Defense is out of money for uniforms again: union

Dutch soldier in a training exercise (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Gertrud Zach)Dutch soldier in a training exercise (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Gertrud Zach)

The Ministry of Defense's annual budget for uniforms has been exceeded, with the result that soldiers go to the Defense clothing department only to be told that winter coats and uniforms, among other things, are out of stock, military union AFMP said to the Telegraaf.

Personnel equipment at Defense has been a sensitive topic since last year, when clothing department KPU was unable to equip military personnel with winter clothing in time to participate in a major exercise in Norway. The Ministry of Defense then decided to give participating soldiers a budget of a thousand euros each to by their own coats, gloves, and overshoes at an outdoor shop.

A year has passed and the uniform budget was increased, and yet there is again problems with clothing distribution, AFMP chairman Anne-Marie Snels said to the newspaper. According to her, KPU is distributing what it still has available, but can order nothing new from suppliers. "Because the money has run out, our people who were there for a working visit this week were told", she said. 

Soldiers and the union told the Telegraaf that they are waiting for winter coats, the yellow and brown desert uniforms, and the new multicam combat suits. Soldiers who go on deployment need this equipment. 

"All the problems with clothing seemed to have been solved because there was more budget, but now there appear to be problems again", Snels said. "They are caused by the fact that the KPU was unable to deliver everything quickly enough due to under-staffing. Then armed forces started to purchase things independently. There was too little insight into the budget and the result was that the money ran out faster than expected. The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that Defense is taking on more reservists, but they have not been taken into account in the clothing budget."

The Ministry of Defense acknowledged to the newspaper that the budget has been exceeded, but said that this problem was resolved by redistributing funds. The Ministry denies that there are any serious supply problems. "Newcomers and people going on a mission can be dressed. What is not in stock is supplied afterwards", a spokesperson said to the Telegraaf.