Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Australia-New Zealand Defence Cooperation: Some Considerations

Rolfe, Jim and Grimes, Arthur (2002): Australia-New Zealand Defence Cooperation: Some Considerations. Published in: Agenda , Vol. 9, No. 1 (2002): pp. 47-64.

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Australia and New Zealand have a long history of defence cooperation (currently under the rubric ‘Closer Defence Relations’ or ‘CDR’) based on treaty arrangements, on shared values and on similar, although not identical, strategic outlooks. In 2000 each country published reviews giving a framework for decisions on the size and shape of the armed forces for 20 or 30 years. In this paper we consider an analytical framework that could usefully inform policy makers when they consider national force capabilities and the degree to which each country can and should cooperate in determining defence structures. We use an explicitly economics approach to our analysis. This takes us away from normative policy statements of ‘needs’ (which are often ‘wants’) and gives a clear basis for both making and understanding policy decisions. Initially we examine the domestic determinations of an optimal defence force structure for a small country such as New Zealand. The point of this is to determine to what extent national force structure ‘balance’ is feasible and either desirable or necessary. We then consider the international considerations facing any small country and how balance applies internationally. Finally, we consider how the concept of balance could apply between Australia and New Zealand.

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