Viewing cable 05THEHAGUE2064, NETHERLANDS: DUTCH THINKING ON ISAF III; FUTURE OF
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|05THEHAGUE2064||2005-07-27 08:08||2011-01-17 00:12||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy The Hague|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 002064 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2015 TAGS: MARR MOPS NL PGOV PREL NATO SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: DUTCH THINKING ON ISAF III; FUTURE OF DUTCH NAVY, JSF Classified By: Ambassador Cl... 37388,7/27/2005 8:12,05THEHAGUE2064,"Embassy The Hague",CONFIDENTIAL,,"This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. ","C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 002064 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2015 TAGS: MARR MOPS NL PGOV PREL NATO SUBJECT: NETHERLANDS: DUTCH THINKING ON ISAF III; FUTURE OF DUTCH NAVY, JSF Classified By: Ambassador Clifford M. Sobel for reasons 1.4 (b,d). ¶1. (C) Summary: Ambassador, DATT and ODC Chief met with Dutch CHOD Gen. Dick Berlijn on July 19. Gen. Berlijn reviewed Dutch thinking on participation in ISAF III, including a PRT consisting initially of 1000 personnel (later to be expanded to 1200) deployed most likely to Uruzgan province. Later discussions on July 26 with the Acting Director of Operations at the Dutch MFA confirmed this preliminary plan. The Dutch will host the Canadians and British on August 17-18 to follow-up on the force generation conference. Berlijn noted that a compromise in Parliament prevented plans for an 1800-man deployment, as the main opposition party wanted personnel available for a potential African mission. Berlijn also talked about the possibility of U.S. support -- either through proximity to Dutch forces or embedded U.S. intelligence personnel -- as potentially helping convince Dutch Minister of Defense Henk Kamp and others in the Dutch government to deploy to Uruzgan. ¶2. (C) Cont. Summary: Gen. Berlijn reviewed changes occurring in the Dutch Navy. Quoting Minister Kamp, Berlijn described the Dutch Navy as ""demoralized and adrift"". Berlijn explained that they need to become expeditionary, relying less on their frigates and more on coastal patrol vessels and landing platform ships to support land battles. He outlined the possibility of selling six ""M"" frigates -- two to Belgium and four to Chile -- proceeds from which could potentially be used to purchase coastal patrol vessels, landing platform dock ships, Tactical Tomahawk, helicopters, and other assets. ¶3. (C) Cont. Summary: Berlijn also stated that he was interested in finding a way to prioritize the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program within the Dutch government. He hoped to develop a plan to pursue the purchase of an initial, ""acceptably safe"" number of 50-60 JSFs in 2006, in order to ""depoliticize"" the issue prior to the May 2007 elections. By depoliticizing the issue through this initial purchase, Berlijn suggested that the Dutch could keep options open regarding the total eventual purchase of 80 or more JSFs. End Summary. -------------- ISAF Stage III -------------- ¶4. (C) Gen. Berlijn initially briefed on Dutch plans to participate in ISAF Stage III. These plans are still by and large under discussion within the Dutch government; Dutch FM Bot has been negotiating with Parliament over ISAF III for several weeks. MajGen Cobelens, MOD Director of Operations, drafted the preliminary plan presented to NATO during the July 25 force generation conference. According to the Acting Director of Operations at the Dutch MFA on July 26, this preliminary plan calls for Dutch partnership with the Canadians and Brits at the Forward Support Base (FSB) in Kandahar beginning in April 2006. The deployment will last for eighteen months; command responsibility for the FSB will be on a six-month rotation with the Canadians taking the first watch. The Dutch will assume command of the FSB in November 2006. ¶5. (C) According to the Acting Director of Operations at the Dutch MFA, the preliminary Dutch plan proposed a Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Uruzgan province. The Dutch plan to initially deploy 1000 personnel, ramping up to 1200 personnel by the time they assume charge of the Kandahar FSB in November 2006. The 1200-person deployment will also include approximately 4 Chinooks, 4-6 Apaches, and the 4 F-16s currently stationed in Kabul. The Dutch MOD will host Canada and the UK on August 17-18 to follow-up on ISAF Stage III proposal details. (Note: A read-out from USNATO suggests that the United States may be invited to attend the meeting as well; according to the Dutch MFA, only the Brits and Canadians have thus far been invited. Post will seek more information on possible U.S. attendance. End note.) ¶6. (C) Gen. Berlijn explained that he was limited to a PRT consisting of 1000 personnel due to restrictions set by Parliament. Berlijn initially wanted 1800 personnel, but the Labor Party (PvdA) demanded that some personnel also be available for possible operations in Africa (NFI). A compromise within Parliament led to the 1000-person restriction to accommodate the Labor Party. (Note: Dutch governments prefer to make military deployment decisions backed by a parliamentary super-majority, usually to include the main opposition party. End note.) While the number of personnel in the PRT will eventually increase to 1200, the Acting Director of Operations at the Dutch MFA explained that this number is a ""maximum"" number set by Parliament that cannot be exceeded, and will also include air technicians and support for their deployed helicopters and F-16s. Actually, the Dutch initial plan calls for a fully operational PRT of 1568 men; due to the 1200 restriction set by Parliament, the Dutch were actively encouraging the Australians to partner with them in the PRT. ¶7. (C) According to Berlijn, the Dutch had not yet agreed internally (as of July 19) on the location of the PRT. While the Dutch preliminary plan proposed during the force generation conference calls for a PRT deployment in Uruzgan, the subject is still open for debate. Berlijn and other members of the military staff were strongly recommending that the Dutch troops be deployed to Uruzgan province in central Afghanistan, where they could, in his view, make a real difference in a challenging environment. Others in the government, however, wanted the Dutch to deploy to the safer province of Nimruz near the Iranian border. Berlijn discussed the possibility of U.S. support -- either through proximity to Dutch forces or embedding U.S. intelligence within Dutch forces -- as potentially helping convince his minister and others in the Dutch government that they can and should deploy to Uruzgan. -------------------- Future of Dutch Navy -------------------- ¶8. (C) Following a question on the status of potential Tactical Tomahawk acquisition, Gen. Berlijn provided an extended background explanation on changes occurring in the Dutch Navy. According to Berlijn, Dutch Minister of Defense Kamp recently described the Dutch Navy as ""demoralized and adrift"". Kamp felt that the Navy relied too heavily upon their frigates. The Navy needed to reorient and ""focus on tasks"", becoming ""expeditionary and more coastal"". ¶9. (C) After studying the issue, Berlijn stated that the Dutch need to sell some of their frigates and buy more coastal patrol vessels (CPVs) and landing platform dock (LPD) ships. Berlijn cautioned that convincing Dutch admirals to sell their frigates would be very difficult -- ""Getting the Admirals to give up their frigates is like getting a fighter pilot to give up his fighter"" (Note: Berlijn is a fighter pilot.). Berlijn stated that he wants the Navy to support land battle and theater ballistic missile defense (TBMD). He expressed firm support for a Dutch submarine capability, noting that ""the Dutch are in the submarine business"". In that respect, he needed to put an end to the current debate on submarines within the Dutch government. Berlijn also noted that they are looking at a study to improve its oiler ship, including its capacity to incorporate more helicopters in order to support Dutch troops in the field or for use during amphibious deployments. ¶10. (C) Berlijn then discussed the possibility of selling six ""M"" frigates, which he described as ""very sensitive"" as the Dutch are in competition with the Brits in this regard. He stated that the Belgians are interested in purchasing two frigates; the Chileans have expressed interest in buying the other four. (Note: In a conversation with Dutch FM Bot on July 21, Bot told ambassador that he was not in favor of selling the frigates, but would not/not disagree with Kamp in Cabinet. Bot noted, however, that there was resistance in the Dutch Navy regarding the sale of the frigates. End note.) Berlijn further explained that if the Dutch sold these frigates, proceeds could potentially be used to purchase coastal patrol vessels, landing platform dock ships, Tactical Tomahawk, helicopters, and other assets. -------------------- Joint Strike Fighter -------------------- ¶11. (C) Berlijn then turned discussion to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), and noted that he was looking for ways to prioritize JSF in the Dutch government. He wished to ""depoliticize"" the issue prior to the May 2007 elections by working to get a commitment from the Dutch government in 2006 for the purchase of an initial, ""acceptably safe"" number of 50-60 JSFs. By depoliticizing the issue with this initial purchase, he suggested that options remained open to eventually buy over 80 JSFs in total. He commented that ""even the leftists agree that this is the best fighter we could acquire"". Berlijn acknowledged that if the Dutch want to keep their aerospace industry alive, they must be actively involved with both JSF and the Airbus 380. ------------------------------- Tactical Tomahawks; UAV Project ------------------------------- ¶12. (C) Berlijn noted that the Dutch are still committed to the acquisition of Tactical Tomahawks, but it needed to occur sequentially following the development and construction of coastal patrol vessels. (Note: Selling the six ""M"" frigates and replacing them with newly-built corvettes -- thus providing work for the Dutch ship-building industry -- may yield sufficient parliamentary support for acquisition of Tactical Tomahawk, which could be employed on the Dutch Navy's new Aegis-equivalent LCF frigates. End note.) Berlijn briefly addressed the Dutch unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) project in partnership with the French. According the Berlijn, the partnership helps diffuse tensions within the Dutch government regarding the perception that the Dutch only buy military equipment from the United States. Berlijn explained, however, that the program has stalled as the French have taken a ""90 degree turn"". The French Defense Minister is scheduled to visit the Netherlands in September; the UAV project will be on the agenda for discussion. SOBEL