No, this is not The Onion.
Dutch military officials forgot to buy winter clothes for their navy soldiers ahead of a winter exercise in Central Norway, and have now resorted to asking the soldiers to go to the stores themselves and buy their own warm clothes… seemingly having forgotten that it can get a little chilly in the Norwegian mountains this time of year…
In what had to be re-read and re-translated numerous times to believe it, Aftenposten reports that around 1,000 soldiers have now been told to go to the store and get warmer clothes as soon as possible, after special Dutch parliamentary decision was made to ensure funds were made available.
Secretary of State Barbara Visser had to assure politicians from both the government parties and the opposition that soldiers attending the Trident Juncture NATO exercise in Norway from October-November will not have to cover the cost of winter clothes from their own pocket, promising that the soldiers will receive an advance of 1000 euros each.
The Dutch Defense regularly sends marines and elite forces to winter training in Norway, but in this case, according to Visser, they had not expected it to get very cold in Norway late in the fall, since earlier experiences from the same season in Lithuania indicated that warm clothes are not required.
Here’s a map to help…
All of which is even more farcical since NATO detail the goal of the Trident Juncture exercise:
“Trident Juncture will test NATO’s ability to train and operate together, also in the northern parts of the NATO area. It will also test the Alliance’s ability to operate in cold weather and difficult terrain.”
Politicians from most parties in parliament reacted with disbelief when the newspaper de Telegraaf revealed that the Armed Forces do not have warm clothes for their soldiers.
For politicians it’s a mystery how to get in this situation. There is money set aside for the purchase of warm clothes and Dutch companies say they can deliver. But the Armed Forces purchasing department, called the CPU, has not managed to get what it needs.
In Parliament, Visser could not explain what has gone wrong, other than that the exercise may have moved to colder areas.
We wonder if President Trump has heard how efficient and prepared one of his NATO allies really is…