Substantiating the Defence Strategic Challenges

November 18th 2019 - 00:00

The three main tasks for Defence can be found in the Constitution, Article 97, which states that a defence force exists to defend the Kingdom and the territory of the alliances (NATO and EU), to maintain and promote the international rule of law and to support the government in upkeeping the law, fighting disasters and delivering humanitarian support. Another way to look at these tasks is in the terms of so-called Strategic Challenges that the Netherlands Armed Forces want to achieve: “to Remain Safe, to Foster Security and to Secure Connections”. In this recent report more background and insights to this approach can be found.

Applying the lens of the Strategic Challenges to look at the security environment and the role of the Netherlands therein, has consequences for the types of missions and tasks the Armed Forces must be capable of, and thus for the (future) military capability portfolio. The objective of this Study is to add (1) future-oriented elements to further substantiate the narrative for each of the Strategic Challenges; and thereby (2) to link (the dynamics within) the Strategic Challenges to (future) missions for the Armed Forces and associated defence capability portfolio choices. These results can be used within the context of the next Defence White Paper (presumably labelled as a ‘vision’ with a 10-15-year time horizon), scheduled for publication in the first half of 2020.

Frank Bekkers is Director of the Security 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. His current position at HCSS combines shaping HCSS’s portfolio concerning defense and security-related projects with hands-on participation in a number of key projects.
Hans van der Louw is a retired Major General with extensive knowledge of and experience in defense and security matters, international affairs and diplomacy, as well as Joint and Army operations. From 2005 to 2009, he was the Army Attaché and Assistent Defense Attaché at the Netherlands Embassy in Washington DC. In this period he also followed the Distance Education Program at the US Army War College, obtaining a Master of Strategic Studies. Following his promotion to Brigadier General, he commanded 43 Mechanized Brigade, and then, as a Major General, he served as Chief Military Household (i.e. the Military Advisor) to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. In this capacity, he was also responsible for all strategic-level security arrangements for the Royal Family and Royal Household.
Patrick Bolder is an officer in the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Since January 2019 he is seconded to The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. His expertise lies in all Defence matters, with a focus on Military Space, Unmanned systems, European Defence issues and Nuclear Policy.
Bianca Torossian is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. Her studies at The University of Sydney, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Leiden University (The Hague), earned her a Bachelor degree in political science, political economy and sociology, and a Master degree in political science and international organization. For her Master Thesis, Bianca analyzed how the institutional legitimacy of the European Union was impacted by Brexit, and hopes later to reopen this line of research and explore how the nationalistic tendencies of states effect the social legitimacy of multilateral institutions. At HCSS, Bianca primarily focusses on security and diplomacy. A specific area of interest is the field of technology and AI in defense contexts, which ties into a HCSS research project that critically analyzes the challenges and opportunities posed by robotic and autonomous systems in the military. She contributes to a range projects commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.