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NATO reports record defense spending by member countries

President Joe Biden shakes hands with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Associated Press/Photo by Mark Schiefelbein

NATO reports record defense spending by member countries

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Monday reported that, for the first time in the last decade, more than two-thirds of its members met the alliance’s defense spending goals. NATO member countries have each agreed to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product, or GDP, on defense. This year, 23 countries met that goal—more than double the number that did so last year. The alliance also reported a nearly 18 percent increase in its total defense expenditures from last year.

How are these numbers calculated? Each of NATO’s 32 member countries’ defense departments reports defense expenditures to the alliance, which publishes the data and estimates. The numbers include dollars that member countries spend on their armed forces, contribute to allies’ armed forces, or put in the alliance’s budget.

How have Western leaders responded to the numbers? President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at a meeting this week celebrated the defense spending numbers. Biden also specifically applauded increased support for Ukraine, according to a readout of the meeting.

Many alliance members were matching U.S. contributions to Ukraine’s war efforts, Stoltenberg said in remarks during his meeting with Biden. He added that many NATO member countries were buying U.S.-made weapons for their own defense. Not only did NATO members’ increased defense spending benefit U.S. national security, it also helped the American economy, Stoltenberg said.

Dig deeper: Read Eric Patterson’s column in WORLD Opinions about how the U.S. government owes it to its troops to deploy them wisely.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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