A look at the Defence news 18 – 25 April

On 18 April, the Royal Netherlands Navy reported that HNLMS Van Amstel had intercepted 2 transports of cocaine in the Caribbean in just 1 night. Even before the suspects and drugs from the first vessel had been handed over to the American coast guard, the RNLN multipurpose frigate had stopped a second vessel that was smuggling drugs. In total, almost 700 kilos of drugs were confiscated.

Minister and CHOD visit Dutch soldiers in unsettled Afghanistan

On 20 and 21 April, Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Chief of Defence General Tom Middendorp visited Dutch military personnel in Afghanistan. The Netherlands is currently contributing about 100 military personnel to NATO’s Operation Resolute Support.

During the Warsaw summit of 8 and 9 July 2016, NATO concluded that international assistance remains essential to guarantee security in the country. The decision was therefore made to extend the current phase of the mission.

Hennis: “Although the Afghans have only borne full responsibility for their own security since 2015, for the time being they still need our assistance. We shouldn’t look at the country too much through western eyes, this is a long-term issue. A more secure and stable Afghanistan is in the interest of us all.”

The minister recalled that the Dutch deployment is strongly interwoven with the German presence. The 2 countries are working closely together under German command in Mazar-e Sharif. Germany has indicated that it greatly values the Dutch contribution. The mission in Afghanistan is expected to be discussed during the special NATO meeting in May in the context of burden-sharing and counterterrorism.

Dutch military personnel provide medical aid after Afghanistan attacks

On 21 April, 3 Dutch medics gave medical assistance to a number of Afghan colleagues at an Afghan army base in the northern province of Balkh. They had been wounded in an attack by the Taliban.
The Dutch medics are part of the medical team stationed at the camp to support military personnel taking part in NATO’s Operation Resolute Support. At no point were they in danger, neither were they involved in the combat actions.

DISS annual report: increasing destabilisation due to Russia

In its 2016 annual report, the Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) warns against destabilisation due to Russia and considerable and ever-more sophisticated cyber threats. During the past year, the Russian threat against Dutch, European and NATO interests has increased.

The current destabilisation has been caused by hybrid warfare carried out by Russia and Russia’s worldwide distribution of advanced weapon systems to, among others, anti-Western regimes. On top of that, there is the disruptive impact of cyber threats: hackers can be used to spy, to manipulate information and to sabotage vital networks and systems. The effects could be damaging to the Netherlands armed forces and to the Dutch economy and infrastructure. The DISS monitors all of the abovementioned activities that carry a threat.