News item | 20-09-2022 | 17:50
With the coalition agreement, the current government has already structurally invested 3 billion euros in defense (of which 1.9 billion euros in 2023). In response to the war in Ukraine, the Cabinet added €2 billion on a structural basis last spring. The defense will use the additional investment to improve the armed forces’ operational readiness, combat power and agility for innovation and cooperation with partners the EU and NATO.
With the additional investments, the Netherlands will achieve the NATO standard of 2% in 2024-2025. In 2023, the defense budget will still be 1.66% of gross domestic product (GDP); in 2022 it will be 1.47%. The European average is also increasing, from 1.68% in 2021 to 1.94% in 2024.
With the extra budget, the Armed Forces will improve the operational readiness and deployability of the armed forces. The plans for this are contained in the Defense Memorandum 2022. The defense invests, for example, in equipment and supplies, so that units can be deployed faster, more often and for longer. Timeliness is important here, because the strengthening of the Armed Forces must take place as quickly as possible for the sake of the security situation. This can only be achieved by not lagging behind in the market and by looking for European partners to acquire equipment together. The defense is responding to this by, for example, buying accelerated munitions and F-35 fighter jets and MQ-9 Reapers (unmanned aerial vehicles). It’s not easy: weapons and ammunition are hard to come by due to increased demand and broken logistics chains during the COVID pandemic.
The recent employment agreement will significantly improve the employment conditions of defense personnel in the coming period. As with other sectors, the tight labor market remains an important point of attention for the Ministry of Defence. As a result, for example, logistics and procurement staff are few, which in turn leads to a reduced supply of goods and services.
The personnel report for the first half of 2022 shows that the total personnel capacity in the Armed Forces has grown. The number of women has increased by almost 5% and the number of reservists has also increased. It should be noted that most numbers rose in the second half of 2021 but have declined since the first half of 2022. Growth in staff capacity has stalled in the first half of 2022. It is a worrying development that inflows are falling for the first time in years, and the outflow increases. Among other reasons, the state secretary sent an overview letter to the chamber on 1 September. In this he describes how the Armed Forces will reverse the trend in the coming years by increasing the inflow and counteracting the outflow.
The armed forces will invest in an extensive real estate program over the next 15 years. Obsolete and unaffordable properties will be disposed of, the necessary more modern and sustainable ones. Improvement of real estate has a favorable effect on the Ministry of Defence’s operational readiness and flexibility. In addition, a good, modern and safe working and learning environment makes the Armed Forces a more attractive employer. In this way, the investment in real estate also supports the personnel objectives.
Modern and technologically high-quality defense equipment, powerful IT and sustainable and functional properties are indispensable for the armed forces. The Defense Projects Overview (DPO) shows more than 100 investment projects with a size of more than €25 million. In its investments, the Norwegian Armed Forces are increasing their focus on sustainability and innovation. A large number of projects have increased in scope as a result of the defense memo 2022.
This concerns, for example, the projects for the replenishment of the ammunition supply, the acquisition of combat support ships, low-load railcars, the mid-life update projects of the ground-based weapon systems Bushmaster, CV90, Armored Howitzer and Fennek, but also the expansion of the number of MQ-9s and strategic air transport. In the coming year, various demands will be presented to Parliament, such as different types of ammunition for the F-35, defense-wide replacement of small arms, expansion of CBRN capabilities, modernization of naval command facilities, procurement of different types of ammunition, replacement of the Cougar transport helicopter and MQ-9 ‘ers.
The Netherlands supports Ukraine in the war against Russia. The government does this, among other things, by supplying military goods that are already worth more than 500 million euros. The defense is financially compensated for this and the government continues to make statements to the European Peace Facility. The effects of the already provided support on the readiness of the armed forces have been assessed as acceptable by the Ministry of Defense in light of the current conditions. The Cabinet and Defense remain committed to supporting Ukraine. Accelerated cooperation in training and maintenance enables us to intensify our joint purchases. Closer cooperation with industry will allow us to increase our support to Ukraine.
Transparent about internal decision-making
In addition to the budget documents from the Ministry of Finance, the House of Representatives today also received a number of budget documents from the Armed Forces. For the first time with internal decision notes containing official advice. The Ministry of Defense actively shares this in order to be transparent to the Danish Parliament about internal decision-making. From now on, the internal decision notes will be sent together with all parliamentary documents.