The government’s advisory council on international affairs AIV has warned ministers that Dutch military capability has been seriously eroded.
AIV chairman and former defence minister Joris Voorhoeve says that taking into account the international developments, too little investment has been made in the armed forces.
‘As the threat from Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa increased the capability of our armed forces was further eroded during this government,’ Voorhoeve said in a press release accompanying the publication of the report.
‘Russia and the Dutch defence effort’ focuses explicitly on Russia. It has been strengthening its military capability since 2008 making the Baltic states more vulnerable to attack, Voorhoeve said.
The AIV is accusing the government of an overly positive tone when reporting to parliament about the state of the armed forces. In 2017 some €8.7bn was spent on the military which defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert called ‘sufficient to guarantee basic preparedness’.
But according to the AIV nothing like the proper investments were made. ‘The situation is very serious and it would be irresponsible to let it continue’, the report says.
The AIV says that in the next four years the defence budget needs to grow to match the Nato average and in following four years it must reach 2% of GDP.
‘Apart from the lack of basic preparedness there is no budget for sufficient support troops, let alone money to increase and modernise capability,’ Voorhoeve said. According to the AIV, Nato is highly critical of the lack of deployment readiness of the Dutch army and strengthening it should be the country’s highest priority.