Dutch forces not ready for war: Marine assoc.
According to Marc de Natris, head of the association of naval officers KVMO, the Dutch army is not ready for a situation of war. A structural shortage of personnel and equipment has resulted in many parts not being deployable.
"As long as we do not have to use all units, the problem is still hidden", De Natris said to the AD. "But we all see that the situation in the world is changing. If we are faced with a threat of war now, which unfortunately is no longer inconceivable, we will for long not be able to use all units." Defense is facing a labor shortage of 8.5 percent (about 3,500 soldiers) as well as a serious lack of suitable material.
Defense disagrees with this picture. "The filling of the armed forces increased in the last year." spokesperson Klaas Meijer said to AD. "And that trend seems to be continuing this year." According to De Natris however, Defense is doing far to little to solve the problems. "The occupancy rate is going up because Defense is smaller. But the influx has long been lower than the outflow. It seems that Defense is quietly happy with that, because it save hundreds of millions of salary per year." Defense denies that. "We are working hard to recruit staff and take measures to retain staff."
The unions has been negotiating with Defense on new collective bargaining agreements for some time. Defense in turn has long been calling for more money, the organization has bee eroded after years of cuts. But a substantial increase remains absent from the budget.