The National Assessments Bureau (NAB) is part of the Intelligence and Assessment directorate within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). NAB’s function is to provide assessments to assist decision makers on events and developments relevant to New Zealand’s national security and international relations. It works closely with customers to help interpret and summarise information from public, diplomatic and intelligence sources.
The current Director of NAB is Cecile Hillyer.
NAB is not a policy agency and is required to provide independent and impartial assessments. The Director of NAB is accountable to the Deputy Chief Executive Security and Intelligence, of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), for the Bureau’s day-to-day operations, but is directly accountable to the Prime Minister for the content and quality of its assessments.
The Director of NAB chairs the National Assessments Committee (NAC), an inter-agency committee responsible for coordinating the overall effort of Government agencies in meeting the National Intelligence Priorities and ensuring assessment requirements are met. The NAC is a sub-committee of the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC), the committee of chief executives and other senior officials that oversees New Zealand’s security and intelligence community on behalf of ministers.
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 and, in addition to its core assessment function, picked up its role of co-ordinating intelligence assessment and promoting standards of intelligence analysis across the New Zealand Government.