Dutch military’s wishlist centers on air defence and tanks

By Mario Blokken

The Netherlands is gearing up for significant military enhancements, with top military leaders outlining key priorities for the next government. Air defence, tanks, and promoting military police forces are among the top items on their wish list. In light of escalating tensions and the resurgence of Russia's military capabilities, Chief of Defence Gen. Otto Eichelsheim emphasized the urgency of strengthening the country's combat power and support capability.


Despite the current defence budget increase to EUR 21.4 billion (USD 23.2 billion), representing 1.95% of GDP, there’s a recognized need for further investment beyond the NATO target of 2% of GDP. Eichelsheim highlighted concerns about Russia’s rapid recovery and military buildup, showing the importance of being fully prepared to counter any potential threats.



Tanks, long-range precision artillery, and air defence systems have emerged as critical requirements, especially in the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine. However, decisions regarding the allocation of additional funds for these assets rest with the next government. The Netherlands also faces challenges in replenishing its military police forces and ensuring adequate security for deployments, particularly in Eastern Europe.



The increased defence budget has provided some breathing space, but sustaining a conflict remains a challenge due to the complexity of the threat environment. Despite limitations, the Netherlands remains committed to its NATO obligations and supporting allies, albeit with a need for innovative solutions to address gaps in air defence capabilities. As discussions continue, the focus remains on deterring aggression and safeguarding national and regional security interests.



About the author:

Mario Blokken is Director of the Permanent Secretariat of the Finabel -European Army Interoperability Centre.



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