Getting to Two Percent across NATO

Brussels NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg cited “significant progress” towards implementing the Alliance’s readiness action plan and building rapid response capabilities, such as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. However, “our efforts to adapt the Alliance must be funded,” he said. The North Atlantic Council’s defense ministers this week will review progress made towards implementing the “defense investment pledge” made at Wales, where member states agreed to move towards spending two percent of their gross domestic product on defense. Prior to the start of the meetings in Brussels, NATO released figures that revealed five NATO allies hit the two percent target in 2014: Estonia, Greece, the United Kingdom, Poland, and the United States. “That’s good news, but the picture is mixed,” a senior NATO policy official told reporters on background at the Alliance’s headquarters on June 23. While 18 NATO allies are expected to increase their spending in “real terms,” he added, “that means 10 have not.” Even as NATO ramps up reforms and new initiatives, Alliance-wide spending is forecasted to go down 1.5 percent in the coming year. This is on top of declines in defense investments already seen among European member states. “This is actually a commitment that NATO is not imposing on the leaders, but leaders have imposed on NATO staff,” US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute told reporters regarding the spending report. The report will be annual going forward, with the next update to be released at the Warsaw Summit next year.