The Government will need to invest $20 billion in defence over the next 13 years, according to the latest Defence Capability Plan.
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee released the document on Wednesday saying it was the next step after the release of the Defence White Paper in June.
Steps have already been taken to begin building the nation's capabilities, Mr Brownlee says.
"Since then the Government has agreed to the procurement of an ice-strengthened naval tanker and high mobility vehicles for the Special Air Service," he said.
"It has also approved upgrades to the underwater surveillance capability of the P-3 Orion and has requested tenders for a littoral operations vessel."
More major investment is still to come, including replacing the ANZAC frigates with modern combat vessels, and replacing the C-130 and B757 aircraft fleets.
This is the third plan to be released, but the first time it has included indicative costs and time indications, between now and 2030, according to Mr Brownlee.
In a speech in Auckland on Wednesday he said New Zealand needed a Defence Force that can protect itself at home and contribute to international security.
The spending will be funded by annual increases in the Defence Force operating and capital budgets.
Mr Brownlee said spending would remain at around one percent of New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product until 2030.
The plan also includes details on recruiting and training forces, preparing for operations and a forecast of expected operations.