The Army Chief of Staff expects the military to maintain a street presence in Belgium for a few more years to come. The military training programme has consequently been adapted accordingly. This is explained by Major General Marc Thys on Monday in the daily publication De Standaard.
It is anticipated in the current Defence planning that so-called Operation Homeland will continue through to 2020. Consequently, the training programme has been reviewed. Wide-ranging exercises involving several units are favoured, whilst the skills which are not necessary for street patrols are being temporarily put aside.
Marc Thys commented, “We should be ready and trained to undertake all of our missions.” He went on, “However troop morale remains our greatest challenge. On average, members of the military are involved in street patrol for six-month stints. As part of this programme, we are aiming to reduce street-patrol numbers by a third.”
The Major General would like to see the role of the soldiers be more patrol-based and less static in front of major strategic buildings, which are potential terrorist targets.