The Royal Netherlands Army focuses on having rapidly deployable units for peace operations, disaster relief and the defence of NATO territory.
In order to be optimally prepared for all possible tasks, military personnel receive specialist training on a wide range of subjects. They keep their knowledge up-to-date by means of study and practical exercises. This approach allows the army to assemble a tailor-made unit for any operation. This is done at the request of the United Nations or NATO. The most important factor in an army operation, however, is the fact that it involves people. People are the key to success.
The Royal Netherlands army deploys its military personnel by unit or on an individual basis. Their tasks involve:
- monitoring a peace agreement, for instance, or a ceasefire (peacekeeping)
- enforcing a peace agreement or ceasefire (peace enforcement).
In practice, the distinctions among humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and peace enforcement are often unclear. Crisis situations are often very complicated and the various types of operation regularly take place simultaneously.
Depending on the situation, the army will deploy specialised units to provide humanitarian aid or disaster relief. This may involve:
- delivering food and medicine;
- providing technical or logistic assistance;
- clearing mines or providing instruction in mine clearance.
Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) involves cooperation between the army and civil organisations. The military personnel work together with the local population and civil authorities on such matters as food distribution, education facilities and repair of the infrastructure.