and affordability. After the decade of neglect and ad-hoc spending visited on our Defence Force by the previous National-led governments, the NZDF will now be appropriately trained, equipped and maintained to meet New Zealand’s defence policy objectives.

“Concurrent with these three documents has been a comprehensive internal and external review of how the Ministry of Defence and the NZDF can best work together. As part of this review, Don Hunn has produced the RASA, a project originally recommended in Defence Beyond 2000 and announced in the June 2000 Defence Policy Framework. The RASA is assisting the government’s decision-making process, as we consider structures, responsibilities, accountabilities, roles and relationships within Defence.”

Decisions announced include: Reinforcing and cementing existing initiatives that support jointness, cooperation and collaboration between the Ministry of Defence, the NZDF, and all three Services Ensuring maximum efficiency by eliminating any unnecessary duplication of functions within the three Services, NZDF Headquarters, and Joint Force Headquarters Enhancing progress on the introduction of a joint non-operational logistics capability Defining the role of the three service chiefs as being to “raise, train, and maintain” their respective Services Developing an integrated Headquarters/Head Office culture that better reflects New Zealand Defence’s current needs and values Clarifying the roles of the Secretary of Defence and the Chief of Defence Force by identifying and allocating sole, joint and prime responsibilities.

“Both the internal and external recommendations we have received closely mirror the government’s key organisational goal for defence: all elements working together for national security. This goal requires joint effect across all three Services, co-operation and collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and the NZDF, and close collaboration with other relevant agencies,” said Mark Burton.

“I am pleased by the many strong steps that we have already taken in this direction, such as the establishment of the Joint Forces Headquarters and joint staff college. We have also seen such initiatives as the integration of the NZDF’s international defence relations branch with the Ministry’s policy branch, the attendance of the Secretary of Defence at the Chiefs of Staff Committee meetings, and the inclusion of both the Secretary of Defence and the Chief of Defence Force on the Defence Evaluation Board and the Defence acquisition control groups.

“We want to reinforce these initiatives and go even further in maximising jointness and efficiency in the relationship between the Ministry and the NZDF. All the work done to date highlights the significant efforts both organisations have taken towards achieving this goal, and underscores the importance of continuing to work towards an even more efficient and cooperative culture.”

As background to the announcement, Mark Burton also released a Cabinet Paper (Improving Joint Effectiveness in Defence), the RASA, and its accompanying appendices.

The RASA will be available on http:// from 12.00 pm today.

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