Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan met with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg and discussed the alliance’s operational progress and efforts to increase burden-sharing. During the meeting at the Pentagon, Shanahan highlighted that NATO member nations in Europe have increased contributions to training local forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to deter the Islamic State group, the Department of Defense said Monday.
The defense secretary also praised Stoltenberg for encouraging countries to provide equal shares for defense. Shanahan said NATO’s defense spending climbed to $41B as nations increased their budget by more than nine percent between 2016 and 2018. He added that NATO expects to reach nearly $100B in defense spending by 2020. The increase would allow the alliance to conduct larger exercises, improve mobility and expand infrastructure improvements and investments, the Pentagon said.
Shanahan noted NATO is moving closer to its readiness initiative to build 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 warships that are ready for rapid deployment in 30 days or less.