On January 12, the Atlantic Council hosted H.E. Hans Hillen, the Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, for remarks on NATO defense spending in the context of the Eurozone crisis and the transatlantic economic downturn.
The European sovereign debt crisis threatens not only to undermine the credit ratings of European governments and banks, but also the relevance of the NATO Alliance and its credibility as a guarantor of European and global security. Despite its relatively strong fiscal position, the Netherlands has been forced to make its own spending cuts, including roughly $1 billion in reductions to defense spending that will eliminate the Netherlands tank force, eliminate 10,000 positions at the Ministry of Defense, and reduce the size of its navy and air force. In this context, Minister Hillen outlined a Netherlands perspective on NATO’s Smart Defense agenda, and offered thoughts on how member states can enhance multinational cooperation to preserve critical Alliance capabilities.
Minister Hillen has served as the Minister of Defense of the Netherlands since October 2010. Prior to serving as the Minister of Defense, he served as Chairman of the Christian Democratic Alliance, as an elected member of the Senate and House of Representatives, and worked in the Ministry of Finance. Prior to serving in government, he worked in public broadcasting as a journalist for fourteen years and taught secondary school.
H.E. Hans Hillen
Minister of Defense
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Mr. Barry Pavel
Director Designate, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security
Director, Program on International Security