7.1 Security, Defence, Armed Forces: The Consequences

Strategic analysis, security policy, defence policy, the armed forces: that was the sequence followed in this book. The same sequence should be followed for the purpose of policy analysis. On the basis of a strategic analysis of the altered security environment, this book has considered what defence policy is required now and in the near future and where the armed forces need to be strengthened. The emphasis was on where the focus needs to be tightened and how additional investment should be used. The precise choices and priorities that should be formulated in that process must be determined in the political debate. It is of the utmost importance to conduct that debate. Security policy and defence policy depend on it. This final chapter makes a number of recommendations on how to make the necessary improvements and to create a more strategic foundation for the thinking of politicians and policymakers on security and defence. The book concludes with a discussion of the following points:

  • the consequences of ‘security in an interconnected world’, with an evaluation of the background to the current security and defence policies and suggestions for the course to be followed in improving policy (Sect. 7.2);

  • the conclusions and recommendations (Sect. 7.3).

7.2 Security in an Interconnected World

7.2.1 Freedom, Security and Sovereignty

Defence, the protection of the country, is a core task of the sovereign state. National sovereignty ultimately means that the organs of the state freely decide on the shape of the society and on the relations with other states for – and in a democratic state genuinely on behalf of – the inhabitants of that state. States are not only entitled, but have an obligation towards their population to defend that sovereignty against internal and external threats, alone or in an alliance with other states. Defence is therefore at the service of the collective security and political freedom of Dutch society against external threats. The Charter of the United Nation’s recognises that states have the right to defend themselves individually or collectively against armed aggression.Footnote 1 However, every state is obliged to prevent such situations from arising. The international legal order contains rules for peaceful cooperation between states and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The international legal order provides the frameworks for cooperation between states through treaties and international or supranational organisations.

The sovereignty of states has formed the basis of the international legal order for centuries. That has not changed. What has changed is that it is no longer the sovereign that is seen as having the primary interest in the protection of freedom, but the society as a whole. Sovereignty now implies responsibility − internally for the security and the living conditions of citizens, and externally for peaceful relations with other states.Footnote 2 ‘National security’ is no longer seen as separate from, but as the prerequisite for the security of individuals and the society.

The realisation that preventing conflicts starts with the internal relationships only arose when repressive, contemptuous regimes unleashed the Second World War. The us President Franklin D. Roosevelt clearly formulated that insight in 1941, even before the US became directly involved in the war, in a speech in which he articulated the ‘Four Freedoms’: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Oppressors who violate those fundamental freedoms threaten their own people and international peace. For that reason, since the Second World War the un and organisations like the Council of Europe have focused on fortifying human rights, living conditions and democratic freedoms. Many past and present international conflicts have arisen from internal conflicts and civil wars. Syria, as well as numerous acts of international terrorism, are dramatic examples of that. International security also starts with avoiding tensions, for example by creating a peaceful climate within national societies by preventing groups from being set against one another.

On the other hand, the freedom and security of states in relation to each other is one of the conditions for freedom and security within states: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” The two conventions in which the United Nations has laid down the protection of human rights both open with this contemporary definition of national sovereignty.Footnote 3 However much one tries to contain the methods of warfare, time and again the civilian population suffers, perhaps even more severely each time. After a conflict, it can take a generation or longer for the scars in the relations between peoples and ethnic groups to heal.Footnote 4

7.2.2 The Facets of the Current Security Environment

Today, in 2017, it is perfectly clear how tightly the personal and collective freedom and security of the inhabitants of our state are entwined with international security. Crime, accidents and disasters create insecurity, but people regard terrorist violence as a far more serious threat to their security. Just as, in fact, the governments of totalitarian states threaten the liberty and security of their citizens. eu member states and nato allies bordering on conflict zones face military threats, a risk that also cannot be ignored for the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. In one way or another, every threat to the security of the countries of the Kingdom arises from situations in which the ‘four freedoms’ are being seriously impaired and sovereignty is regarded as a licence to act arbitrarily. It is therefore essential that security strategies as recommended in this book are permanently backed up and reappraised with thorough analyses of the environment.

The research described in this book confirms that security, seen from the perspective of the individual, of a state or of a society as a whole and from the perspective of inter-state relations, is interconnected. That applies first and foremost for the concept of human security, which has acquired a wide meaning in the thinking about development issues. It encompasses not only an individual’s personal situation, but also the extent to which people can have faith in the government services and social conditions that are vital to them. The relevance of the ‘four freedoms’ is also apparent here. Human security is a subject that should ideally be studied in a multidisciplinary context: anthropological, geographic, psychological and legal, as well as the theory of international relations,Footnote 5 but also from the perspective of socio-economic conditions.

The term ‘national security’ is sometimes used in the sense of state security (the security of the most important institutions of the state; in other words, the domain of intelligence and security services), but more often the security of the nation state as a whole in the international context. External and internal threats to national security encompass not just disruption of the conditions under which people wish to live their lives, but also of the connections that people depend on. The unimpeded import and export of food, raw materials and other goods must be possible along connecting routes; the same applies for essential data traffic, which can be disrupted both physically (for example, by destroying maritime cables) and electronically (by online manipulation known as cyber warfare). All of these threats are covered by the term flow security.

To properly understand the issues facing contemporary security policy, it is useful to assess developments through the prismatic lens of these three facets – human security, national security and flow security. In that way, one avoids focusing solely on the current well-being of the country’s own population in formulating strategies: at first glance that well-being seems to be best served by lower government spending on defence and development cooperation, while the basic conditions of that well-being might be threatened by international conflicts, which in fact call for international action, including becoming better equipped to protect the territorial integrity of the states belonging to the North Atlantic alliance and the eu. These facets also indicate that security policy is not just defence policy, but also affects foreign policy in a wider sense and, in this case, development cooperation in particular.

A prismatic consideration of international threats helps to prevent geopolitical security imaginaries from narrowing the analysis (as the reaction has been in recent years).Footnote 6 After all, what is happening on the other side of the alliances’ external borders has an impact on the situation here, for example when refugees seek refuge in Western Europe. That is one of the consequences of the instability and fragility of states (fragility that can result in what are known as failing states). The consequences of that are not necessarily ‘official’ wars, but can also include actions by paramilitary groups, hackers and terrorists. All these manifestations of conflicts particularly affect the transport routes, trade flows and tourism that are vital to the Netherlands and its partners.

This prismatic analysis implies that the defence of the freedom and sovereignty of our state can no longer be broken down into internal and external. Nor can the defence of that freedom and sovereignty still be separated from those of other countries: alliances of free democratic states form the backbone of the international legal order. Dutch security strategies can no longer be drawn on a map, but can only be visualised in networks with geographic anchor points.

7.2.3 Security Policy as a Facet of General Government Policy

Dutch security policy can only be more effective if it responds to the international interconnectedness of our security environment. The Netherlands’ security policy must therefore be part of North Atlantic and European security policy – in a manner appropriate to us and which reflects our own strengths and possibilities – or an overseas Caribbean security policy to be implemented in association with other states.

The perspectives outlined in this book and the recommendations it makes for improving the procedures and substance of security policy are based on insights into the origins of the current situation. They include the realisation that the most radical developments in the last quarter of a century were not anticipated. In 2002, a group of prominent researchers published a volume entitled Internationale Politik im 21. Jahrhundert,Footnote 7 containing chapters on all the relevant themes, such as global governance, humanitarian interventions, the eu, Russia and China. Only a small number of the expectations they expressed have actually come about.

The complex unpredictability of international relations is further magnified by a development that was not yet discussed in the review in the preceding chapters, namely climate change. The consequences of climate change could cause far greater migration streams, for example from the Nile Delta and the coastal area of Bangladesh,Footnote 8 than those from the semi-devastated Syria. There are also many other potential consequences, for example in terms of food security. This means that security policy can only be tailored to specific, known hazards to a limited extent. The recommendations made in this book are based on the assumption that Dutch security policy will have to be geared to European and nato policies. That is not just a question of following them, but also contributing insights and complementary national policies, for example aimed at creating greater stability in other countries.

The three distinct facets of a prismatic analysis of developments identified in this book – human security, national security and flow security – can also be applied to the recommendations. What is clear is that the instability of the system of international relations arises from its multipolarity and the complexity of the relationships. Threats to flow security in the seas to the east of the Horn of Africa are fostered by the abject situation of the local population in terms of human security. It is, for example, a traditional task of the defence forces to protect Dutch vessels, while preventive policy would focus on improving the socio-economic situation in the region.

However, a security strategy calls for more than confirmation of what is already being done or could have been done. Capacity geared solely to the known risks will prove inadequate when unforeseen threats appear. For that reason alone, this book recommends rapidly raising the defence budget, but also the budgets for diplomacy and development cooperation, to bring them into line with the internationally accepted benchmarks. The un’s Sustainable Development Goals have a very wide scope; they could be placed under the proposed prismatic lens in order to determine how they could be relevant for reducing international tensions.Footnote 9

A new security strategy will have to identify as clearly as possible which points in the international networks that are relevant to the Kingdom of the Netherlands belong to vital relationships. They could be situated in the Netherlands (for example, the landing points of transcontinental cables) or on transport routes, such as the seas around the Horn of Africa. They could also be countries of origin where internal tensions can be eased with peacekeeping missions and through social and economic development. For regions where the European Union and the Russian Federation and the European Union and the Arab countries are close neighbours, a neighbourhood policy that serves common interests should be developed.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands will have to coordinate the spending of defence funds with nato allies and other eu member states. However, it is both sensible and legitimate to specify national preferences that match the country’s own interests and capabilities. As a ‘seafaring nation’, the Netherlands could emphasise the strengthening of its navy, and in the process simultaneously provide an impulse for the maritime sector, including training for the merchant marine. The Netherlands’ experience with missions in support of the police and judicial institutions and the demands of European border control are a valid reason to provide extra resources to strengthen the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee. The same applies for operations in the Caribbean region and for deployment in connection with flow security and the protection of vital infrastructure and hubs that are situated on the coast or at sea.

Together with six other nato member states, the Netherlands has established the Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence in The Hague. The centre develops methods and provides training for civil-military cooperation in conflict situations, to protect cultural heritage and ecosystems, to strengthen the rule of law and to combat cyber crime and cyber terrorism. Strengthening this specialisation would reflect the observation that human security, national security and flow security are interconnected.

7.2.4 Monitoring, Understanding, Anticipating, Acting and Evaluating

This book recommends formulating an integrated security strategy that embraces internal and external security to the extent that they are intrinsically interconnected. It would not cover ‘ordinary’ crime, but should extend to combating international terrorism and cyber attacks by other states, since they represent attempts by organisations like Da’esh or by other states to disrupt Dutch society. A strategy will have to be constantly reappraised, which requires the capacity to monitor and understand developments and to tailor actions accordingly. A National Security Council at ministerial level should not only be provided with analyses by the intelligence and security services, but also have the support of academic research into international relations and political systems; the scientific policy needs to be strengthened in these respects.

7.2.5 Security and the Future of the International Legal Order

The question that needs to be addressed is how this reappraisal of the policy on international security relates to the Kingdom of the Netherlands’ constitutional duty to promote the development of the international legal order. The international legal order does not automatically make the world a safer place.

Violent movements that pay no heed to international law, and conflicts between states that should be cooperating in the Security Council, have even made the international legal order less effective in recent years. Some states consciously undermine the legal force of judgements of the International Court of Justice and the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The instability of international relations therefore extends to the international legal order itself.

In contrast to the traditional security policy, greater account needs to be taken of the violence committed by entities other than states. Groups like Da’esh have no respect whatsoever for the norms of international humanitarian law concerning methods of warfare and the treatment of prisoners of war as laid down in treaties. The sovereignty of states over their own territory does not impede these organisations, but rather offers them an absurd form of protection. For example, it initially deterred the Netherlands from participating in international operations against Da’esh in Syria. There are many countries where terrorist activities can be prepared and weapons can be bought and the associated financial transactions can be carried out. Some of those countries are called ‘fragile’ states. The fragility of the system of international relations is encouraged by the fragility of states, a fragility that in turn undermines stability in states that previously felt secure.

However, the problem is not just with states in which the power of the government is waning or has actually disappeared. There are also states without internal controls. States like North Korea, which is developing offensive nuclear weapons, are not inhibited by internal checks and balances. Even ‘strong’ states can evoke internal and external tensions and generate violenceFootnote 10; the Russian Federation is increasingly an example of such a state. The military capacity to withstand intimidation by such states is the first step in the undoubtedly lengthy process of restoring the international legal order as the basis of mutual trust.

In that respect, finally, it is important to realise that, in one way or another, every regime and every conflict arises from and is a response to how people experience their lives. Moïsi has referred to the role played by emotions such as fear, humiliation and hope in international relations.Footnote 11 Repressive regimes are normally the product of disrupted social relations (which might explain them, but naturally can in no way justify them). Warmongers repeatedly invoke the fact that they are defending their ‘own’ people, group or religion, which they argue deserves to prevail over the enemy. The politics of peace has to take account of that. Improving living standards in the realisation that the world is held together by transnational relationships lays the basis for that, but is not enough. The resilience of free societies and the enforceability of fundamental precepts of international humanitarian law have to be strengthened at the same time.

Strengthening defence is therefore not a new form of entrenchment, but an acknowledgement of the demands that an interconnected world also impose on the Netherlands.

7.3 Conclusions and Recommendations

On the basis of the analysis in this book we arrive at three main conclusions, together with related recommendations:

  1. 1.

    The security environment in which the Netherlands finds itself has deteriorated. Organise the security policy and apparatus accordingly.

  2. 2.

    The Netherlands’ defence policy should be guided by the obligations arising from the constitution and the country’s alliances (nato, eu).

  3. 3.

    The decline in the sustainability of the armed forces and the deterioration in the security environment demand a tighter focus and additional investment.

These conclusions are explained and translated into recommendations below.

7.3.1 First Conclusion

  • The security environment in which the Netherlands finds itself has deteriorated. Organise the security policy and apparatus accordingly.

In light of the developments in recent years, there can now be no doubt that the security environment in which the Netherlands finds itself has deteriorated. The shooting down of Flight mh17 in the airspace over Ukraine and the arrival of larger numbers of refugees from Syria and other countries underline the fact that a lot of the political turbulence and the conflict zones elsewhere in the world also affect the security of our country, directly or indirectly. The period of Russian membership of the Council of Europe and its guarantees of respect for the rule of law were followed within just a few years by a growing alienation, which runs so deep that the country’s military capacity (including nuclear weapons) is once again seen as a threat. With the political transition in the us, from 2017 Europe will probably have to increasingly rely on itself to maintain a credible military capability. At the same time, however, the strength of the only recently adopted Common Foreign and Security Policy, as laid down in Title v of the Treaty on European Union, will be impaired by the departure of one of the Union’s most important member states and by the waning support for the Union’s shared values in some recently admitted member states. The prospects of stabilising or expanding Turkey’s engagement with the eu have also been seriously harmed by the development of that country’s political system into an autocracy. Instability and the impairment of fundamental legal principles in and around the continent of Europe are causing insecurity and compromising international peace. There are many fragile states in Africa and the Middle East, where unrest and conflict will have serious implications for Europe, for example in the form of migration. Furthermore, the turbulence is unlikely to abate in the foreseeable future. The eu’s capacity to act and the allied security at nato level, and hence also the capabilities and the efforts of the Netherlands in the long term, will therefore also be put to the test.

The Netherlands is vulnerable to the negative manifestations of these developments. Nationally because of the negative transnational consequences of globalisation; regionally because of the extensive economic and political interconnectedness of the eu; and globally because of the strain on the rule-based international order, from which the Netherlands has benefited so greatly in recent decades and which greatly determines its stability and prosperity.

In its report Attached to the World (2010), the wrr observed that the Netherlands needs a strategic foreign and security policy that takes account of the changing environment and its own priorities. Such a policy goes beyond formulating general intentions and orientations. The Netherlands must act more effectively at the interface of the worlds of geopolitics and networks, set clearer priorities and explore where it can make a difference amongst the numerous threats, risks and opportunities on the European and global chess board.Footnote 12 It is no longer possible to assess those threats, risks and opportunities from a complacent Dutch perspective. International peace is an indivisible, but no longer self-evident common good of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, its allies and its surroundings.

  • Recommendation 1. Strengthen the connection between internal (national) and external (international) security policy.

An important element of a security policy tailored to the altered environment is the relationship between national and international (internal and external) security. That conclusion has already been reached in numerous reports and studies, including the Clingendael Institute’s Strategic Monitor in 2014, which included a wide-ranging discussion of the relationship between internal and external security (immigration, terrorism, transnational crime and cyberspace). The conclusion was that “the interconnectedness of external and internal security is a fact. Structural cooperation between actors with responsibility for security ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Netherlands is failing to keep pace with that fact. That calls for an integrated security strategy and intensification of the cooperation between external and internal security actors”.Footnote 13 Internal security and external security are intertwined.

That plea has, if possible, become even more relevant. Furthermore, even now there is still no coherent approach in those areas where the Netherlands can really make a difference. As Chapter 5 showed, in themselves the three main tasks of defence policy remain the same. The difference is that they give rise to other and more specific challenges and the main tasks must be consistently interpreted in the context of the interconnectedness of internal and external security. That calls for a revised and more coherent strategy. The substantive coherence can be enhanced on the basis of the orientation to human security, national security and flow security.

This book recommends placing greater emphasis on the relationship between internal and external security. Specifically, that can be accomplished by strengthening the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee and making greater use of it in both contexts and reflecting the relationship between internal (national) and external (international) security at ministerial level by assigning a greater coordinating role to the prime minister.

  • Recommendation 2. Merge the two security strategies (National Security Strategy and International Security Strategy).

Despite efforts to modernise it, Dutch security policy is not geared to the changes in the security environment. Security policy is still highly compartmentalised and ‘traditional’, with internal and external security treated as separate domains. That is not a barrier to operational cooperation in specific policy areas, but there is still no question of an integrated approach. The same applies equally for other policy areas. For example, the policy towards fragile states is laid down in various policy documents and spread over three budgets. The eu plays a major role in reducing instability in Africa, but the efforts under the Common Security and Defence Policy, the external dimension of the Justice and Home Affairs policy (border control, illegal immigration and repatriation policy) and the European Neighbourhood Policy call for an integrated, coherent strategic vision document setting out how the Netherlands intends to tackle instability in Africa and its underlying causes.

Our recommendation is to merge the National Security Strategy and the International Security Strategy, while retaining the system laid down in the National Security Strategy. There is already considerable overlap between the two strategies. An important reason for integrating the two strategies is that the relationship between internal and external security will be established from the outset of the strategy-formulation process. The Netherlands’ security strategy – and the strategy for the national armed forces derived from it – must be explicitly embedded in the security strategies of the eu and nato. That does not mean simply following them. It is legitimate to incorporate insights and preferences that match the country’s own interests and capabilities in the strategy.

  • Recommendation 3. Establish a Netherlands Security Council to formulate the security strategy.

The structure for formulating the envisaged security strategy can be created by establishing a Netherlands Security Council by law pursuant to Article 79 of the Constitution.Footnote 14 The Council would be chaired by the prime minister and also include the other relevant ministers and the most senior civilian and military civil servants, as well as experts chosen for their professional authority. A cabinet sub-committee, such as the existing Council for the Intelligence and Security Services (riv), would, together with the Ministerial Security Committee (mcv), perform the important role of coordinating the sharing of information, policy and consultation between politicians and officials in the area of security. A Netherlands Security Council would also perform other supplementary functions in relation to formulating strategy. In the first place, such a Council would guarantee the alignment of domestic and foreign policy across the entire spectrum of security policy. Secondly, the Security Council would be directly linked (with the assistance of a Security Planning and Research Agency) to research institutes and the academic world to provide impulses for the strategic security policy. Thirdly, a Netherlands Security Council would be the forum that visibly reflects the relationship between internal and external security. The importance of a Netherlands Security Council is not reserved to large countries like the United States. Smaller countries like the Netherlands can also not automatically count on a fairly transparent landscape or assume that issues can be arranged decentrally, according to a careful (interdepartmental) balance of power or via individual politicians. Particularly small developed countries, which by definition face an overfull internal and external security agenda, have to excel in strategy formulation. There are no constitutional objections to establishing a Netherlands Security Council. The Netherlands Security Council would have to reflect the socialisation and expansion of the concept of security in its composition, while also embodying the relationship between internal and external security in its structure. The Netherlands Security Council would explicitly not be solely concerned with national security, but would also be oriented towards the possibilities and goals of international and eu cooperation and coordination. The Netherlands Security Council should not depend entirely on analyses by the intelligence and security services. A multidisciplinary Security Planning and Research Agency should support the strategy formulation process with a continuous supply of thorough analyses.

  • Recommendation 4. Establish a Security Planning and Research Agency to support strategy formulation by the Netherlands Security Council.

There should be a Security Planning and Research Agency to support the Netherlands Security Council and which also has its own tasks in terms of conducting research and producing regular reports, strategic analyses and scenarios. A Security Planning and Research Agency would prepare the consolidation of the two security strategies (the National Security Strategy and the International Security Strategy) and draft the new strategic document, which would be fleshed out by the Netherlands Security Council. In addition to establishing and developing its own expertise to support the Netherlands Security Council, the Security Planning and Research Agency should explicitly serve as a network model in bringing together and making maximum use of the extensive knowledge that already exists. The Security Planning and Research Agency would not be a substitute for the existing knowledge institutes, for strategy formulation within the ministries or for periodic reports such as the Security Monitor, but would supplement them. The Security Planning and Research Agency should look for connections with the knowledge agenda and the science agenda in the Netherlands and seek to engage in the public debate. It seems reasonable that the Security Planning and Research Agency would fall under the direction of the Ministry of General Affairs.

  • Recommendation 5. Invest more in the knowledge function and strategic thinking within the armed forces and elsewhere.

The Netherlands needs a clearer – and more focused – strategic vision and needs to do more in terms of vision development. Additional budgetary scope is needed to align the capabilities of the armed forces with the specified ambitions. Above all, choices will have to be made in the priorities (and the cohesion between them) in relation to the different branches of the armed forces. Investments will only be able to achieve their goals if there is a transparent, convincing and widely supported strategy in place. The strategy development process is now too often a poor relation. ‘Strategic illiteracy’,Footnote 15 ‘strategic illiteracy’ and ‘strategic dyslexia’Footnote 16 are some of the unflattering and very worrying descriptions used to describe the status of strategic thinking in the Netherlands. A long-term investment in the development of a strategic vision is therefore badly needed. Special attention should be devoted to the preventive phase and to flow, cyber, human and border security and the geopolitics of emotions.

The establishment of the Netherlands Security Council and the Security Planning and Research Agency should provide impulses by making research budgets available. Another recommendation is to expand academic research and education in these fields. The link with the National Science Agenda could provide an important boost. There should also be a heavy emphasis on interdisciplinary research that can enhance analysis and strategy formulation and improve the availability and interpretation of data.

  • Recommendation 6. Strengthen diplomacy and the policy of diplomatic missions to increase anticipatory capacity.

Crisis management and conflict prevention by improving the living conditions in fragile states is not just a question of respecting human rights and thereby promoting the international legal order (Article 90 of the Constitution). In an highly interdependent world, they are also a matter of enlightened common interest. What happens in those states has an impact on the situation here. The integrated approach to security and development must therefore be maintained, despite the not universally positive experiences with that approach in Uruzgan.

Security requires anticipation and foresight in the relevant countries and regions. Whereas until the 1990s military threats dominated the security discourse, in the last two decades development, economic and ecological issues have risen higher on the agenda and are increasingly assuming the aspect of a security policy issue. Partly in light of that, international security will have to be linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, which will also alter the geographic scale of security issues. Regional and global interrelationships and transnational issues will demand investment in development, collective security and supranational partnerships.

The Netherlands is a member of networks which it can use to increase the sensitivity for international security. The network of diplomatic missions has more than an economic function. The presence of justice, police and defence attachés should therefore also be increased, and not just in the foreign missions. Strengthening the network is only purposeful if the coherence and exchange of information is continued within the ministries themselves and the findings make their way into the strategic preparation of security policy. The Netherlands Security Council and the Security Planning and Research Agency could also play a role in this regard.

Security interests also call for extra investment in development cooperation. The role of development cooperation is crucial. The budgetary flexibility that the wrr advocated in Minder pretentie, meer ambitie [Less pretention, more ambition] (2010) should not be understood solely in a downward sense, but can also move in an upward direction. If the situation requires it, as it does now, extra investment in the armed forces (‘Defence’) should go hand in hand with the strengthening of development cooperation and trade relations (‘Development’) and international diplomacy (‘Diplomacy’) in accordance with the 3d doctrine. In light of the deteriorating security environment and the need for a coherent strategic policy, the target of spending 0.7% of gdp on development cooperation as agreed in the un should again be the guiding principle. Otherwise the ambitions for genuinely integrated and interdisciplinary strategic operations will perish.

The government should formulate further proposals for intensifying cooperation and for joint efforts to address identified European military shortfalls and to strengthen European diplomatic actions and development policy in consultation with strategic partners. This should also enhance the strategic function, the knowledge and anticipatory capacity, for the purposes of the national security strategy. The defence planning process could also be placed in an interdepartmental context in order to integrate the armed forces as effectively as possible in a comprehensive approach to security.

7.3.2 Second Conclusion

  • The Netherlands’ defence policy must be genuinely guided by the obligations arising from the constitution and the country’s alliances ( nato , eu ).

With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing détente, the need to contribute to nato was felt less keenly. The direct threat disappeared and the armed forces could work with other organisations in contributing to stability elsewhere. That view of the world has been under pressure for some time. On the one hand, on both sides of the ocean separating the nato countries there are tendencies that put national interests first and push multilateralism into the background. On the other hand, the direct threat has returned. The risk that as a result defence policy will become inward-looking is not imaginary.

But it is precisely the changed security environment, in combination with recognition of the Netherlands’ modest position and role in a hardened world, that necessitates international cooperation. The existing alliances are of fundamental value at the present time. Without these ties, the position of small countries is extremely uncertain. Both citizens and the government should respect the implicit and explicit requirements of the social contract, which include providing security. Otherwise, mutual mistrust will dominate. What applies for citizens and government, also applies between governments, or between the government and international organisations like nato and the eu.

  • Recommendation 7. Invest primarily in thenatoalliance.

nato is also the Netherlands’ most robust alliance. The role of the Netherlands in nato is laid down by treaty as provided for in the Constitution and comprises contributions to exercises and operations, investments and strategy formulation. nato is of fundamental importance to the Netherlands. The Netherlands is itself an important actor and makes a real contribution to essential operations. However, the Netherlands has failed to meet its financial obligations. This is putting a strain on mutual trust, not to mention the reduction of capabilities that it leads to. The recommendation is that the Netherlands promotes the alliance in every respect, particularly financially, by means of contributions and investments. This also means that the Netherlands must take priorities in nato planning seriously and must contribute to the elimination of identified shortfalls.

  • Recommendation 8. Invest in cooperation within Europe on the basis of the existing relationships.

The emphasis in Europe must be on cooperation in investment, the choice of materiel and operationalisation, not necessarily on the creation of a ‘European defence force’. Calls for a ‘European army’ are not only a pipedream, they also distract attention from the successful partnerships that already exist and are needed. Examples are the partnerships with Belgium, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Norway. The international cooperation also extends to the procurement and maintenance of materiel. It also involves joint deployment without any impairment of sovereignty. This promotes the efficiency and effectiveness of any deployment of the army. These connections are important and should receive greater emphasis.

Cooperation also strengthens defence capabilities. The Netherlands benefits from a close relationship with Germany as the repositioning of the German armed forces within Europe takes further shape. The existing partnerships could be strengthened by making use of permanent structured cooperation on the basis of Article 42(6) and Protocol no. 10 of the Treaty on European Union, which creates the possibility for particular member states to intensify their cooperation in military affairs. It also means that the Netherlands must make greater efforts to eliminate identified shortfalls in Europe.

The integrated approach of security and development at eu level should therefore be strengthened. In the so-called ‘belt of instability’ around the eu, where the eu and the Russian Federation and where the eu and Arab countries are close neighbours, the European Neighbourhood Policy serves common interests. The Netherlands should press for substantial investment in the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean. Initiatives such as the European Defence Action Plan (edap) should also receive more attention.

This book stresses that investments should always be accompanied by further investigation and expansion of the possibilities for national and international military cooperation. Military cooperation within nato and the eu should be the point of departure when making choices about investments. That does not mean that additional specific investments in the armed forces are not required. On the contrary. But the framework for setting priorities is cooperation and the joint performance of tasks, whether within nato or the eu. This book also recommends continuing and expanding these partnerships, even when investment increases and there is a larger budget (in other words, even if there is no immediate financial necessity).

7.3.3 Third Conclusion

  • The decline in the sustainability of the armed forces and the need for more active anticipation of security risks demand a tighter focus and additional investment.

To appreciate the importance of a strategic security policy, it is essential to understand that the concept of security and the security policy agenda have changed fundamentally twice in the last quarter of a century. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the direct military threat disappeared and the emphasis came to lie on developing rapid reaction intervention capacity, based on a narrative of preserving the status quo. This policy has been steadily losing relevance and conviction recently, as the environment in and around the European continent has proved unexpectedly turbulent. There have also been violent swings in expectations: just a few years after the rejoicing at the Arab Spring, the dominant picture is one of horrific internal wars and the unbridled violence of Da’esh. The classical nineteenth-century notion of protecting state or territorial security is still a key objective of the government’s security policy, but the threats to freedom and security have also assumed entirely different guises than that of occupation of the territory by hostile powers. In the current situation, protecting connections that are essential for society and preventing terrorist attacks, cyber attacks and other forms of aggressive disruption demand special attention.

  • Recommendation 9. Raise defence spending to 2% ofgdpin predetermined increments, adhere to thenatoguidelines for investments and draw up a long-term plan that also embraces development and diplomatic prevention.

The armed forces must also remain capable of performing their three statutory tasks (defending the territory of the Netherlands and its nato allies, promoting the international legal order and supporting the civil authorities in the Netherlands and other countries) in a changing security situation. To that end, first and foremost it is necessary to eliminate the existing constraints on their operational deployability. However, that is by no means the whole story. In light of the changed security situation, additional efforts are required in relation to all three domains, in terms of defending nato territory, preventing instability around Europe and supporting civil authorities, in particular with regard to crisis management in the context of national security. There are three steps that need to be taken.

The first step is to increase the sustainability of the armed forces in the short term. This is dependent on the recuperation of the armed forces, on the basis of which steps can be taken to further strengthen them. Earlier, in the policy document In the interest of the Netherlands (2013), the government opted for a widely deployable armed forces, which, in light of the available budgetary frameworks at the time, forced a second choice: a reduction of the sustainability of the armed forces. In light of the changed security situation, which imposes greater demands on the state of readiness and preparedness of the armed forces, the recuperation and sustainability of the armed forces deserve every attention.

The second step involves strengthening the Dutch armed forces with a view to improving the eu’s capacity to act and nato’s deterrence and defence capabilities, partly against the background of burden-sharing with the us. This is a longer-term perspective, with intensification of cooperation with strategic partners and – joint – reduction of the identified military shortfalls in Europe as the points of departure. The Dutch armed forces are in an excellent starting position in this regard, with extensive cooperation with Germany and Belgium as the basis.

The third step concerns the perspective for the Dutch armed forces in the longer term. The changed security situation and, more generally, the steadily accelerating pace of technological and social changes, call for innovations in the operational, doctrinaire, personnel and technological domains. Replacing and modernising platforms does not provide sufficient certainty of being able to keep pace with technological and operational developments over time. The complex security environment calls for the development of new systems, in close consultation with research institutes and private actors. Innovation should be a continuous process, but the long-term perspective is important. Depending on the option that is chosen, this could, for example, mean that the Netherlands primarily makes a far greater contribution to naval capacity and in conjunction with that enhances the training and economic position of the maritime sector.

Under the nato agreements on raising defence spending that were made in Wales in 2014 and endorsed in Warsaw in 2016, the government cannot avoid earmarking additional funding for defence in the coming years. The importance of that for a long-term perspective cannot be stressed enough. The absorption capacity of the armed forces brings with it the need to establish a timetable for extra investments and for creating focus. A multi-year budget provides certainty and stability for that process. The discussion does not have to lead to a final decision on whether or not a multi-year budget should coincide with a government period (in other words, either 4 years or 5 or 6 years, for example). But from the time the new government takes office, the target of 2% will have to be reached in 2024, 10 years after the agreements in Wales (2014), in predetermined increments.

Security policy extends beyond defence policy alone. Budget increases to make the improvements should therefore not only go to defence policy, but also include targeted investments in foreign policy, and development cooperation in particular.

  • Recommendation 10. Improve the coherence of policy towards the new (hybrid) challenges in relation to border security, cyber security, flow security and human security.

The expansion and socialisation of the security agenda and the increased interconnectedness of internal and external security are reflected in Dutch security and defence policy. Greater attention is devoted to human security, border security, flow security and cyber security. The importance of flow security for the Netherlands must not be underestimated and policies relating to energy, climate, raw materials and the cyber domain should therefore be incorporated in security policy. The focus on crisis and stabilisation missions also contributed to the calls for an integrated approach to security and development issues. The rise of national security as an area of attention resulted in the drafting of separate strategic documents for national and international security policy, as well as specific strategies for counterterrorism and cyber security. Our recommendation is to strengthen the coherence between these domains and intensify the efforts.

  • Recommendation 11. Continue with the existing specialisation, with the addition of capabilities for cyber warfare.

For a long time the allocation of resources to the different branches of the armed forces was a routine This book’s recommendation is to significantly tighten the focus and introduce specific investments in the process. When it comes to future investments, continue the existing specialisation with partners and by branches of the armed forces, using the choices that have already been made for capital investments in the air force and the navy as the point of departure. Protecting Dutch vessels has traditionally been a task of the navy. As a seafaring trading nation, the Netherlands has a particular interest in secure shipping routes. The navy also plays an important role in providing security in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom. These interests and capabilities must not be neglected in the choice of future investments and the coordination of priorities within nato and the eu. But the deployment of the navy should not be seen in the context of a traditional division of ‘land, air and sea’ roles; the operational coherence with the air force, for example, is essential. Thinking in terms of effects and capabilities is far more important than clinging to existing divisions of roles. It will also provide the flexibility to respond to identified shortfalls at nato and eu level. Strengthening the Marechaussee is also important for missions to support the police and judiciary and European border control, as well as operations in the Caribbean region.

The capabilities in relation to cyber warfare demand a place of their own, especially in light of the escalation on the part of Russia. In 2016, nato recognised cyberspace as a fourth domain in addition to land, air and sea. That could mean, but does not necessarily have to mean, that there will have to be a separate branch of the armed forces for that domain. The most important thing, particularly in light of the interconnectedness of cyber in all of the branches, is recognition of the connection. But the subject does require extra attention and effort. The existing Defence Cyber Command, whose structure is currently based on the traditional branches of the armed forces, will have to evolve into an organisation that is prepared for far greater risks.

  • Recommendation 12. Continue the socialisation of the armed forces and strengthen the support of civil authorities and the civil-military cooperation within a balanced and transparent security culture.

Governments will be confronted more frequently with transnational (security) issues whose origin, course and consequences are difficult to oversee. In a modern democracy, this area of tension is under the microscope of the media, critical ngos and the articulate general public. At the same time, complex, highly developed and open societies are relatively vulnerable to groups and individuals that take advantage of the blurring of the boundaries between ‘internal’ and ‘external’. Furthermore, the public often has little tolerance for risks and uncertainties, precisely because of the high expectations for government intervention. A government that fails to meet those expectations with visible security measures can quickly engender feelings of fear and insecurity. But a government that does meet them – although a complete guarantee of security is of course impossible to give – can actually reinforce feelings of insecurity. The excessive politicisation of security policy in society can lead to a negative spiral of fear and mistrust, thus endangering the open society itself.

In addition to the task of averting direct threats (averting terrorist attacks, the use of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee for border control and the deployment of soldiers for security stand out) governments, international organisations and other actors in society have the task of anticipating potential and even imaginary future threats and risks, for example by taking precautionary measures. The recommendation is therefore to continue the socialisation of security policy, on the basis of an expansion of that policy, but to guard against (and provide guarantees to prevent) an all-pervasive security culture.