Brent Scowcroft Center Visiting Fellow Lisa Aronsson writes for Carnegie Europe’s blog on why NATO’s two percent spending target is not realistic:
NATO’s 2 percent spending target is not realistic. Only the United States, the UK, Estonia, and Greece meet it. The UK, France, and Germany are likely to make further cuts to their defense budgets, and the UK’s spending will slip below 2 percent of GDP. The metric is also a poor indicator of national defense effort.
Planners across NATO understand that the way the alliance spends money is more problematic than the amount spent. The results are duplication, poor readiness, and a lack of deployability. NATO has tried to shift the emphasis away from the 2 percent target and onto more useful tools to address these problems. Initiatives such as Smart Defense, the Framework Nations concept, and NATO’s search for new metrics for assessing input and output are part of this effort. The key priority is to encourage smarter spending. Perhaps the crises in the alliance’s Eastern and Southern peripheries will push this process along.