Fluctuations in the AIVD budget will have an impact for years to come

Budget cuts lacked justification; turbulence was the result

The budget cuts at the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD), amounting to €68 million, ordered as part of the Rutte/Asscher coalition agreement (autumn 2012) have left deep scars within the organization. These cuts amounted to one third of the total budget for the AIVD, but have since been reversed by the government partly due to the growing threat from jihadists, fighters returning from Syria and the occupation of the Crimea by Russia. This reverse has occurred in three stages. Meanwhile, however, the AIVD has already taken steps to ensure that money can be saved in the short term, and its long-term strategy has also been scaled back. Although the management of the service has sought to focus personnel cuts on support staff and IT, the number of operational employees who left the service in 2014 was twice as large as the number for 2012. Valuable knowledge and experience has been lost. In 2012, the Cabinet did not take sufficient account of the specific dynamics regarding staffing levels and the use of information technology that characterizes a knowledge-intensive service such as the AIVD. The original cuts were not adequately substantiated by the Cabinet. The consequences of this turbulent budgetary period will continue to be felt for several years, also posing a risk to the service's operational deployment. New staff are now being recruited, but the internal human resource pool has been severely depleted due to the cutbacks.