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NATO Announces Increased Spending, New Command Structure

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Feb. 14 that NATO is changing its command structure and increasing defense spending among members in order to better face new security challenges.

The announcement to members of the press came after a meeting of defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. NATO will add three new commands to place greater emphasis on maritime security, logistics and military mobility, and cyber defense, according to Stoltenberg.

“We will establish a new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic, to help protect sea lines of communication between North America and Europe,” said Stoltenberg. “We will establish a new support command for logistics, reinforcement and military mobility. Improving the movement of troops and equipment is essential to our collective deterrence and defense. We will also designate some additional land component commands in Europe, to further improve coordination and rapid response for our forces,” Stoltenberg concluded.

“In 2014,” he added, “only 3 allies spent 2 percent of GDP or more on defense. This year, we expect 8 allies to meet or exceed the target, and by 2024, we expect at least 15 allies will spend 2 percent of GDP or more on defense.”

“We will also set up a new Cyber Operations Center at our military headquarters in SHAPE, to further strengthen our defenses,” he said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a press conference Feb. 14. NATO photo

Stoltenberg added that the 29 NATO members discussed continuing to increase burden sharing in the alliance.

“We all agreed that we have made great progress but there is still much work to be done,” he said. “In 2014, allies agreed to move towards investing 2 percent of GDP on defense within a decade. They also agreed to invest more in key military capabilities, and to contribute to NATO missions and operations. In other words: more cash, capabilities and contributions. Allies have decided to report annually on their progress. And today, we took stock of the progress in implementing the Defense Investment Pledge. After years of decline, since 2014 we have seen three years of increasing defense spending across Europe and Canada, amounting to an additional 46 billion U.S. dollars.”

“In 2014,” he added, “only 3 allies spent 2 percent of GDP or more on defense. This year, we expect 8 allies to meet or exceed the target, and by 2024, we expect at least 15 allies will spend 2 percent of GDP or more on defense.”


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