The Intelligence and Assessments Directorate provides impartial and independent all source assessments relevant to national security to decision makers. It leads best practice tradecraft on assessments and ensures the coordinated implementation of the government’s intelligence priorities.
This directorate contains the National Assessments Bureau, New Zealand’s primary intelligence assessment agency, and the Intelligence Coordination Unit.
The Director of Intelligence and Assessments (acting) is Anthony Smith.
A crucial part of any country's national security system is its ability to make sense of the global environment.
Intelligence assessment helps to do this. Since 1975, New Zealand has had a primary all source intelligence assessments agency, now called the National Assessments Bureau (NAB).
NAB does not collect intelligence, nor does it provide policy recommendations. Its role is to provide independent and impartial assessments on events and developments relevant to New Zealand's national security and international relations. These assessments inform government decision making.
NAB staff scrutinise, analyse, and provide context to information from a wide range of public, diplomatic, and intelligence sources. The last includes material from international partners.
NAB has approximately 30 analytical staff with regional or topic-based expertise.
The provision of intelligence assessments relevant to the Intelligence and Security Act 2017 is carried out by the Director of NAB.
The Director of NAB also chairs the National Intelligence Coordination Committee. The Committee coordinates the effort of government agencies in meeting New Zealand’s intelligence priorities.
What is an intelligence assessment?
An NAB assessment is a written or oral report that provides analysis on events or developments that are relevant to New Zealand’s national security and international relations. It may be short and situational or long-term and strategic.
For example, in developing an assessment on a sudden crisis between countries or the capabilities of a terrorist network, an analyst will rely on publicly available information such as news media and academic writings, as well as official information such as diplomatic reporting and secret intelligence from New Zealand or abroad.
NAB assessments are provided to the Prime Minister and Ministers, as well as government departments and agencies, including New Zealand's diplomatic posts overseas.
Other agencies that provide assessment in defined areas include:
- Combined Threat Assessment Group within NZSIS
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
- Ministry for Primary Industries
- New Zealand Defence Intelligence, within the New Zealand Defence Force
- New Zealand Customs Service
- New Zealand Police
NAB’s history dates back to 1949 when, under a different name and with different functions, it was part of New Zealand’s military:
1949 - Joint Intelligence Organisation (JIO)
1953 - Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB)
1975 - External Intelligence Bureau (EIB)
1988 - External Assessments Bureau (EAB)
2010 - National Assessments Bureau (NAB)
Over time NAB has evolved into a fully civilian agency, and since 1990 has been part of DPMC.
In March 2010, the External Assessments Bureau became NAB reflecting its domestic and external mandate. In addition to its core assessment function, picked up its role of coordinating intelligence assessment and promoting standards of intelligence analysis across the New Zealand Government.