The Dutch military arriving for exercises in Norway were left without a warm uniform during the cold, the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported.
The Armed Forces of the Netherlands have not bought winter uniforms for the military, so they themselves will have to buy them for themselves, the newspaper said.
According to the representative of the Dutch Ministry of Defense, Barbara Visser, the organization did not predict that this time of year in Norway would be so cold. She explained this with the fact that during the autumn exercises in Lithuania the warm uniforms were not needed.
Speaking before parliament, Visser stressed that the military should not pay the cost of buying appropriate uniforms. You must compensate your expenses in the amount of one thousand euros.
“The military must receive the necessary clothing. I do not want that to happen again,” she said.
Dutch lawmakers were outraged by the revelation, blasting it as “super embarrassing” and a “bizarre state of affairs.” Some criticized the minister’s way of handling the underwear crisis, expressing doubt whether the soldiers will be able to buy the right clothes on their own.
“Safety is primarily the responsibility of the employer. How does the State Secretary know that the soldiers will buy the right clothes?” Dutch MP Andreas Bosman said, as quoted by the NL Times newspaper.
The defense ministry blamed a “lack of time” for the shortage, adding that sending soldiers shopping was an “emergency” measure which will not be repeated.
In all, in Norway there are now about a thousand Dutch soldiers.
NATO’s Trident Juncture exercises will run from October 25 to November 7 in the Trondelag, More og Romsdal, Oppland and Hedmark regions, including Ostfold, Akershus and Nordland regions. They will join the list of major exercises in Norway in the last decades with participation of 40,000 soldiers from 30 countries, as well as 70 ships and 130 aircraft.
All in all, this is quite bizarre, and points further to NATO estimates that Russia would be able to defeat all of Europe’s armies, united, within a matter of months if the U.S was not also involved in such a conflict. This also does not bode well for the creation of the European Army, especially so if it is truly to be independent of NATO. Others, however have noted, that a European Army would not view the Russian Federation as its primary threat.
That a northern European country would not already have as a standard, winter gear for its soldiers, reveals the lack of thinking and planning.