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Immediate Release

Readout of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg today to discuss priorities for next week's Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting, review progress on strengthening NATO's deterrence, and confer on NATO's upcoming 75th Anniversary Summit in Washington.

Both leaders underscored the requirement for Allies and partners to maintain unity in support for Ukraine and highlighted the UDCG as the premier venue to coordinate Ukraine security assistance.

Secretary Austin welcomed Sweden’s recent accession to the Alliance and both leaders agreed the Alliance is stronger with the addition of Sweden’s significant military capabilities. 

Secretary General Stoltenberg highlighted the release yesterday of his Annual Report, which contained the most recent figures on Allied defense investment. The Secretary General noted that by the end of 2024 over 20 Allies are expected to be investing at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, up from only three Allies in 2014. Secretary Austin pledged to keep pressing those Allies that have not yet provided a clear plan to meet the Vilnius Defense Investment Pledge.

Both leaders noted the importance of strengthening the trans-Atlantic defense industrial base to continue material support to Ukraine and to fully resource our current and future collective defense needs. They also agreed that NATO is the single authority to set interoperability standards for defense production.  
Secretary Austin and Secretary General Stoltenberg reaffirmed their commitment to advancing NATO's work and to maintaining Allied unity on the road to NATO's 75th Anniversary Summit this July in Washington, DC.