Secretary General: Hold Line on Spending, Boost Capabilities
By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2013 Emerging powers increasing defense spending as NATO allies decrease theirs poses a risk to the alliance’s military capacity and political credibility, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels today.
During a news conference at the alliance’s headquarters, Rasmussen said NATO’s 28 nations must hold the line on defense spending while working together to close gaps in capabilities.
Though these gaps, potentially widened by the rise of emerging powers, could limit Europe’s ability to work with North America, Rasmussen acknowledged that sound fiscal policy also is sound security policy.
“Governments must reduce deficits and borrowing. You can’t be safe if you are broke,” the secretary general said. “But in turn, our prosperity rests on our security. We have to invest to keep our societies safe, because security threats won’t go away while we focus on fixing our economies.”
Defense spending decisions now will have an impact on the security of the next generation, the secretary general said.
“There is a price to pay for security,” he added, “but the cost of insecurity is unacceptable.”
In releasing his annual report, the secretary general highlighted the establishment of Patriot missile batteries to protect more than 3.5 million people against attacks in Turkey as a demonstration of significant improvement in the allies’ ability to deploy and sustain forces in recent years.
“We have started this new year with a strong signal of solidarity with Turkey,” he said. “This shows NATO’s steadfast commitment to the security of allies, and it shows why defense matters.”