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National Security Systems

The National Security Systems Directorate leads, coordinates and supports our national security system activities that deliver a secure and resilient New Zealand.

The National Security Systems Directorate (NSSD):

  • Provides stewardship to New Zealand’s national security architecture,
  • Promotes collaboration in pursuit of national security imperatives,
  • Coordinates the system response to events or emergencies of national security significance, by convening the Officials’ Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC) and/or Watch Groups to coordinate agencies’ activities during crisis response and to consider emerging risks, and
  • Supports agencies to coordinate their efforts to enhance New Zealand’s national security (eg, providing advice about appropriate security arrangements for major events).

A key role for the Directorate is to be the secretariat for the two governance boards (the Security and Intelligence Board and the Hazard Risk Board). These boards are responsible for strategic governance of national security risks across government and their related agency work programmes.  

The Directorate is constantly alert to current events that may require a national security response, and formally "activates" the National Security System as needed. In times of crisis, the National Security Systems Directorate provides support to the Prime Minister and Chairs of ODESC and Watch Groups to enable them to take well-informed and timely decisions. The Directorate also ensures that the right agencies are represented at meetings, and follow through on decisions and action points.

Outside times of crisis the team engages with government agencies, local authorities and other relevant groups to ensure there is clarity around roles and responsibilities within the National Security System.

The Directorate was previously responsible for the interagency National Exercise Programme. The National Exercise Programme builds capability across government through a coordinated series of interagency readiness activities, measured against a set of national objectives. The programme is now chaired by the National Emergency Management Agency.

The Director of the National Security Systems Directorate is Marika Hughes.

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 12 October 2021

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