Press Release

Agreement on the strategic plan for Defence 2030

Today, a historic decision was taken on the future of the Belgian Defence.

Key tenets that were decided:

  • The Belgian Defence will be balanced and based on multilateral solidarity towards our partners: NATO, the EU and the UN.
  • An overall budget of 9.2 billion euros for necessary investments in the Land, Air, Maritime and Cyber/Intelligence dimensions of the armed forces will be provided in the period up to the year 2030.
  • The staffing of the Defence will evolve to a total of 25,000 FTE military and civilian personnel with an average age of about 34 years for the military (now about 40 years). Defence will strive to modernize its human resources management, the regulatory framework, education as well as knowledge management within the organisation.

A number of specific points of attention:

  • We will aim at achieving a reasonable distribution between personnel costs (50%), operating costs (25%) and investments (25%). 
  • We further aim at maximising an economic return on major investments, taking into account all applicable national and European regulations. This will be done in cooperation with the FPS Economy as regards knowledge, technology and employment.
  • The regional balance in relation to the geographic location of military compounds, personnel and capabilities will be ensured.

    Today, a historic decision was taken on the future of the Belgian Defence.

Key tenets that were decided:

  • The Belgian Defence will be balanced and based on multilateral solidarity towards our partners: NATO, the EU and the UN.
  • An overall budget of 9.2 billion euros for necessary investments in the Land, Air, Maritime and Cyber/Intelligence dimensions of the armed forces will be provided in the period up to the year 2030.
  • The staffing of the Defence will evolve to a total of 25,000 FTE military and civilian personnel with an average age of about 34 years for the military (now about 40 years). Defence will strive to modernize its human resources management, the regulatory framework, education as well as knowledge management within the organisation.

A number of specific points of attention:

  • We will aim at achieving a reasonable distribution between personnel costs (50%), operating costs (25%) and investments (25%). 
  • We further aim at maximising an economic return on major investments, taking into account all applicable national and European regulations. This will be done in cooperation with the FPS Economy as regards knowledge, technology and employment.
  • The regional balance in relation to the geographic location of military compounds, personnel and capabilities will be ensured.

In concrete terms:

  • 34 fighter jets
  • 2 frigates
  • 6 mine countermeasures vessels
  • 6 drones; 2 of which in 2021 and 4 in 2030
  • A study into an air-to-air refuelling aircraft capacity
  • A business case will be elaborated for the white fleet of Defence, as well as Search and Rescue (SAR)
  • The land component will be fully equipped to enable it to fulfil its duties.

A new future for Defence

A government should not want to do everything, but should instead focus on its core tasks and fulfil them in a responsible, efficient and cost-conscious manner. Security is one of these core tasks, as it constitutes the essential condition for the well-being, freedom and prosperity of all of us. And security does not come for free. It never has been and it never will be. Over the past decades, the defence budget has been in continued decline through the ‘peace dividend’. Today we take a historic turn.

The world has changed radically in the course of the last few years. Europe continues to be a relatively safe haven but is increasingly confronted with an instable periphery in the East and the South.

Europe cannot ignore these problems from a human, economic and security perspective and has to be able to operate in its own periphery in political, economic and military terms – and this autonomously from other world players;

Belgium will contribute to this endeavour as a reliable partner, in solidarity with others.

Quote from Minister Steven Vandeput:

“I want to thank the government for the brave decision to invest in Defence. Security is precious, but it also doesn’t come cheap. And with the decisions we have made today, we can give our armed forces and all its men and women who give their best every single day a new perspective, full of hope.

The first important hurdle has been taken, but there is still a lot of work to be done. In the months ahead, I will work out, together with the defence staff, an implementation plan in which we will elaborate measures to be implemented during this term of government. We will initiate several tender procedures in order to transform the government’s decisions into concrete contracts. In the meantime, we will continue to work on the further streamlining of the structures and processes, recruit young people and show solidarity with our partners in operations.”