Part 2: Maintaining deployment capability

New Zealand Defence Force: Progress with the Defence Sustainability Initiative.

In this Part, we discuss whether NZDF was able to maintain deployment capability during the foundations phase.

NZDF sustained the deployments required by the Government during the foundations phase. This came at a cost: progress in other areas was slower than NZDF had planned.

One of NZDF's main roles is to deploy military forces at the Government's direction.

At the start of the Initiative, Cabinet wanted NZDF to maintain deployment commitments throughout the Initiative at levels no lower than those that existed in February 2005, which involved 11.7% of the Regular Force's personnel.

NZDF exceeded the Government's deployment expectations during the foundations phase. The percentage of Regular Force personnel deployed was:

  • 12.4% as at 30 June 2006;
  • 15.8% as at 30 June 2007; and
  • 17.2% as at 30 June 2008.

The Air Force, Army, and Navy did not deploy equal numbers or proportions of personnel. Generally, the Army contributed more personnel. For example, in 2007/08, while the deployment rate for the Regular Force overall was about 17%, the deployment rate for the Army was between 17% and 25%.

During the foundations phase, NZDF could not sustain deployments using only Regular Force personnel. It needed to use personnel from the Reserve Force as well.

Maintaining deployments at these levels slowed NZDF's progress in restoring military and corporate capability because it needed more of its personnel to manage and sustain deployments. This left fewer staff available for the Initiative's improvement projects. It also left fewer personnel available to prepare for potential new deployments, which we discuss in Part 3.

We explain the effects of deployments on NZDF in Appendix 2.

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