2024 will see highest number of Belgian soldiers deployed in 10 years
A total of 1,000 Belgian soldiers will be deployed simultaneously in foreign operations in early 2024. Better recruitment, the geopolitical context and increasing demand from NATO explain the increase from previous years. Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder announced the update while visiting Belgian soldiers stationed in Romania.
The increase in the number of soldiers active in foreign operations is striking. There are currently about 850 soldiers serving abroad, which will rise to a maximum of 1,000 in the first semester of 2024, followed by a drop to 500 during the summer. The average for 2024 will be 700, more than double the numbers of previous years.
The first half of 2024 will see major operations, such as deploying an ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance & Target Acquisition) battalion of 150 soldiers for six months in Lithuania. In April, the frigate Louise Marie will set sail for 12 weeks to the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
©BELGA VIDEO MAARTEN WEYNANTS
The exact number of soldiers deployed may change during the year. In addition to the 1,000 men and women active abroad, the ministry of Defence also provides another 1,000 soldiers who must be on standby: about 450 for NATO, 200 for the European Union, 200 paratroopers and 120 for national crises.
© BELGA PHOTO MAARTEN WEYNANTS