The Belgian Defence Strategic Plan: A Complex Jigsaw Puzzle

In April 2015, the Belgian Ministry of Defence will present its Strategic Plan for the next 15 years. The military trade union ACMP-CGPM warned the Minister of Defence against some important aspects for the future. The main difficulty is the financial instability. The Belgian Defence has been struggling with a decreasing budget and new investment challenges for several years.

ACMP-CGPM believes that it is too soon to establish a serious Strategic Plan just six months after the initial governmental policy statement. It is also very important to have a strategic vision reflecting the views of the political opposition, over a long period. We also ask for a strong political and public consensus on a new Defence and its essential missions. The objectives of the Strategic Plan will then have to be scheduled correctly. Financial stability is the key element to ensure that the objectives of the missions are respected and respectful of the personnel.

Which are the military resources and capacities needed to have a reliable Defence, able to guarantee our freedom, security and prosperity? We have to assess the threats from a global and international point of view. The balance between those resources and threats forces us to analyse the real strategic functions of our armed forces.

Our objective in this complex jigsaw puzzle is to help the MoD to determine the missions which can be foreseen by the Belgian Defence in the next 15 years. The main strategic mission of the armed forces is to protect our population and our society against threats inside or outside our territory; to protect our expatriated fellow citizens and to protect our allies’ territorial integrity. Some military capacities are still so essential for our national security that we can neither reduce nor abolish them.

If our army downsizes, commanding structures will also have to be reduced. The link between these structures and operational units has to be adapted. It will be beneficial for the operational units and lead to a more efficient command.

Like other countries, Belgium must guarantee the future of veterans, giving them the possibility to work in public departments. It is a matter of respect and gratitude towards those who served their country. The well-being and health of our servicemen have to be consolidated by investments and a better supervision.

After several recurrent reforms in the Belgian Defence, we can speak of a restructuring fatigue amongst the military community. With a good and transparent social dialogue as well as progressivity, the Strategic Plan and its induced changes could be more easily accepted by the army personnel.

ACMP-CGPM will discuss this subject with the MoD to find the best solutions.

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