New Zealand Defence Doctrine

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 – New Zealand Defence Policy, Strategy, and Military Doctrine
  • Chapter 2 – Levels of Military Operations
  • Chapter 3 – The Context of Military Operations
  • Chapter 4 – New Zealand Defence Force Operational Tenets
  • Chapter 5 – The Characteristics of the Military Instrument
  • Chapter 6 – The Utility of the New Zealand Defence Force
  • Glossary


The development of sound military doctrine is as much to do with challenging received wisdom as it is with codifying established practice.  Those in command, at whatever level, have to rely on their judgement and apply as much of what they have learnt as appropriate, departing from the established route when the circumstances demand it.

The NZDF positively encourages judicious and innovative departure from doctrine when it is a considered departure from established doctrine by educated practitioners.  New military doctrine is inherently flexible, allowing commanders to seize the initiative and adopt unorthodox or imaginative courses of action as the opportunities arise.

Doctrine also embraces the organisational culture of the NZDF. The NZDF has a unique culture that is underpinned by the shared values of courage, commitment, and comradeship. These cultural values are the tenets from which the NZDF builds an organisation that is united, professionally trained, competent, appropriately equipped, capable of serving the interests of New Zealand, confronting the security challenges of the future, and meeting the requirements of the New Zealand Government. This culture provides the foundation of New Zealand's unique approach to the conduct of military operations.

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The information within this publication is protected by copyright and the intellectual property rights for this publication belong exclusively to the Crown / New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). No material or information contained in this publication should be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form outside NZDF establishments, except as authorised in writing by both the sponsor and the NZDF where appropriate.

The information may be released by the NZDF to a recipient Defence Force for defence purposes only. It may be disclosed only within the recipient Defence Force, except as otherwise authorised by the NZDF.

This page was last amended on 30 April 2020