The defence budget cuts and rising costs for replacing the F-16 require ‘a vision for the future of the armed forces of the Netherlands’, which the Rutte-II government will deliver in 2013. Difficult decisions lie ahead regarding the structure of the Dutch armed forces as reduced financial resources no longer suffice to cover the costs of maintaining and modernising existing capabilities. The issue is not just about replacing the F-16: it is about the capabilities of all three armed services, which need to be reviewed in order to restore the balance between ambitions, financial means and the structure of the armed forces of the Netherlands.
The Clingendael Institute contributes to the upcoming debate with its own vision. It is based on three factors which should determine the shape of the future Dutch armed forces. The intersection of these three factors determines the framework and it leads to a menu of four types of armed forces. It shows that in only one of these types the purchase of the JSF is per se necessary.