Diversity in the Belgian Armed Forces

TitleDiversity in the Belgian Armed Forces
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsManigart, Philippe
EditorSoeters, Joseph L., and Jan van der Meulen
Book TitleCultural Diversity in the Armed Forces: An International Comparison

In some countries, the armed forces have a long history in responding to ethnic diversity, while elsewhere it has come up only recently as a policy issue. This chapter provides a case study of Belgium, highlighting the diversity strategies in that country's armed forces. The Belgian armed forces, like other complex organizations in the post-modern global world, have become more diverse internally and are also operating in an ever more diverse environment. Their new missions are themselves very diverse (the fight against terrorism, peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, monitoring, etc.), take place all over the world in culturally, ethnically and linguistically very diverse regions, and are conducted most of the time under the guidance of intrinsically ambiguous rules of engagement, in a multinational framework (NATO, Eurocorps, but also all the new so-called task forces, force packages, modular structures, etc.). Finally, given the nature of these new missions, the rules of engagement of these forces are intrinsically ambiguous. In other words, as is the case with private companies operating in a global economy, the Belgian armed forces face internal as well as external diversity.

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