Military contribution to NATO

What military capabilities does the Netherlands provide to NATO?

Each year, the Netherlands makes military capabilities in the form of ships, army units and aircraft available for the ‘first main task’ of the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, namely the allied defence of the NATO treaty area. In 2022, the MoD will be contributing through actual deployment.

In addition, the Netherlands provides military capabilities to the NATO Response Force (NRF). This is NATO’s rapid response force and consists of a very rapidly deployable element, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VTJF), and elements that would deploy after the VTJF, such as the Initial Follow-On Forces Group (IFFG). The IFFG consists of units that can reinforce the VJTF. And the Follow-on Forces Group (FFG): units with no predetermined response time.

The Netherlands also contributes to the NATO Readiness Initiative (NRI), the purpose of which is to increase the NATO pool of ‘enhanced readiness’ units.

The Netherlands deploys the military capabilities for the NRF and NRI when requested to do so by NATO. This only happens when the North Atlantic Council (NAC), with the consent of member states (therefore including the Netherlands), decides to make such a request.

Below is a summary of the military capabilities that the MoD will deploy, have on standby (NRF) and have under enhanced readiness (NRI) in 2022.

This page is last updated on 10 August 2022.

Dutch NATO deployments in 2022

  • SNMG1
    The Netherlands is in command of Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG ) and is providing a joint logistic support ship to this fleet. SNMG is one of NATO’s permanent maritime response forces. Earlier this year it has been providing 1 frigate with an on-board NH90 helicopter.
  • NATO SNMCMG flotilla
    From August, a Royal Netherlands Navy minehunter will take part in Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2’s operations in and around the Mediterranean Sea for a period of 15 weeks. This NATO flotilla is one of NATO’s four permanent maritime reaction forces and focuses on mine countermeasures operations. Earlier this year, a different RNLN minehunter took part in SNMCMG1 operations in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

  • Quick Reaction Alert
  • As part of NATO air policing, the Netherlands alternates with Belgium on a quarterly basis in guarding Benelux airspace. The QRA F-16s are on standby 24/7 to intercept unidentified aircrafts.
  • Guardian Lightning
    In April and May, the Netherlands deployed 2 F-16 fighter aircraft for air policing duties.
  • Lithuania: multinational enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group
    Since February 2017, the Netherlands has been contributing approximately 250 military personnel to NATO’s enhanced military presence in Lithuania. The mandate will remain in effect until at least the end of 2024 and, from mid-2022, the Netherlands will deploy up to a maximum of 350 military personnel. The focus is on military exercises in an international context in order to stand strong together against all possible threats.
  • Romania: multinational enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group
    Since August 2022 the Netherlands deployed 200 military personnel for a 12 month period with 3 rotations. They will operate within the French led battegroup in central Romania.
  • Air Policing
    From 24 February 2022 until 31 March 2022, the Netherlands deployed fighter aircraft for air policing duties over Eastern Europe. They are currently still on standby for this task.
  • Multinational Air Missile Defence Task Force
    Dutch Patriots protect NATO-territory from April till mid October 2022.

NATO Response Force

In 2022, the Netherlands will have the following on standby:

  • 1 amphibious transport dock, including landing craft and 2 helicopters. Aboard this transport ship, the MoD will also provide medical services (a kind of field hospital at sea).
  • 1 frigate.
  • 1 submarine for the second part of 2022.
  • 1 diving team of the explosive ordnance disposal service until 1 July 2022.
  • 1 human intelligence (humint) unit and one psychological operations (psyops) unit.
  • A contribution of approximately 1,500 army personnel. This concerns:
    • The Dutch element of a German-Dutch NATO land headquarters (1GNC). Military units for a German-Dutch-Norwegian combat brigade, including a Dutch battalion task force and a German-Dutch air defence unit, the Binational Short-Range Air Defence Task Force (BSTF).

Standby for the NATO Readiness Initiative

  • 1 battalion task force of approximately 800 military personnel. This is a combat battalion that includes combat and logistics support.
  • F-35 fighter aircraft.
  • From March + response time: MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft capability (not armed).
  • 1 minehunter.