The Dutch Armed Forces' repatriation and identification service is making a final attempt to identify 103 unknown Dutch victims of the Second World War. As the group of immediate surviving relatives is getting smaller and smaller, time is running out to put a name to these still anonymous victims, the Ministry of Defense said, NOS reports.
The Ministry of Defense acquired a few dozen teeny-tiny drones. These Black Hornets will be used by reconnaissance units of the Dutch Armed Forces and Marine Corps, ANP reports.
A Black Hornet is a miniscule helicopter that weighs only 18 grams. It has a rotor span of 12 centimeters and can fly for 25 minutes, taking photos or recording video while it does so. Soldiers can use them to explore a battlefield at a safe distance.
D66 parliamentarian Salima Belhaj thinks that the Dutch military must be made more sustainable, for example by using hybrid trucks instead of diesel or letting soldiers on mission grow part of their food there. She is submitting a set of proposals on how to achieve this to Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense on Tuesday, she said in an interview with newspaper Trouw.
Bored soldiers at the Oranje barracks in Schaarsbergen regularly entertained themselves with drugs, alcohol and even prostitutes, according to a confidential Defense report from 2015, which the Volkskrant has in its possession.
According to the report, soldiers also damaged or stole considerable amounts of Defense equipment, held 'informal hazing', and there was a high risk of bullying, exclusion and inappropriate sexual behavior.
The Netherlands' Airmobile Brigade canceled a controversial hazing ritual last week after questions from Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld and State Secretary Barbara Visser, the Telegraaf reports
While visiting the Brigade on Wednesday last week, Visser asked about the so-called 'tiger test' that was planned for that night. The tiger test is a hazing ritual for the Charlie- or Tiger company that involves the consumption of alcohol to turn 'cubs' into 'tigers', according to the newspaper.
Last year there were five investigations within the Dutch Armed Forces into possible radicalization of employees, ANP reports based on documents received from Defense at the news wire's request. Three of the investigations concluded that the involved employees were not radicalized. The other two are still ongoing.
The new Dutch government is giving an extra 1.5 billion euros to Defense, sources told the Telegraaf based on the financial plans the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie sent to central planning office CPB. Two thirds of that money is for catching up on overdue maintenance, the rest for investment, according to the newspaper.
That the new government plans to push more money into Defense, comes as no surprise. During the campaigns preceding the parliamentary election in March, all parties except GroenLinks, SP and DENK said they wanted more money to go towards the Dutch armed forces.
A lack of equipment and training has the Netherlands' Corps Commandos in a bad position, RTL Nieuws reports based on a confidential assessment conducted by the Armed Forces. A number of training exercises have been suspended for months due to too little equipment. "The equipment is old and worn and therefore dangerous", the report reads, according to the broadcaster.
There will be no new investigation or prosecution in the explosion of a hand grenade in a Dutch army vehicle in Afghanistan in 2010, the Public Prosecutor announced. An analysis by the Koninklijke Marechaussee - a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military - did not reveal any new facts, the Telegraaf reports.
The leaders of the Dutch armed forces are divided about whether or not to combine the command of the Navy and Army's elite units. The merge is intended to increase speed and efficiency, but mutual distrust and fear of losing power are standing in the merge's way, the Telegraaf reports.
In practice the Army and Navy elite units already work together very often, but their command posts are still separated. The marines fall under the command or the Commander of the Naval Forces and the commandos under his counterpart in the army.
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.
The Ministry of Defence will need thousands of additional reservists over the next seven years, the Volkskrant reports.