The Armed forces of the Netherlands consist of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The service branches concists of :
The military ranks of the Dutch armed forces have similarities with British and U.S. military ranks. The highest-ranking officer in the Dutch military is the Chief of the Netherlands Defence Staff, who is usually (but not necessarily) a four-star officer (NATO OF-9).
Foundation in law and purpose
The Dutch armed forces exist by declaration in the constitution of the Netherlands. Article 97 of this constitution determines that the armed forces exist
- to defend the Kingdom of the Netherlands and its interests in the world; and
- to protect and advance the international rule of law.
Interestingly, this means that the role and responsibility of the Dutch military in international stability and peacekeeping is constitutionally determined.
The same article of the constitution determines that supreme command of the Dutch military resides with the government of the Netherlands. This has been the case since the constitution was changed in 1983; before then, supreme command of the armed forces of The Netherlands was held by the King of The Netherlands.
In addition, a second major change in military affairs was made in 2003. Before then, all citizens of The Netherlands were tasked with the defense of the kingdom. In keeping with the move to a professional military, this article was dropped.
The Netherlands' military is currently a fully professional military. Conscription in the Netherlands was suspended in the year 1996. All military branches and specialties, except for the submarine service and the Marine Corps, are open to female recruits.
The Korps Commandotroepen – the Special Operations Force of the Netherlands Army – is open to women, but because of the extremely high physical demands for initial training it is found impossible for women to become commandos. The Dutch Ministry of Defence employs almost 70,000 personnel, including both civilian and military personnel.
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