Defense Memorandum 2022: Stronger Netherlands, Safer Europe | news

News feature | 01-06-2022 | 11:00

The defense will take big steps to make the Netherlands stronger, Europe safer and NATO more powerful. Defense Memorandum 2022, presented today, explains how. E.g:

  • Stocks of ammunition, fuel and equipment are increasing.
  • Improve working conditions for staff.
  • Fire power on land, at sea and in the air is increasing. This includes armored howitzers and long-range missiles for frigates and submarines.
  • A battalion of 11 Airmobile Brigade is transformed into a support unit for special operations forces. A helicopter unit is also being set up for these elite units.
  • There will be 6 extra F-35s. The entire fleet gets more modern weapons.
  • The number of unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (MQ-9 Reaper) doubles to 8. And they are armed.
  • A military police squadron will be set up to perform military police tasks under war conditions.

Investment, innovation and maintenance are necessary for the armed forces of the future. With this, we are building a stronger Netherlands, a safer Europe, and we are investing in a powerful NATO and the EU. And we protect our freedom, security and prosperity. This is the starting point for the defense note 2022, which Minister Kajsa Ollongren and State Secretary Christophe van der Maat sent to the House of Representatives today.

Ollongren: “This cabinet is investing 5 billion extra in defense. The largest investment since the Cold War. The threats in the world and the war in Ukraine show that peace and security can not be taken for granted. With the defense memorandum, we build a flexible and future-proof defense. to invest in our people, support, equipment and cooperation. ”

“Many allies are also increasing their defense budgets. Together we must invest smarter. Strengthened cooperation will make the Netherlands stronger and Europe safer. This allows European countries to take greater responsibility for their own security. Many allies are also increasing their defense budgets. Together we must “We want to do this with the plans from the defense memorandum together with our people and partners. In this way, the Armed Forces can protect what is dear to us.”

The defense must be there when necessary to defend Dutch and European security interests. This requires investment in a strong and trained defense, in personnel and equipment. It is not only about catching up with large arrears, but also about modernizing, renewing and strengthening purposefully and therefore being future-proof. The Netherlands must be able to make an important international contribution to common deterrence, up to the highest part of the spectrum of violence.


The defense has more money to spend during this reign. The government will add a total of 14.8 billion euros to the defense budget in the years 2022 to 2025. In this way, the Netherlands will meet the NATO standard of 2% of gross domestic product in 2024 and 2025. From 2026, the budget will grow structurally by € 5 billion. A huge investment of about 40% of our current structural budget. Of course, there are still choices to be made.

The operational readiness and deployability is increased, the fighting force is strengthened in a targeted manner and the flexibility of the organization is increased. These are the effects that are central to the Defense Memorandum 2022. Furthermore, work is being done to increase international cooperation and strengthen the specialties.

In addition, the defense capacity is strengthened with the purchase of 6 extra F35s, 4 extra MQ9 Reapers and, for example, long-range missiles for the frigates and submarines. Defense against enemy missile systems is also strengthened by investing in Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD).

Investment in staff

Staff is the heart of the defense. It requires better working conditions for staff. Not only to be able to recruit people, but also to retain them. Equally important is the improvement of working conditions for our people. Work with the best gear and a lot of practice, where lack of spare parts, transport and ammunition do not constantly play a trick. Education and investment are a necessity to increase efficiency and grow into a healthy, modern organization prepared for its tasks.

State Secretary Van der Maat: “The building of the armed forces of the future starts with our people, such as our professional soldiers, civilians and reservists. To that end, we invest in good employment, education and a safe working environment. With a creative and flexible recruitment model and good “We will work with business and security partners to implement these plans from the defense memorandum.”

A new human resource model will be introduced between now and 2025. The purpose of this is to make better use of the individual employees’ talents and offer more opportunities for adaptation and personal development. Several perspectives are also offered for the next steps in the career inside and outside the Ministry of Defense. In consultation with employers and partners, the organization will improve the deployment of reservists to better ensure deployment when needed.

Several F-35s and MQ-9 Reapers

The Air Force’s F-35 fleet is expanded from 46 to 52 fighter jets and is equipped with modern long-range and precision weapons. In addition, the number of 4 MQ-9 Reapers increases to 8. The unmanned aircraft are also armed. The Cougar transport helicopters will eventually be replaced by ‘Medium Utility Helicopters’, which can support special operations on land and at sea. The 4 C-130 transport aircraft provide space for 5 new transport aircraft.

Modern navy

The Navy’s frigates and submarines get new modern armaments. These systems must provide protection against the threat of ballistic missiles. The Marine Corps also gets new armaments. These are modern fire support equipment, tactical air defense weapons and unmanned systems.

More flexible army

The Army is aiming for more speed and flexibility. Units that have their own specialties such as mechanized or motorized become more independent as logistics and combat support are strengthened. In addition, everything that runs or rolls is being or is being modernized. The fire support is increased by returning more armored howitzers to service. This increases the readiness of the land troops and, above all, the deployability.

The Army reinforces Special Operations Forces (SOF) in a new Rapid Reaction Command. The Corps Commando Troop and the 11th Airmobile Brigade are integrated into this. The Air Force also continues to focus on SOF. There will be a squadron of specifically selected and trained personnel and sufficient equipment such as specific helicopters to be able to act quickly and integrate with other SOF components.

Expansion of Marechaussee tasks

The Marechausseen must be better able to handle police tasks under war conditions. For this purpose, a squadron is created that specializes in military police tasks within the highest spectrum of violence. This involves, for example, the investigation of alleged war crimes in enemy territory.

More European cooperation

Europe must be able to take more responsibility for its own security. European and international cooperation is necessary to guarantee our security. By jointly purchasing and maintaining new capabilities, the Defense Organization can cooperate better with international partners and buy smarter.

The existing collaboration will also be deepened. The army will work even more closely with German colleagues. These are, for example, joint reinforcement and the use of fire support and other capacities. But the further digitization of basic units will also play a major role in the coming years.

The other parts also strengthen international ties. In the Caribbean, for example, the navy operates with the Americans, and there is intensive cooperation in various areas with Great Britain, Belgium and Germany. A binational maritime center is also being set up with Belgium, which can operate 24/7.

The Air Force is also already working intensively with the Belgians. Consider, for example, the monitoring of Benelux airspace. In addition, the Netherlands is part of the F-35 partnership with European users and the United States. These countries work together in places of education and training. The Marechaussee has been involved in the surveillance of Schengen’s external borders for many years. This is done through the European Border Guard Agency Frontex.

New threats and technology

One of the rapidly rising threats that the Netherlands is facing is the air and missile threat. Innovations and weapon systems in this field follow each other at a furious pace. The Armed Forces therefore strengthens the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) on land, at sea and in the air. For example, an integrated system is being developed to connect fighter jets, radar systems, air command and control and space capacity to frigates, submarines and ground-based air defense systems. This improves not only the protection of the Netherlands, but also the territory of NATO.

Another growing threat is cyber. In order to cope with the ever-growing cyber threats, the Armed Forces will continue to invest in digital strength in the coming years. The defense wants more highly qualified specialists. They are of indispensable added value to the Defense Cyber ​​Command in any military operation.

Between life and death

The Armed Forces will act even more information-driven and therefore improve the quality of the information. Good information is crucial in this regard. These can make the difference between life and death for soldiers in the field. In the coming years, the government will invest in using new technology to further strengthen the Dutch and Allied intelligence position.

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