Dutch army slashes budget for reservists

soldiers marchingThe Dutch army is cutting its budget for 3,600 reservists and can no longer guarantee proper capacity for its work in the Netherlands, according to an internal document in the possession of television current affairs show Nieuwsuur.

‘The limited use of reservists after July 1, 2015 has hit my unit hard,’ lieutenant general Mart de Kruif is quoted as saying. ‘The need to take this step directly contravenes the minister’s policy.’

Reservists are used to support the professional army in the Netherlands but can also be sent on foreign missions. Defence minister Jeanine Hennis has described their work as ‘essential’.

‘I can no longer guarantee to meet all our obligations in the Netherlands,’ De Kruif wrote. Unmanned aircraft used for observation can no longer fly because of technical problems. Tanks used in fighting heath fires are no longer safe and there is insufficient money to train explosives experts, he stated.

The defence ministry has refused to comment in detail but admits there are some difficulties, Nieuwsuur said.

Last week it emerged the armed forces will have more to spend in 2016 after years of budget cuts.

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