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THE BELGIAN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY LANDSCAPE

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In Belgium there are a large number of players in the intelligence and security landscape in terms of policy, intelligence gathering and assessment. There are two intelligence and security services in Belgium: State Security, the civil intelligence service, and the General Intelligence and Security Service, its military counterpart.

State Security (www.suretedeletat.belgium.be), which comes under the minister of Justice and the minister of the Interior, carries out various missions, among others the collection and analysis of information that reveals a threat to the continued existence of the democratic, constitutional and welfare state, and informing the government thereof (threats related to terrorism, extremism, espionage, proliferation, sectarian organisations, interference, criminal organisations). Moreover, the service is responsible for the protection of VIPs (and in this regard comes under the minister of the Interior), and vetting procedures. State security can also lend assistance and technical support in the framework of judicial investigations.

The military intelligence service (www.mil.be/is), which comes under the minister of Defence, is part of the Armed Forces. Its first role consists in collecting and analysing intelligence related to any activity that threatens the inviolability of the national territory, the military defence plans, the performance of the roles of the armed forces, or the security of Belgian nationals abroad. Moreover, the military intelligence service must ensure the military security of the personnel coming under Defence, military installations, military secrets and the scientific and economic potential. Besides, it must neutralise any cyber attacks and identify their perpetrators just like its civil counterpart, the military intelligence service carries out vetting procedures regarding individuals who are supposed to be given access to secret information in their professional lives. The military intelligence service can also lend assistance or technical support to the judicial authorities.

Furthermore, there is the Coordination Unit for Threat Assessment (CUTA). This coordination unit draws up specific and strategic evaluations of terrorist and extremist threats in and to Belgium. It largely proceeds on the basis of intelligence obtained from the supporting services (the two intelligence services, the police and departments of the ministries of the Interior, Finance, Mobility & Transport and Foreign Affairs). The threat assessments are intended for the political, administrative and judicial authorities that are invested with responsibility for security. The CUTA is under the joint authority of the minister of Justice and the Interior.

At the political level, the National Security Council (former Ministerial Committee for Intelligence and Security) has been created by the Royal Decree of 28 January 2015. The NSC is part of the Governement and is chaired by the Prime Minister. It is also made up of the Ministers of Justice, Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs and the other deputy Prime Ministers. The other members of the Governement as well as the Admnistrator general of State Security, the Chief of the GISS, the director of the CUTA and other top level representatives of the police and the judiciary can be invitated on an ad hoc basis.

 

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Last update: 27/05/2015