In 2020, the Defense organization will continue to restore and modernize the armed forces. Since a budget low in 2014, the Defense organization has a little more than €3 billion to spend in 2020, when the Defense budget will total €11.035 billion.
Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten said “We are taking steps forward. To further strengthen and modernize our armed forces, we will invest in our people and we purchase new equipment. But we also still have to carry out a lot of overdue maintenance that is desperately needed. We will repair and modernize at the same time.”
Reflect on freedom
In 2020, the Ministry of Defense will again consider the liberators of 75 years ago and the soldiers who have been helping to ensure peace and security since then. With the organization of the Invictus Games in May 2020, the Defense organization is paying extra attention to the sacrifices they made for freedom.
Threats are complex
Bijleveld-Schouten said “We find living in freedom quite normal. Almost too normal. But we must not forget that the security environment has become more unstable in recent years. Geopolitical relationships are changing. The US and Russia have denounced the INF nuclear weapons treaty. Threats have become more unpredictable and complex. This leads to a greater requirements for Defense, both at home and abroad."
Under the NATO standard
The NATO alliance remains the cornerstone of the security of the Netherlands. It has been agreed within NATO that all countries will spend 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on Defense by 2024. In the Netherlands, the counter is currently at 1.35% and the percentage is expected to be about the same in 2024. So, the Netherlands is not there yet. Bijleveld-Schouten said that “Further investments in security is needed, because we also want to live in freedom for the next 75 years."
Personnel and collaboration
Defense will invest in its people in 2020, because without them there are no armed forces. The emphasis is on the further modernization of the wage structure and further steps towards a safe Defense organization. State Secretary for Defense Barbara Visser said “The organization has a structural shortage of employees and will continue its efforts in 2020 to recruit and retain personnel. Where necessary, we will collaborate with other organizations or companies. "
Extra F-35s and maintenance of frigates
In 2020, the Defense organization will purchase new equipment and modernize old equipment. A further nine additional F-35 fighter aircraft will be purchased in addition to the 37 that have already been ordered.
And major maintenance is being carried out on 4 air defense and command frigates, which will get the latest radars and sensors. Investments are also being made in support and deployability of Special Operations forces.
Replenishment of ammunition stocks
In addition, the Ministry of Defense will take the necessary steps next year to introduce a new IT infrastructure, to replace medium-duty landing craft and the PC-7 training aircraft, and to modernize the NH90 helicopters. Ammunition stocks are also being replenished.
At the same time, the Ministry of Defense is working on repairing overdue maintenance of 11,000 buildings, among other things. Visser said “We thereby tackle the backlogs of buildings and kitchens with priority. We do not want the safety and health of staff to be compromised."