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Navy commander says there's no threat


The New Zealand navy has admitted it doesn’t really have much to do.

The magazine of the United States Naval Institute recently asked commanders of various navies: What is the most significant maritime security threat facing your nation, and how do your sea services address this challenge?

While other naval commanders pontificated about a variety of supposed security threats in order to justify their enormous budgets, New Zealand Navy chief Rear Admiral David Ledson was honest enough to admit he wasn’t sure.

“I have found it a challenge to get my head around providing a useful answer.”

Ledson then looks at New Zealand’s inshore waters and decides: “In the near waters, the most significant security threat relates to the ocean itself.”

He reckoned the navy needs to fill in “knowledge gaps” by carrying out scientific research, something not usually requiring ships with armour, expensive firepower and defence systems.

“To leverage off a characteristic of ships that they are able to concurrently carry out multiple tasks for multiple purposes—while training for military activities they can collect scientific information.”

However, despite the navy’s advocacy of the need for new frigates to maintain a ‘blue water’ capacity – the ability to operate over long distances, Ledson muses that there wasn’t really any point:

“Looking further afield, the most significant threat is actually the lack of a tangible… significant threat.”

“Our strategy for addressing this challenge is for the navy to develop the capability and capacity to provide the many pebbles that can be thrown into the national pond to spread ripples of knowledge across every inch of its surface,” Ledson concludes.

Which I think is military jargon for “Please keep funding us, we might find something useful to do eventually”.



Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

To be fair to the man Sam, at least he is being honest about it. Rare in the public service these days.

Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

With forty percent of the choral dead or dying perhaps the navy might think of setting up some oceanography ships to measure and find the sources of pollution that are causing the natural world to die. To only shoot the shit, instead of spreading it back on to the common lands as organic matter is only furthering the pollution of the oceans. Pulp hemp not trees and which is organic and produces thousands of organic crops for the cash flow for the peasant-farmer communes that are still missing from not building organic agricultural communes instead of prisons in the western world. Navies originate as imperial war making machines for the empires purposes. They ultimately ought to be dismantled and re-cycled into the purposes of solidarity with the planets' life rather than expertise with technology that would most destroy the livability. All empires must fall and that includes the machinery and manufactury that holds the empries state in place. There are two kinds of peoples, the destroyers and the producers, the modern workers as class ought to continue to produce and the old empirist errors ought to totally get out of destruction (pollution from coal, gas, oil and atomic energy) on the planet for the ill gotten gains, we instead need tidal, wind, and solar power--- electricity the non-pollution solution. Whatever happened down there in NZ to the workers commonwealth, the original version of which is 'All wealth will be held in common'? Perhaps too much Yankee dollars and bs for the elites and nothing for the commonors any more.

Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

No, such research deos not generally require armed ships.

But this might come a surprise to you. While doing their military patrolling naval vessels commonly also conduct oceanographic work "in their spare time". That tradition goes way back -- obviously things like geography (where were islands, etc.) and ocean currents had military uses.

I was rather susrpised when I learned this. But looking through a (US) naval publication found the papers published rathe divided between what I would think of a "military" and "basic research".

I am also less convinced of the sincerity of that answer (don't know the mission). I think that the naval folks DO have an idea of what their future missions will be like but not politically acceptable to dicuss yet. IMHO the mission of your navy in the coming ecological collapse will be to protect you from invasion by starving masses.

Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

It was one of the last navys in the world to form and the last to give up its rum tot each day at sea.

Nice to see some honesty but I would have thought the fisheries economic/essential/environmantal would be the main focus.

Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

2nd thought, we really should have disaster type ships able to assist with the various disasters that impact on our Pacific brothers.

Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

Last I looked (I'm a bit out of date on this), the navy didn't really do any EEZ (fisheries) policing - they kept an eye on things as they went about other duties, but ddidn't do any targetted fisheries work (these patrols were acrried out by the airforce). So its kind of hard to justiofy a navy on these grounds.

After the Te Kaha was purchased (the first of the ANZAC class frigates), it did one or two much publicised patrols to the Southern Ocean looking for illegal Patagonian toothfishing. This was the first fisheries work the navy had done in eight years, the previous operation had been looking for illegal oystering in Foveaux Strait.

Not surprised that navies do basic research - most military establishments do, and most oceanographic charts were first produced by the military, but it's not a good reason for maintaining a military fleet. NIWA has a couple of oceanographic ships, and their capacity could easily be increased. Fisheries protection, search and rescue and humanitarian relief (disaster response) are really the work of a professional coastguard, which New Zealand doesn't have, but which would be a lot more useful, and cheaper, than a warfighting navy.


Sam Buchanan

Re: Navy commander says there's no threat

I'm in agreement with you Sam. A Coast Guard would be far more practical for NZ.

That said, our Navy do play an international role in Persian Gulf (the wrongs and rights I'll put to one side for the moment), which is more than our Skyhawks ever did. So the NZ Navy is part of our "good international citizenship" work(?).