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 (MoD), namely the allied defence of the NATO treaty area. The Netherlands MoD will be contributing through actual deployment in 2023, as it did in 2022.

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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Dutch NATO deployments in 2023

In 2023, the Netherlands will be contributing to various NATO missions and NATO operations, for example in Iraq.

For the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank, the Netherlands will provide:

  • A battlegroup in Lithuania for the enhanced forward presence.
  • A battlegroup in Romania for the enhanced forward presence.
  • A team of Dutch military personnel to support German Patriot systems in Slovakia.

For deployment and stand-by for deployment of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2023, this involves:

  • 2 battalions plus combat and logistic support (approx. 3,000 personnel);
  • A frigate (for the NATO fleet SNMG1);
  • A submarine and 2 minehunters (for the NATO fleets SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2).

For increased readiness of the NATO Readiness Initiative (NRI) in 2023, this involves:

  • A battlegroup (approx. 1,200 personnel);
  • 8 F-35 fighter aircrafts (170 personnel);
  • Drones;
  • A frigate;
  • A minehunter.

At the moment, the main focus of Allied defence is to bolster the deterrence against Russia and reassure the eastern NATO Member States.

The Netherlands will also provide military contributions to missions of the EU, the UN and other operational alliances.