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Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything: The Politics and Processes of New Zealand Defence Acquisition Decision Making

Volume: 173
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Timing is Everything
    Book Description:

    This book identifies the critical factors that shaped and influenced New Zealand's defence acquisition decision-making processes from the election of the Fourth Labour Government in 1984 and the subsequent ANZUS crisis, through to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the following 'war on terror'. It explores and analyses decision-making processes in relation to the ANZAC frigates, the military sealift ship HMNZS Charles Upham, the F-16 strike aircraft, the P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft upgrade, and the LAV IIIs.

    eISBN: 978-1-921536-65-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Abstract
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. About the Author
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Foreword
    (pp. xix-xx)
    Gerald Hensley

    In February 1942, facing a Japanese invasion, the New Zealand Prime Minister pleaded with Washington for arms. New Zealand, he pointed out, was virtually unarmed: “This, we feel, is not our fault.” It is hard to see who else’s it was; it is a mark of independent countries to take care of their own security.

    The risk of invasion has since become very remote, but for almost two decades the effectiveness of the country’s Defence Force has been plagued by obsolescent equipment and seemingly interminable arguments over its replacement. Some of this is endemic in democracies unthreatened and at peace....

  9. Chapter 1 Introduction—The Policy Background and the Policy Framework
    (pp. 1-22)

    Defence decision-making, whilst from time to time making newspaper headlines, is rarely the subject of prolonged debate in New Zealand. Notable exceptions to this would be the controversy over access for nuclear-capable US warships, or the purchase of ANZAC frigates, during the 1980s. It was clear from this time that much of the equipment of New Zealand’s defence forces was going to require replacement or significant upgrading. How decisions on defence acquisitions have been made since that time constitutes the research topic under investigation in this volume.

    Before moving on to investigate recent acquisition case studies, it is important to...

  10. Chapter 2 The ANZACS, Part 1—The Frigate that wasn’t a Frigate
    (pp. 23-52)

    As long ago as 1954 the cost of replacement frigates had been an issue. Almost a quarter of a century later, the 1978 Defence Review made the observation that ‘the high costs of acquiring and maintaining modern naval ships and systems compounds the difficulty of reaching decisions which will adequately provide for New Zealand’s future needs at sea’.¹ Indeed ‘extensive enquiries to find a replacement for HMNZS Otago made it clear that the cost of a new frigate had gone beyond what New Zealand could afford’.² This observation led to the serious consideration of converting the Royal New Zealand Navy...

  11. Chapter 3 Oranges and Lemons—HMNZS Charles Upham
    (pp. 53-76)

    As long ago as the 1970s the need had been identified for the purchase of a sealift ship to support the implementation of New Zealand’s defence and foreign policy in the South Pacific, and to support New Zealand’s involvement in UN operations. The proposed ship was to have an ice-strengthened bow for Antarctic operations, and helicopter facilities, but the cost at the time was seen as putting such a vessel beyond New Zealand’s reach. The 1978 Defence Review noted the need for ‘a general purpose logistic support capability. The adaptation of a suitable commercial vessel…is not discounted’.¹

    The need for...

  12. Chapter 4 ‘No, Minister….’—The ANZAC Frigates, Part II
    (pp. 77-88)

    In 1989 the decision on whether to buy the third and fourth ANZAC frigates seemed a long way off; indeed as previously indicated, Geoffrey Palmer had said the decision would not need to be taken for almost a decade. Before the next decision was due to be made, major changes to New Zealand’s electoral system were to take place, with the introduction of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation in 1996, and the need for the formation of a coalition government. It was the need for retaining coalition support that was to have a decisive influence on the National-led Government’s decision...

  13. Chapter 5 ‘The Deal of the Century’—The F-16s
    (pp. 89-108)

    In November 1998 the National-led Coalition Government, at the same time that it decided not to pursue the purchase of a third ANZAC frigate, made a decision to lease 28 F-16 A/B aircraft from the United States. That same month, the Interim Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, Inquiry into Defence Beyond 2000 was published.¹ In contrast to the Government’s decision, the Report challenged whether it was necessary to retain an air combat wing at all. The following year the Labour Party returned to power leading a coalition government, and had already indicated that it would review...

  14. Chapter 6 ‘I see no submarines’—Upgrading the Orions
    (pp. 109-126)

    Prior to the debate over the leasing of the F-16s, the New Zealand Government had already committed itself to extending the structural life of the P-3K Orion aircraft which provide New Zealand’s maritime air patrol capability. In the 1997 Defence White Paper, the Government acknowledged that New Zealand’s Orions had far exceeded their planned service life, but the planning for refurbishment and/or replacement of major structural components was well underway. However, the White Paper also went on to note that:

    There are serious deficiencies in the Orions’ sensor suite that impairs its ability to carry out both surface and sub-surface...

  15. Chapter 7 Plotting and Sedition, or Necessary Acquisition? The LAV IIIs
    (pp. 127-150)

    At the time of the publication of the 1997 Defence White Paper, it had become apparent that the New Zealand Government was being faced with a range of decisions which it needed to take to overcome the widespread obsolescence of major items of military equipment. Whilst previous chapters have focused on some of the major needs of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) or the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), or, as in the case of HMNZS Charles Upham joint service requirements, this chapter will focus on one central requirement necessary for re-equipping the Army—Light Armoured Vehicles, or...

  16. Chapter 8 Politics and Processes: Reflections on the Characteristics of the Decision-Making Process
    (pp. 151-156)

    By the 1980s New Zealand’s defence forces were facing the prospect of block obsolescence of many major military platforms. The six case studies described and analysed in this volume provide an insight into the way defence decision-making processes have been undertaken since this time. This chapter now outlines the processes involved in defence decision-making activities, and identifies those factors which have had most impact on the development of the decision-making process in the recent New Zealand context. In so doing, the chapter answers the two questions posed at the beginning of this volume, namely: (1) What are the processes involved...

  17. Appendix 1: Sole, Prime and Shared Responsibilities
    (pp. 157-158)
  18. Appendix 2: ANZAC Ship Baseline Characteristics
    (pp. 159-160)
  19. Appendix 3: User Requirement
    (pp. 161-162)
  20. Appendix 4: Recommendations of the Final Report of the Air Combat Capability Study—October 1998
    (pp. 163-164)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 165-184)
  22. Index
    (pp. 185-196)