Action urged to stem shortage of soldiers

Efforts to reduce the structural shortfall of around 5,000 armed services personnel should be a priority for the government, MPs said during a debate on the defence ministry on Monday.

The shortfall is due to more people leaving than joining up – in total, the armed forces have a workforce of 65,000. In particular there is a shortage of skilled technicians and pilots.
The Labour party (PvdA) even went so far as to suggest that heavy equipment should be sold and the €3bn recovered spent on personnel. Labour MP Angelien Eijsink emphasised that a long-term vision is needed to get the armed forces into shape and make them affordable, says ANP. ‘More money is not the solution,’ she says.
The Christian Democrats said Labour’s plan is ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and ‘irresponsible’, reports ANP.
Later, junior defence minister Cees van der Knapp told MPs he had asked military chiefs to come up with a plan to increase recruitment.
A proposal from ChristenUnie MPs to give young fathers a year’s exemption from foreign postings was an ‘interesting idea’, Van der Knapp said.

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