Saturday, March 17, 2007

ZenTiger Benign Strategic Environment

When Helen Clark announced we live in a benign strategic environment, we didn't know we were going to discover oil off the south island.

I wonder if our Defence Forces are re-evaluating any scenarios where Foreign Forces do decide to relocate a few hundred thousand troops?

13 comment(s):

Sb said...

Given its location the only people capable of sending troops there (and keeping them there) are our friends.

The New NZ Navy MPV and OPV that are under construction are designed for resource protection.

So whats your point ZT? That the Labour government is doing a good job of refitting the NZ armed forces for action against real threats rather than imaginary ones?


JC said...


ZenTiger said...

My point was really that things do not stay static. It is not only our friends capable of reaching to the South Island. Think 20 or 30 years ahead.

My post was not to pass judgment on Labour, it just so happened Helen was the one that uttered the "benign strategic environment" quote, and should be the one that is briefed on what the future may hold.

Unknown said...

Super Bob who exactly are these "friends"?

Currently Australia rates its closest ally after the US as Japan. We don't even rate a mention.

They are currently the only thing closer to us than the worlds most populous Muslim country. A country we have been at war with cold and hot since they thought they'd try and nab Malaya.

A resource poor, military heavy country with a history of aggressive expansionism.

And we're going to deal with this with a military that isn't able to meet its current overseas commitments already, doesn't have any resources for maintaining prolonged naval or air operations in the south and is currently churning soldiers to Australian army at rate that could best be described as a foreign aid program with the transition procedure so well streamlined they may have to raise an all kiwi unit.

Good job Labour!

Sb said...

Indonesia is not a credible threat to New Zealand. The logistic problems would overwhelm them. Their Navy and Air force are essentially a local defense force. That lack any real blue water capability.

Armchair worriers like you tend to forget logistics, they are a really big deal and most military's don't have very much (or any at all) once you move more than approx 200Km from their boarders.

New Zealand's biggest defense is the distance from potential enemies.

Even give Zt 20-30 year timescale it is very hard to see that changing.

There is of course a big difference between sustained military operations and something like a terrorist attack.

I presume you are in the "bring back the strike force" camp murry? other than air shows what exactly was that ancient leftover from WW2 good for?


KG said...

"There is of course a big difference between sustained military operations and something like a terrorist attack."
Australian defence planners have admitted that a terrorist attack could halt production and export of gas from the giant NW Shelf fields and force Australia to commit expensive forces to their protection, which would in turn pressure Australia to negotiate with Indonesian demands.
Why would an oil field in the South of NZ be immune to such action?

Sb said...

"Why would an oil field in the South of NZ be immune to such action?"

Short answer - distance.

Longer answer - no matter what you are doing problems with operating away from your home base tend to be exponential. Twice the distance 4-16 times the effort.

The only way I an think of to attack a NZ Oil facility would be to fill up a trawler with TNT and send it on a one way trip.

If you want to defend something/somebody you fol ow three phases.

1) Identify what it is you are protecting
2) Identify what the threat is to that object.
3) using outputs from 1 and 2 devise a plan and implement that plan.

Armchair worriers spend to little time on 1 & 2 and tend to concentrate just on 3

professionals spend much more time on 1 and 2 than they do on 3. (over generalisation alert!)

In the real world any facility for extracting oil that could be of interest to anybody outside NZ will take 10-15 years to develop. That's plenty of time to do the three stages above.

An OPV takes 3-5 years depending on specs to reach full effectiveness.

To deal with the trawler threat above you would use for example an on OPV and or an MPA.


Waymad said...

And, dear sb, you may be a logistics super-wallah, but the types who would consider NZ a target-rich environment would:

- have as at least one strategic aim, the creation of a pincer movement around Oz: a psy-ops focus, around Oz election time, anyone? Been done in Spain, worked there...

- probably pirate existing shipping (oil-tanker, anyone?) in rather the same way as 767's were used oh, not so long ago. Logistics solved.

- have a very fair idea about just how little our so-called Defence Forces could do about all that: LAV's and Herky-birds?

So that 'distance' could turn into a liability the other way...

Sb said...

seagullz - what a strange message.

Warning incoming tanker! well we have two MEKO A200 class frigates each armed with a 5" gun and a helicopter also armed with maverick missiles.

In a short while we will also have a MPV which will be armed with something (can't remember what) and another helicopter.

Add to that two OPV not helicopter capable but rather more dangerous than a tanker.

P3 Orions that can keep an eye on the tanker for rather a long time.

Yup that tanker is a big big threat - until the NZ defence force blows it out of the water!


ZenTiger said...

A full oil tanker blown up in the barrier reef or any fishing area, for that matter is an own goal.

Waymad said...



Such a small imagination...

If one wanted to threaten an adjoining large, muscular state (already looking very nervously to its North), then the MO would shurely involve one of the following:

- internal threat (e.g. to the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney, and that is a known, historic threat, BTW)

- influencing an election (hence the Spain note, above). It worked there.

- external demonstration of capability - e.g. a dirty nuke, housed in a container, shipped out of New Plymouth, within coo-ee of the existing gas rigs.

Geddit now?

The point is not the precise delivery mechanism. That's the easy bit. Ditto the logistics. Think like a pirate, the world looks very different. And, indeed, 'Strange'.

The point is that NZ has virtually nil capability in terms of intel or follow-up capacity (the Wowee Zaoui saga does spring to mind). As Sam Harris notes, a city of pacifists can easily be governed by a few determined men with guns.

Which was ZT's point.

More importantly, NZ currently lacks the political guts and wits to acknowledge and act on any perceived change to the 'benign strategic environment' which Glorious Leader asserts.

So carry on picking away at the detail. But a little nod towards the Big Picture might help.

Sb said...

"A full oil tanker blown up in the barrier reef or any fishing area, for that matter is an own goal."

Which is of course why you would not deal with it that way. I was just responding to seagullz bizarre threat scenario. Next thing he will be asking for the NZ Defense force to take into account little green men from Mars!

I would prefer the NZ Defense force to be optimised against real threats to this nation rather than fictional ones. Sorry seagullz but nukes in shipping containers! can you pass across some of whatever it is you are smoking?


KG said...

sb, a dirty bomb in a shipping container would be very, very easy to arrange.
The threat of a second such bomb would bring this country to a grinding halt.
And what percentage of shipping containers are carefully examined on arrival in NZ?
For all your talk of logistics, you obviously have little understanding of assymetrical warfare techniques.

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