Defense Chief: I should have stopped budget cuts sooner
Tom Middendorp, Chief of Defense, feels he should have intervened earlier in cuts to the Defense budget, he said in an interview with NRC. He blames himself for the effects now suffered as a result of the massive budget cuts over the past years.
"With every cut we first sought sulitions in our own organization. In support, resources and efficiency. The effects are now fully visible and show that we went too far. I also blame myself for that", Middendorp said. According to the general, he should have spoken up sooner and made clear that the armed forces could not continue like this, but added that "we had peace and took it for granted."
In May the General Court of Audit released a report criticizing the armed forces after it only achieved 59 percent of its operational goals in 2014. According to Middendorp, that is "one of the consequeces of years of cutbacks". "Since the Cold War our budget became lower and lower. We now pay 1.14 percent of the GDP on Defense, NATO requires 2 percent."
Middendorp believes it important to continue investing in defnese and to strengthen the information position of the Dutch army, and he is relieved that politicians seem to be paying more attention to this now. "The predictive of NATO and the EU reduced. Our investment budget is too small for the organization: we need to, for example, replace almost the entire navy. There is also an imbalance between combat units and support." he said to the newspaper. "It is therefore important to invest more and fortunately the minister now insists on it."