NATO heads of state agreed to halt defense cuts and raise national defense spending back to the statutory two-percent of gross domestic product within the decade, according to the Alliance Secretary General’s annual report. “Our security environment has changed fundamentally … 2014 was a black year for European security,” including Russian aggression in Ukraine, and renewed terrorist and cyber-attacks, and conflict in the Middle East, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg stated in his report, released Jan. 30. NATO heads of state agreed at the Wales summit that “as economies recover” they will “make the most effective use of available funds, and strive for a more balanced sharing of the costs and responsibilities of their common defense,” stated the report. European defense expenditure has steadily declined since the Cold War. Despite adding 12 new member states, NATO European members spending dropped from $314 billion in 1990 to $250 billion in 2014. The cuts “diminish the options available to the Alliance” at a critical time, Stoltenberg added.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.