On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed to push NATO members to increase their military spending.
NATO wants its members to dedicate 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to military spending, a goal the alliance has been struggling to meet. According to a March report issued by Stoltenberg, in 2021, only eight out of 30 alliance members reached that goal.
“We need to make sure that we continue to ensure that NATO allies are investing more,” Stoltenberg said. “Across Europe and Canada, we have seen now seven consecutive years of increased defense spending and more and more allies are meeting the 2% guideline.”
Austin stressed that the 2% guideline was only the minimum spending that the US would like to see. “Let me just say that spending 2% of GDP is a floor and not a ceiling,” he said.
The US remains by far the largest contributor to NATO. According to Stoltenberg’s March report, the US accounts for 51% of NATO’s combined GDP and 69% of combined military expenditure. In 2021, the US spent about 3.5% of its GDP on its military.
On Friday, Germany’s lower house of parliament approved a plan to boost military spending by $107 billion over the next five years. The funding will increase Germany’s military expenditure to about 2% of its GDP but as a multi-year average.