It is positive to see that the Dutch armed forces choose cooperation with the industry. That is the first reaction of FME, the Dutch entrepreneurs organization, on today’s presentation of the Defense white paper. By choosing for the adaptive armed forces, in which businesses and the Defense organization reinforce each other, FME sees an essential role for the Dutch industry in this white paper. FME-chairman Ineke Dezentjé Hamming: “The industry is ready to pick up this challenge, together with the Defense organization. There is no time to loose so let us together, get started quickly.”
Today, the Defense white paper “Invest in our people, strength and visibility” was presented. After years of budget cuts, the Defense organization can finally start investing again. These first extra means are a first step towards necessary investments to reinforce the armed forces. The international safety situation also calls for it. Without safety and stability, economic growth is a utopia.
The ministry of Defense is creating space for innovation and is planning to write an innovation strategy. In that strategy they will look specifically for new technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and bio- and nanotechnology. In the past FME has made the call for room to experiment, for instance in the way it is done in fieldlab SmartBase. It is positive that the Defense white paper speaks about new ways of cooperation, such as fieldlabs, where ideas are developed, tested and implemented.
At least as important for renewal is modernizing and replacing materiel. Modernization of weapon systems and the necessary replacement of deprecated frigates, mine-counter-measure vessels, and submarines, will boost innovation for the coming years for the Dutch industry.
FME chairman Desentjé Hamming: “I call the government to fulfil their role as launching customer and to seize all opportunities to develop, build and maintain together with the Dutch industry. In that way we cooperate to support the knowledge position, power to innovate and the export opportunities of the Dutch technological industry.”
FME support the importance that the white paper attaches to cyber security. To stay able to cope with the growing digital threat, collaboration between Defense and companies is essential. The technological industry is already collaborating with Defense, for example by exchanging knowledge in the area of cyber, cyber reservists and the participation of joint exercises. Ineke Desentjé Hamming: “Because of the shortage of cyber-specialists and the increased threat, the importance of cyber-collaboration keeps getting bigger. The technological industry is looking for ways to pick up these cyber challenges together with the Armed Forces in the coming years.”