Members of the Netherlands armed forces have been training and exercising throughout the United States for decades.
Furthermore, close cooperation between the Netherlands and America exists in Latin America and the Caribbean. In order to counter narcotics trafficking and transnational organized crime, the Netherlands has enjoyed a reliable partnership with the US Coast Guard and United States Southern Command for over 25 years.
Through our close political and military cooperation, we also developed strong defense industrial and defense trade ties. This resulted in considerable economic benefits for the US, of which the F-35 program is a convincing example. The Netherlands was one of the initial partners in the F-35 program and has bought 46 aircraft, with a total value of $5.42 billion.
Since the inception of the program in the early 1970s, the Netherlands has remained a prominent participant in Foreign Military Sales. Today we have over 240 active cases (including, but not limited to, Apache, Chinook, MQ-9 Reaper, Torpedoes, Standard missiles, and Patriot missile system) with a total value of roughly $6 billion and an average annual export value of $490 million.
Reciprocal defense procurement
The success of the Foreign Military Sales program would not have been possible without the industrial participation of Dutch defense industrial firms and companies. In 2019, the Netherlands’ defense industry exports to the US amounted to $185 million, significantly less than our imports yet substantial for our national industry.
The US and the Netherlands have shaped their defense acquisition and defense trade relations on the basis of a reciprocal defense procurement MOU, which dates back to 1978. Cooperation under this MOU has resulted in the exchange of cutting-edge technological knowledge, such as radar, ship building and robotics as well as highly skilled professionals and fruitful cooperative R&D projects in ballistic missile defense, defense against chemical agents, simulation and training technology, and more.
To underscore the importance of our bilateral defense cooperation even further, in 2018 our countries signed a defense cooperation treaty, the Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of the United States of America, which established a framework for defense cooperation activities.
The above described cooperation enables us to almost seamlessly conduct combined missions and operations on land, at sea, in the air, in cyber, and in space.