Strategic Insurance: The Future of the Belgian Armed Forces

4 / 2014

Belgium is on the cusp of its next defence reform. While the security landscape throughout Europe’s neighbourhood and beyond deteriorates, the armed forces face numerous challenges. Most importantly, the next defence plan needs to recalibrate the force structure in function of political ambitions and budgetary realities. This Policy Brief argues that Belgium must embrace a nimble but broad-spectrum force. Any future structure must encompass agile land forces as well as a modern combat air force, without neglecting the need to safeguard a sizeable navy and invest in cyber capabilities. European cooperation should be pursued wherever possible while recognising that this necessitates budgetary convergence. For Belgium this means the investment budget needs to grow significantly in order to acquire interoperable but self-owned assets. Such a choice can be justified on the recognition that defence is not just about expeditionary operations, but also economic stimulus, intergenerational solidarity and strategic insurance: maintaining the ability to respond to whatever the future may bring.