Dutch armed forces are shrinking

The size of the Dutch armed forces is shrinking so rapidly there will be no need to make any compulsory redundancies because of government cutbacks, according to military unions on Monday.

By last month, the size of the armed forces had shrunk to 41,600 personnel, which is just 400 above the required total in the defence ministry’s spending plans, the GOV/MHB officers union said.

‘Staff have no trust left in the department and are tired of all the reorganisations,’ the union said. ‘In particular young people are leaving and need to be replaced in a couple of years.’

Since 2011, 850 soldiers and 1,100 civilian workers have left the armed forces every year.

Last month, a number of defence experts warned that Dutch military capacity is being hurt by the cuts.

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