NATO Members Must Step Up and Spend More on Defense

Gen. Philip Breedlove, Amb. Douglas Lute, and Gen. Knud Bartels, June 3, 2014Since 1949 NATO has been the Trans-Atlantic community’s answer to crises: the Cold War, the Balkans, and, most recently, Afghanistan. This September, NATO leaders will come together in Wales to ensure that the world’s strongest, most durable alliance continues to meet new challenges for the years to come. . . .

We harbour no illusions about the challenges we face. The crisis in Ukraine poses a danger to stability in Europe, and Russia’s illegal actions change the strategic landscape. Our nations must recommit to investing in our common defense and to ensuring that NATO has the capabilities required – experienced troops, modern equipment, world-class training, regular operational exercises, and ongoing education. These elements of military capability depend on responsible levels of national defense spending.

The United Kingdom has long demonstrated its enduring commitment to the Alliance with significant defense capabilities underpinned by sustained spending that meets the NATO pledge of two percent of GDP. Since 1949, the United Kingdom has been a leader within the most durable and effective military alliance in history. The United States joins with the UK and others to call on all 28 Allies to invest proportionately in defense to meet the challenges that lay ahead. As national economies recover from the worst recession in NATO’s history, each Ally must recommit to doing its part. Shared benefits mean shared responsibilities. . . .

[W]hile threats have changed over time, one simple truth has remained the same and underpinned NATO’s success: we are stronger when we act together as a force for peace and stability. NATO is the secure foundation that allows our economies to prosper and our citizens to be safe.

Ambassador Douglas Lute is the US Permanent Representative to NATO.

Image: Gen. Philip Breedlove, Amb. Douglas Lute, and Gen. Knud Bartels, June 3, 2014 (photo: NATO)