Threat assessment Security services 2021

Who threatens our safety, and how?

This is a joint analysis by the AIVD, MIVD and NCTV and provides insight into which national security interests are (may) be harmed by state actors and how this happens or can happen. The threat assessment aims to increase awareness of the nature and scope of the threat from state actors. With this, the document aims to give direction to the (policy-related) efforts to counter these threats.

The analysis of these services shows that governments, knowledge institutions and companies are all three targets and can become targets of activities that can harm the Dutch democratic legal order and national security, and that means are used such as influencing and interfering (including spreading disinformation), physical and digital espionage activities, (digital) preparation for and actual disruption and sabotage, military activities (including intimidation and display of force) and the use of economic instruments (acquisitions and investments).

In this video the AIVD, MIVD and NCTV say the following about the threat assessment (see the pdf below):

"Dutch national security interests are vulnerable and are substantially threatened and affected by other countries. This is evident from the threat assessment for state actors that we, the AIVD, MIVD and NCTV present.

The threat assessment specifies the threat from other countries. State actors are focusing on an increasing number of different areas. They do not only look at the classic targets, such as the national government and companies within the vital infrastructure, they take a broader view. To counter these threats, we bring parties and expertise together. At all levels, we link insight into the threat to insight into the interests and targets we want to protect.

Dutch society and economy are strongly intertwined with geopolitical circumstances and security. Our open economy offers many opportunities, but it also makes us vulnerable in less favorable international relations. That is why the AIVD also conducts structural investigations into economic security, but also into espionage and unwanted foreign interference.

For example, the AIVD recently disrupted a large network of human resources at high-tech companies and educational institutions. That network was run by a Russian intelligence officer. The activities affect our businesses, our economy, our prosperity and our security. Therefore, alertness is required.

We are increasingly seeing Russian and Chinese espionage activities in Dutch top sectors and knowledge institutions. From our research it became clear that dozens of Chinese students obtained their PhDs in military-relevant technology at Dutch universities. They turned out to be directly connected to the Chinese armed forces or Chinese defense industry. China openly declares that it wants to be the most powerful country in the world by 2049. To achieve this, the country is looking for high-quality technological knowledge.

Local, national, international, public, private: only by working together can we counter these state threats and protect our open society. So be vigilant for the threat described in the image."


Source: AIVD, MIVD & NCTV (2021), Dreigingsbeeld Statelijke Actoren, online gepubliceerd op 3 februari 2021. URL: Laatst geraadpleegd: 01-08-2023.

Image credits

Icon image: Ha11ok | Pixabay | Chess - Schaken