U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines recently joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to stress the importance of NATO members fully meeting spending commitments ahead of the NATO summit next week. Since 2006, NATO member nations have agreed to commit a minimum of 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense spending. The letter notes that despite increasing levels of aggressive behavior by authoritarian nations, particularly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many member states continue to fail to meet their treaty obligations.
“Failure of many of our allies- including some of NATO’s largest members- to meet commitments of 2% of GDP on defense has the potential to undermine American support for the alliance, severely limits Europe’s ability to contribute to our shared interest in defending against Russia, and is a source of long-term instability in Europe, not to mention frustration for American taxpayers,” the letter reads.
“We are not asking our NATO allies to do anything they have not already pledged to do. In 2014 at the NATO Summit in Wales attended by the Obama-Biden Administration, all NATO member countries committed to maintain or move toward meeting the 2% defense guideline within 10 years. Through 2022, according to NATO, only seven have, including the United States.’ None of the others are major economies, except the United Kingdom. This means that despite increased spending by some, the US, which accounts for a little more than half of the combined alliance GDP, ultimately pays 70% of NATO’s combined defense expenditures,” the letter continues.
See the full letter sent to President Biden HERE.
- In June 2023, Senator Sullivan succeeded in including a provision in the 2024 NDAA that advanced from the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that requires the Secretary of Defense to prioritize those NATO member countries that have achieved defense spending of not less than 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024 when making decisions about U.S. military basing, training, and exercises.
- In August 2022, Senator Sullivan’s amendment declaring that all NATO allies should meet their funding obligations unanimously passed the Senate as part of a resolution approving Finland and Sweden’s ascension to the NATO alliance.