In today’s complex and dynamic threat environment, military leaders must effectively employ limited resources to execute their country’s national security strategy. Proceedings asked sea-service commanders around the world: It is often said that a nation’s national defense decisions are ultimately derived from its own sovereign interests. Given this presumption, what are the global trends that most influence your national security decision making and how does your navy use its operating policies, alliances, and partnerships to address these trends?
Rear Admiral Jack Steer
The New Zealand Defence White Paper 2010 signaled that New Zealand was highly unlikely to face a traditional threat over the next 25 years. However, a growing population, with a global forecast of 9.2 billion by 2050, is likely to lead to greater competition for resources. In turn, pressures from non-traditional threats— for example illegal fishing, illegal resource extraction, and the unregulated movement of people—are likely.
The outlook for the South Pacific is seen as fragile, with many Pacific island states facing social, economic, and environmental stresses. An increase in extreme weather events in the region has led to an increased demand for humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HA/DR) assistance. Heightened interest in resource exploitation in the Arctic is mirrored in greater interest in Antarctica’s resources and increasing competition in the fisheries of the Southern Ocean.
New Zealand’s geography is an enduring feature of its strategic environment. Located almost in the center of the Water Hemisphere, the view from New Zealand is dominated by Australia and Antarctica. As a trading nation with 99 percent of exports by weight traveling by sea, and with the fourth largest EEZ in the world, New Zealand is inescapably a maritime nation with a global outlook. Secure sea lines of communication and protection of our EEZ, along with an active involvement in the region, is something New Zealanders expect.
With responsibilities from the Antarctic to the tropics and a commitment to global security, the New Zealand government expects the Royal New Zealand Navy to be able to deploy assets within our EEZ, in the South Pacific, in Southeast Asia, and globally. We have no closer ally than Australia, with whom we work constantly within our region. Also in the Pacific we work closely with the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia—through a biennial HA/DR exercise—and with the United States. This year, Exercise Pacific Partnership, a program of humanitarian support and capacity building led by the United States, saw the involvement of three RNZN ships. The Five Power Defence Arrangements see our frigates working closely with Singapore and Malaysia. Globally, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise in 2012 saw the deployment of HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Endeavour to Hawaii. Most recently, the frigate HMNZS Te Mana deployed to the Gulf of Aden as part of the Combined Maritime Force anti-piracy patrols, underscoring New Zealand’s commitment to a secure maritime environment.