IES-HCSS Policy Forum – Future Airpower: Benelux Air Cooperation in a European Context

13 Feb 2014 15:00
13 Feb 2014 18:00

It is crunch-time for European defence establishments. Faced with a rapidly changing world and budgetary constraints, military planners must find innovative solutions to prepare for the future. Anticipating the strategic choices ahead, the Royal Netherlands Air Force commissioned a HCSS study entitled Taking the High Ground – Airpower in the Netherlands: a vision of the future 2015-2025. This joint IES-HCSS Policy Forum provided a venue for analysing the future role of airpower and exploring the options for multinational cooperation.






14:30-15:00 Registration
15:00-16:15 Visions of Future Airpower: Technology, Capabilities, Doctrine

The strategic landscape is in flux: financial austerity, instability in the European neighbourhood and global power shifts are changing the way we think about military power. What is the contribution of the air instrument to national and international security policy in the next 10-20 years? How does technological evolution enable new operational concepts? What kind of cooperation with military as well as non-military partners will or should be developed in the air and space domain? To what extent is collective defence planning a feasible option? How does the acquisition of future capabilities interact with defence industrial policy?

  • Chair: Drs. Frank Bekkers, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies
  • Col. Peter Wijninga, Royal Netherlands Air Force & lead author of Taking the High Ground
  • Lt.-Col. Vincent Maniet, Belgian Defence Staff
  • Discussant: Drs. Daniel Fiott, Institute for European Studies
Watch the podcast here!
16:15-16:45 Coffee Break
16:45-18:00 Translating Vision into Practice: The Commanders’ Intent

On 23 October 2013, the Belgian and Dutch Ministers of Defence signed a Letter of Intent signalling increased cooperation in the area of air policing. This builds on the 2012 Benelux Declaration on defence cooperation and complements European initiatives such as the ‘Ghent Framework’ and European Air Transport Command. What is the intent of both Air Force Chiefs regarding cooperation? Is there sufficient political commitment to take the next step and push toward integration? What are the current political and industrial limitations on defence cooperation? Can the Belgian-Dutch cooperation be used as a template and set the standard for further European cooperation?

  • Chair: Prof. Dr. Alexander Mattelaer, Institute for European Studies
  • Lt.-Gen. Alexander Schnitger, Commander Royal Netherlands Air Force
  • Lt.-Gen. Claude van de Voorde, Belgian Air Component Commander
Watch the podcast here!
18:00-19:00 Reception



Prof. Dr. Alexander Mattelaer
Assistant Director
Institute for European Studies

Col. Peter Wijninga
Strategic Analyst, Comprehensive Security Program
The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies

Ms. Jacintha Liem (Logistics)
Events Manager
Institute for European Studies