View Full Version : How much to spend on NATO

Bill Moore
07-13-2018, 09:08 AM
This article calls into question the simplistic agreement that NATO countries (including the U.S.) need to spend a specific percentage on defense. Why? What is the defense capability gap? How much does it cost? Then discuss cost sharing. Spending more money on defense does not automatically equate to more defense capability that matters.


NATO Doesn’t Need 4% Defense Spending

As The Washington Post has noted, Greece meets the 2-percent threshold because it spends a lot of money on military pensions and on weapons systems aimed at deterring its fellow NATO member, Turkey—neither of which makes America and Europe safer. Rachel Rizzo, an expert on trans-Atlantic security at the Center for New American Security, told me Germany could reach the 2-percent threshold by giving everyone in its Ministry of Defense a raise. That wouldn’t do much to enhance security either.

07-15-2018, 08:55 AM

As you may have noted before President Trump's visit to the UK policy on defence spending has gained some traction, if only gauged from media headlines. The reality for the UK is that other issues occupy political attention, a potent mix of Brexit and the far wider political and public attraction of spending elsewhere than defence.

I expect a good number of European politicians, plus a significant public minority, are concerned that being a member of NATO and pursuing national defence led to a long war in Afghanistan - which had wide public support at the start - supporting the USA. If defence spending was to grow it would have to be for defence inside NATO's AoR, not further afield.

IISS has a commentary and points out that:
First, US direct spending on European defence currently amounts to just over 5% of the total US defence budget, as measured by the IISS.

There is an interesting column by Professor Paul Rogers on NATO; a key passage:
On its own account the alliance faces (https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/nato-s-glistening-new-headquarters-is-home-to-an-alliance-with-old-problems-1.749007) three tough problems: Russia, Afghanistan, and the changing context of global security.