Airmobile Brigade incorporated into Division Schnelle Kräfte

From today, 11 Airmobile Brigade is part of the new German unit Division Schnelle Kräfte (DSK). Lieutenant General Mart de Kruif, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army, and his German counterpart, Lieutenant General Bruno Kasdorf, signed the pertinent agreement this morning.

The Netherlands Minister of Defence, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, were in attendance at the signing.

Hennis: "This takes German-Dutch military cooperation to the next level. It will both strengthen our fighting power and increase our ability to act. The ultimate objective of this collaboration is the joint planning and execution of missions! The joint division staff must be operational by 2016 and, from 2018, the entire division must be ready to carry out operations."

Every confidence

According to Hennis, an increase in collective fighting power is 'sorely needed'. "We must remain capable of responding to global developments. This cooperation serves our wider security interests, of that I am convinced! Fine-tuning this collaboration will be a long-term process, in which we will learn a lot from each other." Turning to the servicemen and women in the audience, she continued: "I of course have every confidence in your success!"

Hennis was also pleased to see a number of Members of Parliament at the signing: "To remain predictable and reliable partners, regular political debate will have to take place, not only between our governments and between our governments and their parliaments…but certainly also between the national parliaments of our 2 countries."

Closer cooperation

In May of last year, the 2 countries signed a Declaration of Intent, its main points being:

  • the development of the German-Netherlands Corps Headquarters into a NATO Joint Task Force headquarters;
  • the integration of the 2 nations' ground-based air and missile defence units;
  • the merging of German and Dutch fire support units;
  • more intensive cooperation between the 2 nations' navies.

Staff element

The incorporation of the airmobile brigade into the DSK is intended to lead to a more integrated mode of operation. A joint staff element made up of Dutch and German officers will direct the DSK. The units will, however, remain stationed at their current locations, which in the Airmobile Brigade's case are Assen and Schaarsbergen in the Netherlands. The integration will deliver benefits regarding training and instruction and enhance joint deployment options. If joint deployment is being considered, both countries must give their consent.