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NATO Military Spending Has Steadily Increased

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement that NATO has projected 18 allies will spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense this year, and those not spending at least 2% should have plans to swiftly meet that target.

A metal plate hanging on a building says "DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE"
Pentagon Sign
Sign outside the Pentagon, May 7, 2019.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 190507-D-BN624-0032

"I welcome what [NATO] Secretary General Stoltenberg yesterday called an 'unprecedented rise' in defense spending across our European and Canadian allies, who have added more than $600 billion for defense since the Defense Investment Pledge was made in 2014, including a real increase of 11% in defense spending in 2023 alone," Austin said in today's statement. "The secretary general projects that in 2024, 18 allies will spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense — a major improvement over 2014, when only three hit that target. Any ally not spending at least 2% of GDP on defense this year should have plans to swiftly meet that target."

Austin said he was pleased by the progress the U.S. and allies made at today's meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels and underscored the importance of the alliance to U.S. security.

"NATO is the strongest military alliance in history, and it is crucial for America's continued security," he said in the statement.  

Austin said NATO became even more capable last year when Finland joined the alliance, and he again urged Hungary to support Sweden's entrance into the alliance.  

"I again urge Hungary to support immediate NATO accession for Sweden, which is both a stalwart democracy and a hugely capable defense partner," he said.  

Austin also said the United States and its allies and partners will stand by Ukraine for the long haul.

"The United States will continue to stand with our NATO allies and to defend the sovereignty and the territory of every alliance member — every inch of it," Austin said. "Our commitment to Article Five remains ironclad." 

Austin's statement also mentioned a productive meeting among allies, the European Union and Ukraine in the recently established NATO-Ukraine Council.  

The Comprehensive Assistance Package — NATO's multiyear program for critical, nonlethal aid — also supports Ukraine, he said. That effort complements the more than $87 billion in bilateral security assistance the United States and countries around the world have committed over the past two years to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia's unprovoked aggression. 

Austin returned to work at the Pentagon today after working from home since his release from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Feb. 13.


Separately, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder at a news conference today, said the Missile Defense Agency and the Space Development Agency yesterday launched six satellites into low Earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The satellites, which include two satellites for MDA's hypersonic and ballistic tracking space sensor and four SDA tracking layer satellites, are conducting initial testing, he said.

The launch of the two prototype systems will be followed by two years of on-orbit testing, Ryder noted. 

Over the next few weeks, SDA and MDA engineers will run a series of tests and checkout procedures to ensure the satellites are operating and communicating with the other systems, he said.

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