Optimal Defence Structure for a Small Country

Published: 2002

Authors: James Rolfe , Arthur Grimes

Small countries may not be able to afford all force elements (army, navy, air-force) operated by larger countries and certainly cannot afford all sub-elements (aircraft carriers, submarines, etc).

This paper provides a framework for a small country to analyse its force structure, examining the influence of: objectives, international co-operation, funding and technological constraints, and uncertainty.

We analyse when a small country may choose to retain a balanced structure (with each force element) and when it may choose to drop one or more elements. The issues are illustrated with the decision by the New Zealand government over whether to retain a strike aircraft capacity.

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Grimes, Arthur and James Rolfe. 2002. "Optimal Defence Structure for a Small Country," Defence and Peace Economics, 13:4, pp. 271-286.