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 15 March 2022.

Dutch NATO deployments in 2022

  • SNMG1
    The Netherlands is in command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and is providing one frigate with an on-board NH90 helicopter to this fleet. SNMG1 is one of NATO’s permanent maritime response forces.
  • SNMCMG1
    The Netherlands is participating in Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) with one minehunter. This is one of NATO’s standing mine countermeasures task forces.
  • Multinational enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Lithuania
    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.
  • Quick Reaction Alert
    As part of NATO air policing, the Netherlands alternates with Belgium on a quarterly basis in guarding Benelux airspace. In close cooperation with the Air Operations Control Station (AOCS) in Nieuw Millingen, the Royal Netherlands Air Force performs the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) task with F-16s. When tactical air control at AOCS observes an unidentified aircraft entering Dutch airspace without making radio contact, the QRA F-16s, which are on standby 24/7, are scrambled to intercept that aircraft.
  • Air Policing
    From 24 February 2022 until April, the Netherlands deployd two fighter aircraft for air policing duties over Poland.
  • Air Policing
    In April and May 2022, the Netherlands will deploy two F-35 fighter aircraft for air policing duties. Operating from Bulgaria, they will guard NATO airspace in Eastern Europe.

NATO Response Force

In 2022, the Netherlands will have the following on standby for the VJTF and IFFG:

  • One amphibious transport dock, including landing craft and two helicopters. Aboard this transport ship, the MoD will also provide medical services (a kind of field hospital at sea).
  • One frigate.
  • One submarine for the second part of 2022.
  • One diving team of the explosive ordnance disposal service.
  • 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).
  • One human intelligence (humint) unit and one psychological operations (psyops) unit.

Standby for the NATO Readiness Initiative

In 2022, the Netherlands will provide the following for the NRI:

  • One 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).
  • One minehunter.