Time for a National Security Strategy

Author: Rothery, C.

Published in National Security Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2019



The global environment is becoming more complex and aggressive, with numerous threats from, undesirable foreign influence, traditional, political and economic espionage, organised crime, bio-security; natural disasters, pandemics, and terrorism. New Zealand has experienced all of these. With this extensive, but by no means exhaustive list, the question must be asked, why then does New Zealand not have a national security strategy, one that focuses the nation’s resources on reducing these threats and risks? A national security strategy is not one that needs to give away all of the state’s secrets, it can simply be a framework for collaboration across the government on national security. It should be the basis for a joined up approach across government to crisis management and conflict. What New Zealand currently has is a collection of unrelated documents with varying levels of connectivity to national security – the only forward looking documents are those from the New Zealand Defence Force. New Zealand needs to adopt a forward looking strategic approach to national security and develop a national security strategy. This strategy needs to align the policies of different government agencies towards a cohesive national security framework that targets our most important threats, so that the harm they cause does not eventuate or is mitigated.

Keywords: New Zealand,  National Security Framework, Intelligence and Security, Civil Defence and Emergency Management, Counter-Terrorism, Cyber Security, Defence

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