Former junior defence minister Jack de Vries has joined lobby firm Hill & Knowlton, which has a contract from the Dutch aerospace agency to lobby in favour of the Joint Strike Fighter jet project.
While junior minister, De Vries was in charge of government plans to replace the air force's fleet of aging F-16s with the JSF aircraft. According to the Telegraaf, he was a major supporter of the project.
De Vries, a Christian Democrat, was forced to step down after revelations he had had an affair with a subordinate at the ministry. He then set up his own PR company.
The former minister will be public affairs chief of the Dutch operation in his new job.
Group director Ingo Heinen said it was not yet decided if De Vries would also have a role in promoting the JSF. 'We have to be careful about this,' he said.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: While in office, Jack de Vries was an unconditional and uncritical supporter of the JSF, and refused to accept or even admit any contrary opinion about the program, whether by the Dutch Court of Audit, the Dutch Parliament, the US Government Accountability Office, or any of the many other reputable organizations that dared question the wisdom of that choice.
It is thus heartening to see that he has joined the P.R. firm that lobbies in the Netherlands in favor of the JSF.
This demonstrates that he is so dedicated to ensuring the very best acquisition outcomes for his country, and that he takes the future of Dutch air power so seriously, that he has bravely brushed aside potential ethical concerns to assume a position that could allow him to selflessly devote his energy to ensuring that the Royal Netherlands Air Force obtains the best all-round fighter, of which he is, of course, the only impartial and credible judge.
Small-minded critics may well point a concerned finger, but Jack de Vries’ relationship with JSF manufacturer Lockheed Martin, even if indirect, has historical precedents in the Netherlands, going back to the same company’s ultimately successful, if unorthodox, 1960s sales campaign to sell C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to the Dutch air force.)