Netherlands government approves NATO national plan

NATO national plan
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 | Credit: Netherlands MoD

The Netherlands government has 14 December approved the national plan on the NATO Defence Investment Pledge. This plan includes the government commitment to designate additional funds from the national budget next spring. As part of this commitment, the government intends to increase defence spending.

National plan

It is for these reasons that at the July 2018 NATO summit, government leaders and heads of state agreed to announce by the end of 2018 their plans on how to increase their defence spending up to 2024. With the publication of this national plan, the Netherlands is complying with this agreement. NATO allies had already agreed in 2014 to increase their defence spending over a 10year period to achieve the NATO norm of 2% of GDP.

“With this plan, the government has sent a clear signal that it is taking current threats seriously. The government is announcing its commitment to invest in Defence. This is not without obligation, as it is important for the Netherlands to take steps to remain a reliable ally.” – Netherlands Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld-Schouten

5 priorities

In the plan, the government has set out its intention to invest in 5 prioritised targets: additional F-35 combat aircraft, increase of firepower on land and at sea, and reinforcement of special operations forces and of the cyber and information domains. These priorities will help to ensure that the Netherlands armed forces can respond more rapidly, operate more robustly and sustain operations for longer periods of time. The guiding principle in this prioritisation is that every euro allocated to defence spending in the Netherlands should benefit the striking power of NATO and the EU. Investment in these priorities will also offset current NATO and EU shortfalls.

Additional follow-up steps: personnel

The 5 priorities set out in the national plan are only part of the NATO capability targets the Netherlands needs to meet. The Netherlands armed forces still have considerable strides to make, and follow-up steps are required. These steps will be included in the review of the Defence White Paper in 2020. This review will transcend the question of how to meet the additional NATO capability target, and will include matters such as personnel, operational management, national security and knowledge and innovation.

“Trust in the organisation must be restored. Not only to retain our current personnel, but also with a view to recruiting sufficient new personnel. This will take more than just procuring more equipment. We are well aware of that. This plan, however, was drawn up for the purpose of presenting our allies with an overview of how we intend to meet the NATO capability targets.” – Netherlands Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld-Schouten

Source: Netherlands Ministry of Defence 

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