4 Oct 2011

Defence seen moving closer to alliance with US

3:14 pm on 4 October 2011

Former diplomat Terrence O'Brien says the latest Defence Force suggests it is gearing for a more combative role and moving closer to a military alliance with the United States.

The Defence Capability Plan outlines the force's outlook for the next 10 years, including the development of a Joint Amphibious Task Force capable of deploying 800 military personnel for three years and improving SAS operations.

Mr O'Brien, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies, says the report has an emphasis on improving high combat operations.

He says New Zealand's involvement in Afghanistan and close work with United States and NATO forces is leaving New Zealand open to persuasion that the Defence Force needs to refine and improve its capability.