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New Zealand, Intelligence and Security

New Zealand, Intelligence and Security

New Zealand gained its independence from Britain in 1907, but remains a member of the British Commonwealth. A longtime, close ally with Britain, Australia, and the United States, New Zealand retreated from international politics during the last two decades to address ethnic tensions between European-descended New Zealanders and the native Maori people. The New Zealand government strived to recognize past aggression against the Maori community, reforming national government and social policy to address native grievances. As part of these reforms, the New Zealand government declassified information gained from past surveillance of Maori populations.

The Security Intelligence Service (SIS) is New Zealand's primary civilian intelligence agency. Charged with the gathering, processing, and analyzing of foreign and domestic intelligence, the SIS conducts a wide-variety of intelligence operations. The agency maintains a small human intelligence force, choosing to gather information from carefully negotiated liaisons with allied foreign intelligence services, such as those of Britain, the United States, and Australia. The main mission of the SIS is the protection of New Zealand's national, military, economic, technological, and scientific infrastructure.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) limits its operations to foreign intelligence and counter-intelligence operations. The bureau supervises the protection of government communications, computer, and information systems. The agency also processes collected foreign intelligence information for dissemination to international intelligence and security agencies.

New Zealand's civilian intelligence community is administered by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Strategy Subcommittee on Intelligence and Security (CSSIS). The CSSIS has limited power to mobilize military responses to identified threats against national interests. In most cases, however, the CSSIS relies on the New Zealand Parliament to authorize the use of force.

In addition to civilian intelligence forces, New Zealand also maintains substantial military intelligence forces. Special intelligence units are embedded in the operations divisions of the various branches of service. Since these units focus on strategic intelligence, the military works closely with civilian agencies to gather and analyze intelligence. New Zealand's Naval Intelligence is the largest military intelligence organization, specializing in signals, communications, and remote intelligence operations in the South Pacific.

In 2001, New Zealand's intelligence community pledged to support global anti-terrorist operations. The strategic position of New Zealand in the Austral-Asian South Pacific facilitates remote intelligence and surveillance operations in the region. New Zealand often contributes intelligence regarding the ongoing conflict in Indonesia to the United Nations and other international security agencies.

SEE ALSO

Australia, Intelligence and Security
United Kingdom, Intelligence and Security

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