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26 septembre 2012 3 26 /09 /septembre /2012 17:25

Dutch F-16 photo RNLAF


September 26, 2012 defpro.com


“Belgian-Dutch naval cooperation is seen as a very successful example of the integration and pooling of military capabilities, both in our own countries and abroad. Today was an unique opportunity to see for myself how the various units under Admiral Benelux command work together in practice.” These were the words spoken by Minister Hans Hillen after his working visit to his Belgian colleague Pieter De Crem.


He visited the various Belgian-Dutch cooperative arrangements in the naval domain, such as the cookery school in Bruges. “This training course is typical of modern soldiery: we train people to become soldiers as well as good cooks. Dutch military cooks are fully certified for civilian society and after leaving the service they are very much in demand in the restaurant sector. What's more is that their life experience gives them an advantage over their peers.”




The main topic of conversation in the meeting between Minister Hillen and Minister De Crem was intensifying the cooperation between the armed forces of both countries and further coordinating the defence policies of the Benelux countries. "Intensifying international cooperation is one of the spearheads of my policy. It is the only way to keep our military striking power up to the mark. My priority lies in enhancing bilateral cooperation, especially with our strategic partners Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg."


Belgium and the Netherlands joined forces in the field of defence a long time ago. Their operational navy staffs, for example, have been integrated under Admiral Benelux for 15 years. In Afghanistan, we are also working together at the same locations, in Kunduz, in Kabul, and previously with F-16s at Kandahar.


That cooperation will be stepped up, said Hillen. “This week was the first meeting of the politico-military steering group tasked with working out the plans to investigate the possibilities for intensified cooperation in 8 different areas. These plans will also focus on the air force and army. Possible forms of cooperation are a combined Quick Reaction Force with a Dutch and a Belgian F-16 for the protection of both countries’ airspace and a combined approach in the replacement of the F-16. On Monday 24 September, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army, Lieutenant General Mart de Kruif, and a delegation from Belgium will kick off 5 new projects in the land-based domain. These projects include tactical fire exercises, training of Special Forces, establishment of a Benelux paratroopers training centre and increased cooperation among the respective Mechanised Brigades of our countries.

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