Vice Admiral Matthieu J. M. Borsboom - Royal Netherlands Navy

With a balanced mix of platforms and marine forces, the full range of maritime effects can be achieved. Sustaining this balanced mix will only be possible if we look closely at innovative ship design, in combination with crew-size reduction, mission-tailored manning, and organically sustainable amphibious forces. As a result of concepts defined in the Navy Study 2005, the four Holland-class ocean-going patrol vessels presently under construction will be state-of-the-art and illustrate this philosophy. They are specifically designed for operations such as policing and Coast Guard tasks with a lean-manned crew of about 50 personnel. The six remaining frigates will thus be freed up for more complex and expeditionary maritime security and interdiction operations.

Maritime safety and security will be further enhanced by the continuous commitment of mine-countermeasures vessels and two hydrographic survey ships. Furthermore, four submarines will remain available with more capable systems to conduct a broad range of tasks. Subsequently, marine battalions will be augmented by enhanced logistics and fire-support capabilities to create maximum flexibility and versatile effects as a response to the various asymmetric threats that characterize current complex operations. To preserve the marines' and other services' minimal footprint ashore in littoral operations, a contract for a joint-support ship was signed last year for it to enter service in 2015. In combination with the two in-service amphibious transport docks and a replenishment tanker, the Netherlands Defense Forces will retain a modest yet broadly capable sea-based and expeditionary navy.

I stated when I took command of the Netherlands Royal Navy on 22 January 2010, that the navy is underpinned by its people. Regardless of the challenges ahead, the integrated Fleet-Marine Corps concept, with its associated doctrine, tactics, related organizational structures, and capabilities can only function with well-trained and motivated personnel. Responsible leadership, interservice, interagency, and international cooperation allied to transparent communication and supportive care for Navy families are all essential prerequisites for long-term success.


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