On 19 December 2019, the Dutch government sent the outlines of the 2020 year plan (in Dutch) of the General Intelligence & Security Service (AIVD) — here — and the Military Intelligence & Security Service (MIVD) — here — to the parliament. In Dutch it is referred to as “Jaarplanbrief”, which literally translates to “Year Plan Letter”.
The remainder of this post consists of a translation of the section “Priorities and focus” in both letters, ±1000 words in total.
AIVD Priorities and focus 2020
The jihadist-terrorist threat picture is generally unchanged and is an important priority for the AIVD. The situation is still characterised by a threat of attacks in the West emanating from both globally active jihadist organisations and local networks and individuals. Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qaeda (AQ) have been the main exogenous jihadist threats for some time. Both organisations are still focused on carrying out attacks in the West. In addition, ISIS and AQ encourage their jihadist supporters in the West to carry out attacks independently.
The threat picture is also determined by returnees. In general, returnees have a higher threat profile than jihadists who have never travelled to a combat zone). Among the men in particular there is evidence of combat and explosion training, combat experience, tenacity and transnational jihadist contacts. When they return they can use these experiences and contacts to strengthen and/or mobilise local networks into violent action. The AIVD continues to deploy a substantial part of the available resources and capabilities to investigate terrorist threats by maintaining its intelligence positions at the desired level. In this context, the (inter)national cooperation with partner organisations, including the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG), is also being shaped.
Radicalisation of various population groups In the Netherlands, the AIVD is concerned about and prompted to intensify its investigations into this issue. In its investigations into radicalisation from an Islamic perspective, the AIVD focuses on non-violent radical Islam in the Netherlands in general. Extra focus is placed on the drivers of non-violent radical Islam. The AIVD also investigates Salafist institutions in the Netherlands. The focus here is on the funding itself and its influence and interference.
The research efforts in the field of extremism will be continued. The focus of research remains on the, sometimes violent, hard core of left-wing and right-wing extremists.
Anti-Islam feelings, fear of loss of national identity and ethnonationalism are the most important motives within the current right-wing extremist movement. An increasingly violent discourse is visible among right-wing extremists on social media in particular. In addition, right-wing terrorist attacks abroad can lead to copying behaviour. This broadens the AIVD’s field of attention from a right-wing extremist to (potentially) a right-wing terrorist threat. Clarification of the potential threat is essential if we are to offer our chain partners and authorities the prospect of action at national and local level.
Left-wing extremism in the Netherlands is characterised by individual or group activities in areas such as anti-fascism, asylum and immigration policy and anarchism. Dutch left-wing extremists/activists are often active on several themes.
Weapons of mass destruction pose a major threat to international peace and security. The Netherlands has signed treaties aimed at countering the proliferation of such weapons. The AIVD and the MIVD jointly investigate countries suspected of developing or already possessing weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in violation of these treaties.
Investigations on countries
The AIVD conducts investigations in other countries in order to provide the Dutch government with background information and prospects for action. This information can be used in consultations on subjects affecting Dutch national and international political interests. Geo-political and other developments around the world determine which countries are investigated by the AIVD.
Espionage and undesirable foreign interference
States often use digital means to gain access to vital parts of Dutch society, such as the energy or telecom sector, in order to be able to commit sabotage in this way. Russia, China and Iran, among others, show excessive interest in information from the Netherlands and companies operating in the Netherlands. All these activities can damage Dutch national security, sovereignty and economic interests. In 2020 the AIVD will expand its investigative capabilities against the use of digital resources by other countries.
In addition to the deployment of digital means of spying, in 2020 foreign powers will also continue to carry out traditional intelligence activities in the Netherlands or against Dutch interests. The main objective of espionage activities is the gathering of (secret) information in the fields of politics, defence, science and economics. In addition, they develop activities to surreptitiously influence political and economic decision-making or public opinion.
High-quality digital attacks, by Russia, China and Iran among others, aimed at espionage, influence, sabotage or terrorism pose a major and increasing threat to the integrity and confidentiality of the Dutch government. The AIVD provides (external) stakeholders with information security advice. This is done by the National Communications Security Agency (NBV), which also develops and evaluates security products for securing state secret and sensitive information.
The AIVD’s investigations are aimed not only at providing an insight into all aspects of existing, already known threats, but also at the timely identification and identification of as yet unknown threats, both within and outside the GAI&V.
MIVD Priorities and focus 2020
Investigations on countries and mission areas
In 2020, the MIVD will conduct research into Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, among other things. It also supports the deployment of Dutch military personnel in the context of enhanced forward presence (eFP). Together with the AIVD, the MIVD also investigates developments in the Kingdom’s overseas territories.
The MIVD and the AIVD jointly investigate countries suspected of developing or already possessing weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in violation of treaties. This investigation will be continued in 2020.
Military technological developments and proliferation
The MIVD also conducts research into military technological developments and the proliferation of high-grade military technology and weapon systems to crisis areas, so that the Dutch armed forces can be properly equipped against existing and future threats. This research will also be continued in 2020.
Espionage and influence
Espionage, influence and sabotage are a constant threat to the Netherlands and its allies. States with great geopolitical ambitions are looking for information to modernise their armed forces, strengthen their economies or influence political decision-making. This can be classic espionage, digital espionage or a combination of both. Hacking offers opportunities for sabotage and influencing political and administrative decision-making or public opinion. By means of takeovers or investments, states also try to obtain information or create strategic dependencies. The MIVD investigates these themes from a military perspective. In 2020, the MIVD will increase its commitment to these themes.
Radicalisation and extremism
Research into possible forms of radicalisation among defence personnel will be continued in 2020. The aim of this research is to identify undesirable behaviour in good time. The MIVD advises on the measures to be taken to identify and deal with these threats. Promoting awareness and understanding requires permanent attention.