Belgium Military - 2023


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Military and security forces

Belgian Armed Forces: Land Component, Marine (Naval) Component, Air Component, Medical Component (2023)

note: the Belgian Federal Police is the national police force and responsible for internal security and nationwide law and order, including migration and border enforcement; the force reports to the ministers of interior and justice 

Military expenditures

1.13% of GDP (2023 est.)

1.2% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.1% of GDP (2021)

1% of GDP (2020)

0.9% of GDP (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 25,000 active-duty personnel (10,000 Land Component; 1,500 Marine Component; 5,000 Air Force Component; 1,500 Medical Component; 7,000 other, including joint staff, support, and training schools) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the armed forces have a mix of weapons systems from European countries, Israel, and the US; Belgium has an export-focused defense industry that focuses on components and subcontracting (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; conscription abolished in 1995 (2022)

note 1: in 2020, women comprised about 9% of the military's full-time personnel

note 2: foreign nationals 18-34 years of age who speak Dutch or French and are citizens of EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland may apply to join the military

Military deployments

125 France (EuroCorps); 325 Eastern Europe (NATO); 100 Middle East; 325 Niger  (2023)

note: in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including Belgium, have sent additional troops and equipment to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in eastern Europe

Military - note

Belgium is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949; Belgium hosts the NATO headquarters in Brussels

in 2015, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg signed an agreement to conduct joint air policing of their territories; under the agreement, which went into effect in January of 2017, the Belgian and Dutch Air Forces trade responsibility for patrolling the skies over the three countries; in 2018, the Defense Ministers of Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the creation of a Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC); the C-SOCC was declared operational in December 2020 (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Belgium on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belgium 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belgium 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.