New Zealand Defence College

New Zealand Defence College
New Zealand Defence College
Established 1950
Type Military college
Undergraduates Diploma of Arts,
Postgraduates Master of Arts (Defence and Strategic Studies)
Location Trentham Military Camp, Upper Hutt (near Wellington)., New Zealand
Affiliations Massey University

The New Zealand Defence College (NZDC) is the premier educational institute for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and is located at Trentham Military Camp, Upper Hutt (near Wellington). The New Zealand Defence College provides professional military education to New Zealand Defence Force officers. The Defence Colleges incorporates the NZDF Command and Staff College which prepares officers for command and staff appointments. The College was established at Whenuapai, near Auckland, in 1950, as a school for junior officers of the RNZAF. In 2004, the College moved to its present location in Trentham Military Camp, Upper Hutt near Wellington, New Zealand. Courses follow a modular approach that incorporates the following core subjects: Communication Skills, Operational Studies, Strategic Studies, International Relations, Command, Leadership and Management. Due to the College's close association with Massey University, it is able to offer to successful graduates of the Staff Course a Postgraduate Diploma of Arts. Graduates can then choose to complete a further four papers (extramurally) to gain an MA (Defence and Strategic Studies), or they may choose to complete another type of degree with another university. [1]

The NZDC delivers military education course to all three Services of the New Zealand Defence Force. In addition to producing a professional military development framework for the NZDF and delivering various short courses in law of armed conflict (LOAC) and introduction to joint warfare course (IJWC), the College runs three main courses. These include the Staff Course, the Joint Junior Staff Course and the Warrant Officers Advanced Course. Delivery of courses is managed by the Command and Staff College, a sub-unit of the New Zealand Defence College. [1]


The Command and Staff College

The Staff College has graduated over 3000 officers since the first course was held in 1950, including many distinguished visitors from the neighbouring Asia Pacific region, New Zealand Police and Ministry of Defence. It originated as the RNZAF Staff College in Auckland, and only moved to Wellington after 2000.

Its mission is to prepare mid-career officers for command and staff appointments as well as selected senior warrant officers for strategic level posts. The mainstay of the College is the Staff Course, an intensive seven-month residential programme administered in conjunction with Massey University, which provides a post-graduate programme in Defence and Strategic Studies.

The College's two shorter courses include a six-week Warrant Officer Advanced Course (WOAC) and a seven-week Joint Junior Staff Course (Joint JSC) for junior officers. All NZDC Courses are open to personnel from all three Services.

All three courses provide students with a broader education on the New Zealand strategic environment and security challenges; the changing nature of conflict and associated International Law; Peace Support Operations; the operational art; Foreign and Defence policy making; the roles and tasks of the New Zealand Defence Force; command, management and leadership; and international relations, amongst other subjects.

The College also contributes to New Zealand's Defence Diplomacy by visiting regional nations and hosting foreign students and visiting delegations. This includes, as resources permit, the hosting of forums and seminars on relevant issues, the publication of academic papers, contributions to journals, research and other exchanges with regional defence colleges, the provision of lecture support to other agencies, and the establishment of key linkages within the neighbouring defence and business communities.


Although an Army staff college existed for a short period at the site of Massey University during WWII, the current Defence College draws its lingeage from the Royal New Zealand Air Forces's Command and Staff College. This Air Force College was established at Whenuapai, near Auckland, in 1950, as a school for junior officers of the RNZAF. The first course, now called the Junior Staff Course, was for officers of the rank of Flight Lieutenant (seven - eight years of commissioned service). Studies included Military Law, drill, organisation, staff duties and administration. In 1959 the College extended its training by introducing a six-month Staff Course for Squadron Leaders or their equivalent (approximately 15 years commissioned service). Over the years, the syllabus changed considerably, reflecting an international trend towards a broader professional outlook. University accreditation was introduced in the 1990s to ensure high standards of academic rigour. Students today are encouraged to widen their outlook from specialist areas of technical expertise, towards a more balanced coverage of wider strategic issues, requiring a level of analytical and conceptual thinking. Whilst communication and staff skills remain important, attention is also given to strategic issues and operational studies. The Service orientation has become increasingly 'joint', reflecting changes in the NZDF and trends overseas. College intakes have expanded to include students from all three Services, the NZ Police, and other Government departments (MOD and MFAT). In 1984, the College began training students from the Asia-Pacific region under the Mutual Assistance Programme. In 2004, the College moved to its present location in Trentham Military Camp, near Wellington.

Each course employs a combination of visiting lecturers, tutored discussion groups, visits, individual study, and formal written or oral presentations to impart the skills and attitudes needed for senior command and staff appointments. To date, the College has graduated over 3000 officers, including 100 officers from the Asia-Pacific region. Many graduates subsequently attain senior national appointments, or, on retirement from the armed services, apply the experiences gained at the College to successfully pursue diplomatic, political, commercial or academic careers. The College has established and maintains close links with academia.

Facilities The College has self-contained accommodation, a library, lounge, lecture theatre and tutorial rooms. The small but well-resourced library complements the College's online research facilities. Course members are accommodated in individual rooms linked by an unclassified (internet connected) wireless network.

Curriculum and Syllabus

The College strives to deliver a holistic curriculum in all of its main courses. This involves linking activities and places as much emphasis on peer learning outside the classroom as it does on the formal syllabus. While promoting a humanistic environment for free thinking and reflection, the College is cognizant of the need for structure upon which the informal learning can be scafholded. This formal syllabus is modelled on similar institutions in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. Courses follow a modular approach that incorporates the following core subjects:

Communication Skills

A high standard of written and oral communication skills are essential for all military and senior government professionals. The Staff Course, Joint Junior Staff Course, and Warrant Officer's Advanced Course each have an underlying theme of developing communication skills. While the formal syllabus component appears light, this is because the majority of the development is woven throughout other modules. Each course includes a short refresher on the tenets of written and oral communication skills during the opening induction package. These presentations are complemented with other cogintive and social capacity topics such as: problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, philosophy, and strategic communication. The real learning however, takes place throughout the course where the students apply and hone their skills while completing the various deliverables in other subject areas. A cross-reference matrix system is used to ensure the right balance of comminucation skill development occurs throughout the other subjects.

Operational Studies This is essentially a joint Service study, focused at the Operational level of war, placing significant emphasis on Joint and Combined operations. This is taught from a practical military perspective supported by lectures on recent and current NZDF operations. There is an introduction to the operational art, that is the concept and doctrine of campaign fighting at the operational level. The Junior Staff Course includes a one-week Introduction to Joint Warfare Course (IJWC) run in conjunction with the Headquarters Joint Force New Zealand. The Staff Course incorporates a two week Joint Operations Planning Course (JOPC) conducted by the Australian Defence Force Warfare Centre. The subject includes a combined planning exercise carried out in conjunction with a visit to the Australian Defence College in Canberra. The module gives attention to United Nations Peace Support Operations (PSO), the Laws of Armed Conflict (LOAC), and Military Aid to the Civil Power as authorised within the Defence Act. Staff Course includes a university paper on Joint Services Campaigning(149.708). The paper looks at the theoretical background to joint campaigns, with a focus on recent operations. Consideration is also given to current developments in joint warfare.

Strategic Studies This is a joint/combined Service subject at the strategic and Grand strategic level of war. This module examines the changing nature of warfare and possible future trends, the principles of war, the roles and tasks of single services (army, navy, air force), an evaluation of selected military campaigns, and the role of the media in conflict. This is essentially a single-service study at Junior Staff Course level and the Staff Course further examines the historical development of military strategy and strategic schools of thought, New Zealand's strategic area of interest, the defence-policy making process, and recent White Papers and government frameworks. The module includes a combined forum on regional strategic issues in Canberra, Australia. The Staff Course includes a university paper (149.701 New Zealand's Strategic Environment).[2]

International Relations For Junior Staff Course, this subject includes an examination of the National Power model, the concept of security, introduction to New Zealand politics and strategic thinking, the defence-policy making process, and recent White Papers and government frameworks. The stronger theoretical component is reserved for the Staff Course. This includes a review of the origins of IR theory, an examination of the causes of the Cold War, changes to the international political environment post-Cold War; and current trends and factors shaping the behaviour of states in the Asia-Pacific region. The overseas study tour provides an opportunity to see the practical aspect of the subject. This module provides analytical tools for examining security behaviour and includes a university paper (200.761 International Relations).[3]

Command, Leadership and Management This subject reviews traditional and contemporary theories of leadership and management, and military approaches to command. Included are discussions on professionalism, morality and ethics, and personnel and human resource issues confronting the NZDF. Staff Course members undertake a comparative study of military and civilian sector approaches to leadership, and greater emphasis is placed on the responsibilities of command. Visits to commercial enterprises provide examples of how the concepts operate in practice. The university paper Research Essay (149.798)[4] allows course members to undertake independent research on an approved topic of their choice.

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ See Massey University, Centre for Defence Studies, for course details
  3. ^ See Massey University, Centre for Defence Studies, for course details
  4. ^ See Massey University, Centre for Defence Studies, for course details


External links

Coordinates: 41°08′32″S 175°02′09″E / 41.142267°S 175.035792°E / -41.142267; 175.035792

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