The Dutch Chief of Staff on the Evolving Threat Environment: The 2015 Future Force Conference in the Netherlands



Recently, the second Future Force Conference was held in the Netherlands.

From March 23-25 2015, the Future Force Conference was held to look at the challenge and opportunities offered by technologies to allied or enemy forces.

Dutch Chief of Staff General Middendorp. Credit: Dutch MdD
Dutch Chief of Staff General Middendorp. Credit: Dutch MdD

In the video above, the Dutch Chief of Staff, General Middendorp, provides his view of the way ahead.

“Together, we must go in search of the answers for meeting the challenges of tomorrow.”

That was the Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp’s rallying cry at the conclusion of the Future Force Conference on 25 March.

“We must work at our credibility, build networks, anticipate new developments and continue to innovate.”

He highlighted a number of challenges and argued that “inaction is not an option.”

He focused on what he sees fundamental global challenges shaping significantly different threats.

“Europe is surrounded by a ring of fire,” is a rather dramatic way to put it, but that is how he put it.

“We are increasingly vulnerable to global shocks,” which he identified as rather wide ranging in terms of the shocks to which our systems must respond.

The growing nature of  “hybrid threats” would be challenging enough but given their cross-global interactivity they are even more challenging.

In this hard hitting, and in many ways grim, assessment of the way ahead, the Dutch head of the Dutch forces provides a sober corrective to those who would reduce military transformation in the face of economic difficulties.

“We are all part of the evolving defense and security eco system which is continuously evolving.”

The force we need is one capable “of being networked and networking” within the overall defense and security eco system.

“We need to turn the ring of fire into a ring of firefighters.”