2015-03-09 The Dutch have been an important contributor to working with the NATO and Arab partners in trying to role back the ISIS threat and to help in the stabilization of Iraq.
On the Dutch Ministry of Defense website are a number of updates on Dutch engagements in the operations.
The Netherlands has made a number of F-16 fighter aircraft available for carrying out air strikes on Iraqi territory.
This military support will complement the political and humanitarian support the Netherlands is already providing in the international fight against the ISIS terrorist organisation in Iraq.
6 Dutch F-16s and 2 reserve aircraft will be deployed, along with 250 military personnel.
In addition, a maximum number of 130 military personnel will lend support to Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the areas of military training and advice.
Materiel and personnel
In total, the Netherlands will contribute:
• 6 F-16s (plus 2 reserve aircraft);
• 250 military personnel (flight personnel and personnel for maintenance, weapon and communication systems, mission planning and logistics);
• 130 military personnel (trainers, advisers and security and logistics personnel);
• Staff and liaison officers at various headquarters.
In this first phase of the operation, deployment is scheduled to last a maximum of one year.
F-16s for air strikes
Air strikes aim to disable the tactical locations, such as command posts and camps, of ISIS by using precision weapons. The exact locations of targets will either be ascertained in advance or identified by military personnel operating on the ground or in the air. The Dutch F-16s will also provide air support to Iraqi and Kurdish ground troops fighting against ISIS.
The actions of the fighter aircraft will be coordinated from the Joint Forces Air Component Command in Kuwait. Dutch officers are among the staff working at this joint command post.
Training Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers
Dutch military trainers will assist in training Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces for the fight against ISIS on the ground. Training will take place at a number of barracks and other training locations in Iraq. Dutch military personnel will not be involved in the fighting on the ground.
Training will be conducted by a brigade training team, a Special Operations Forces training team and support personnel. These units normally train regular military personnel and special forces.
American command and control
Good coordination of the mission is essential, owing to the fact that there are a large number of countries taking part. Several Dutch personnel will carry out duties at the diplomatic, political and military levels during the course of the operation. The overall operation will be conducted on the basis of the American command and control structure.
A Dutch planning team is at the American command centre CENTCOM to assist with the strategic planning of the operation. In addition, the Netherlands will post staff and liaison officers to operational headquarters in Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, thus allowing Dutch involvement in the detail of the planning process.