News item

STAR plan

The October 2020 Government agreement included a provision to update the implementation of the Strategic Vision of Defence at the horizon of 2030. With my colleagues in the government and the Defence staff, we set about updating the Vision, which was indeed a necessary objective in view of the complex, uncertain and unpredictable security environment in which we live, as demonstrated by the current situation in Ukraine. This process, which follows on from the POP (People Our Priority) and Barracks plans, gave rise to the STAR plan, which stands for Security & Service - Technology - Ambition - Resilience. 

As soon as I took office, I instructed to this end a strategic committee of ten experts, active in various areas, to prepare an independent analysis of the security environment for the period 2022-2030. I insisted, as a preamble, to thank them once more for their valuable contribution. From this analysis, largely included in chapter I of this STAR Plan, stems the current planning which revolves around ten guiding principles (see annex) which were approved by the government on 23 July 2021. 

In addition, this new strategic review will lead to a multi-year adjustment of the priorities and resources to be allocated through the updating of the Military Programme Act, in line with the Government agreement. The main areas defined by this law concern the development of personnel numbers, recruitment and upgrading measures within Defence; investment in major equipment; and the strengthening of the Defence Technological and Industrial Base. 

Together, the updating of the Military Programme Act and the STAR plan should ensure that, ultimately, Defence has the appropriate capabilities to meet the new challenges of our time, including on home soil. 

With this STAR plan, which is accompanied by a growth path between now and 2030 as set out in the government agreement and explained in this chapter 4, we also want to position Belgium at the heart of European Defence and the 'European pillar' within NATO. Synergies and closer international collaboration are possible in the interests of efficiency. A balanced and equitable sharing of risks and burdens will be the guiding principles, as well as the trust and reliability of the partners envisaged. 

The 2030 objective of the STAR plan is, moreover, the same as that set for the parallel processes of the European Strategic Compass and the revision of NATO's Strategic Concept. These processes offer a unique opportunity for greater convergence of efforts at EU and Alliance level, as Europe will in future be called upon to do more to assume responsibility for its own security and thereby strengthen its contribution within NATO. 

In this context, Defence must be capable of anticipating and managing future crises and conflicts, acquiring the technology needed to stay at least one step ahead of rivals and potential adversaries, and maintaining a workforce commensurate with the level of ambition. Because of its roots in society, to support the services responsible and when its resources allow, Defence will also be called upon to contribute to the security of the population on national territory, whatever the crisis (i.e., by supporting, for example, the emergency zones, civil protection or the police). 

The accomplishment of all these tasks is based on a better balance between equipment, infrastructure, personnel and operations. 

This new dynamic will require more resources in terms of equipment and staff, as well as more structural resources to enable us to operate effectively and efficiently. If I had to sum up the ambition of the STAR plan in one sentence, I would say that it is obviously about ensuring the security of all of us, as well as that of our strategic partners and allies, while repositioning the Department of Defence at the heart of the Nation and society, and as close as possible to its citizens. This is the message we have conveyed through the key elements of the Plan, which was approved by the government on 17 June 2022. 

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate my most sincere thanks to my colleagues in the government, the members of parliament, the Defence Staff, the experts, my cabinet, and all those who have contributed to the reflection that has enabled us to develop this new Vision for Defence at the horizon of 2030. This Vision is certainly crucial if we are to put the Department back on a par with its ambitions. 


Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you for the interest you have shown, by reading the STAR plan, not only in a secure society and the security of our fellow citizens in general, but also in the current challenges we are facing for the men and women of Defence. 


STAR Plan_EN.pdf