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Playing to Your Strengths: A Different Perspective on Future Capabilities for the Royal Netherlands Army

September 27th 2018 - 09:03

This report contains the results from a research project aimed at identifying new capabilities for the future Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA). Rather than sketch a full future force profile, it concentrates on promising new, or to be renewed capabilities. The results are intended to feed ongoing transformation efforts within the RNLA and inform the Army leadership in anticipation of the Defense Review 2020 [de Herijkingsnota].

In the context of the changing character of conflict on the one hand, and the burgeoning costs of traditional military platforms on the other, force providers should actively explore new capabilities for their armed forces that play to their strengths.
For small and medium sized force providers, their agility puts them in a relatively propitious position to pursue innovative concepts and capabilities, instead of trying to merely be smaller versions of the great powers’ militaries.

This report presents six themes, each suggesting a diverse set of new or to be renewed capabilities for the RNLA. 

1. Rethinking Phase Zero: Shaping the Human Domain;
2. Multi-Domain, Multi-Level Operations;
3. AI in the OODA Loop;
4. Robotic and Autonomous Systems;
5. Mosaic Warfare: Distributed and Networked Capabilities;
6. Empowering the Agents of Resilience

This report offers a concise description of each of these themes, examines relevant developments for the Army, and identifies promising and typically underexplored capabilities or lines of capability development that the RLNA can pursue in conjunction with a particular theme. This is summarized in Table 3 on page 53.

Click here to download the report. 

Frank Bekkers is Director of the Security Program. He is also theme leader of the Strategy and Change Program. He studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and spent most of his career at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), specializing in the area of Defence, Safety & Security. At TNO, he held a range of positions, including program manager, senior research scientist, group manager and account director. From 1996-1997, he worked as program manager for Call Media and Intelligent Networks for the telecom company KPN.

Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for research projects in horizon scanning, conflict analysis, international and national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. His main research interest concerns the changing character of modern day conflict.

Stephan De Spiegeleire is senior scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy.