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Military of Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Service branches Koninklijke Landmacht
Koninklijke Marine,
Koninklijke Luchtmacht
Koninklijke Marechaussee
Leadership
Minister of Defence Eimert van Middelkoop
State Secretary of Defence Jack de Vries
Chief of Defence General Peter van Uhm
Manpower
Military age 17 [1]
Available for
military service
3,557,918, age 15–49 (2005 est.)
Fit for
military service
2,856,691, age 15–49  (2005 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
123,584 (2005 est.)
Active personnel 61,130 (77th)
Expenditures
Budget €8.525.000.000 (11.2 billion USD) (2009)
Percent of GDP 1.65% (2009)

The military of the Netherlands is composed of four branches, all of which carry the prefix Koninklijke (Royal):

Conscription in the Netherlands was suspended in the year 1996. All military specialities, except for the submarine service and the Marine Corps, are open to female recruits. The Korps Commandotroepen, the Special Operations Force of the Netherlands Army, is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical demands for initial training, it is found impossible for women to become a commando. The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs 68,000 personnel, including both civilian and military personnel.

Within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, there are small local armed forces on the islands of Aruba (Arumil) and Curaçao (Antmil). These operate under the auspices of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

The military ranks of the Dutch armed forces have similarities with British and U.S. military ranks.

Contents

Unionized Military

Unlike many military organizations, Dutch military members are represented by a union. This union is the General Federation Military Personnel (the acronym is AFMP) was recognized by the Dutch government in 1966 and represents both current and retired military personnel. The AFMP is a member of the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions, FNV.

Budget rise

The budget for the military in 2007 was €7.7 billion. Several political parties have suggested raising the military expenditure so that it is closer to the NATO standard for military expenditures, which is 2.0% of the GDP. For 2008 there is a budget increase of around €500 million, bringing the budget in 2008 to €8.2 billion. With the agreement to stay in Afghanistan until 2010, another €850 million will be added to the budget over the next years, to compete with the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan. The budget for 2009 is now around €8.5 billion.

Contemporary campaigns

Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s have been deployed on operations over Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan

Since the 1990s, the Dutch military has been involved in four major military campaigns:

Afghanistan

The Netherlands announced in December 2007 that it will begin withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, which are mainly in Uruzgan Province, in July 2010. "I do not have assurances that other countries will be ready to replace Netherlands troops, but I am certain that Dutch troops will leave in 2010," Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said. "I indicated that in writing ... to the NATO secretary general, who has confirmed it."[2] In January 2009, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende reiterated that the 1,600 Dutch troops in Afghanistan would end their mission in 2010, saying "We will stop in Uruzgan in 2010." He ruled out the possibility of the Netherlands keeping its troops in Afghanistan past 2010 with any force comparable to its current deployment [3]. In December 2009, reacting to three requests received from the side of the US by Vice President Biden, the special American representative to Afghanistan Holbrooke and Secretary of State Clinton, and also a request by Secretary General of NATO Rasmussen, the Dutch government announced that the final decision on the continuation of the mission in Uruzgan would be on its agenda in March 2010. Two ministers from the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), Koenders (Development Aid) and Bos (Finance and Vice PM) in the meantime pleaded termination, which is also the opinion of the majority of the Dutch parliament [4][5][6][7].

On December 10, 2009, the Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf reported that the government was exploring areas elsewhere in Afghanistan to set up a new mission. The northern province of Kunduz was mentioned, where at the moment German and Belgian troops were deployed. On December 9, allegedly PM Balkenende (CDA), the vice-PM's Bos (PvdA) and Rouvoet (ChristenUnie) and the three involved ministers Verhagen (CDA, Foreign Affairs), Van Middelkoop (ChristenUnie, Defense) and Koenders (PvdA, (Development Aid) secretly discussed the future Dutch engagement in Afghanistan, together with Commander of the Forces general Van Uhm[8][9].
In early February 2010, a disagreement between the PvdA one the one hand and CDA and ChristenUnie on the other about a request from NATO for a renewed Dutch commitment in Afghanistan came to a head. CDA and ChristenUnie wanted the freedom to consider this request, whereas PvdA and a majority of the parties in the Dutch parliament were opposed to any consideration of further Dutch involvement in Afghanistan. On February 20, the PvdA resigned from the government, leading to a collapse of the Dutch government. As a result, the NATO request cannot be considered and Dutch troops will withdraw later in 2010 according to the schedule agreed in 2007.[10]

References

External links


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