The Pentagon believes that members of the alliance should “pay their fair share.”
On Friday, ahead a meeting of the US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis with defense ministers of NATO states, spokesman for the Pentagon, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, said that members of the alliance should “pay their fair share.”
“We have had a long-standing policy in our government: we want everyone to pay their fair share when it comes to defense,” Davis told reporters at an off-camera briefing.
The statement was made just ahead of the meeting between the US Defense Secretary and defense ministers of other members of the alliance, which will be held in Brussels, Belgium, next week.
According to a membership requirement, each member of NATO should spend at least two percent of their gross domestic product on their military budget. However, only five nations, including the US, fulfill this condition.
During his campaign trail, US President Donald Trump repeatedly stressed that NATO countries must perform that condition, as well as called the alliance “obsolete,” as it was not doing enough to fight against terrorism.
As the Pentagon spokesman noted, these two topics would be on the agenda at the meeting next week.
“We have always said we expect the benchmark that we want people to reach is two percent of their GDP – gross domestic product,” Davis said. “And we do that, and a couple of our other friends do it, but some don’t. And the issue becomes one of we want to make sure that they are fulfilling their obligations financially…by what they’re spending on their military.”
The US Defense Secretary already had telephone conversations with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and his Canadian and British counterparts, as well as held a meeting with German Defense Minister Ursula Von de Leyen on Friday.
“The two hit it off very well,” Davis said. “They discussed the importance of the alliance between the U.S. and Germany, both bilaterally and as members of NATO,” the Pentagon spokesman noted.
According to Davis, Mattis thanked Von de Leyen for Germany’s leadership in NATO activities and admitted the role of her country in combating terrorism, especially in the frameworks of the military coalition, fighting against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
“Both look forward to working together at the NATO defense ministerial and Munich Security Conference next week,” Davis concluded.