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NATO: How big is the US contribution to its expenditures in Europe?


US President Donald Trump believes European NATO members should spend more money on the alliance rather than letting the United States shoulder the brunt of the alliance's budget.

Ahead of today's NATO summit in Britain, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the contribution of European countries has increased dramatically in recent years.

So how big is the US contribution to NATO expenditures compared to its 28 other member states?

What does NATO member countries spend?

Nearly 70 percent of all defense spending by NATO member states is attributed to the United States.

But the United States is a major global power, with commitments in different regions of the world that transcend Europe.

In 2019, the United States spent an estimated 3.4 percent of its gross national product (GNP) on defense, according to NATO estimates, while European member states of Canada and Canada averaged 1.55 percent of their GNP.


NATO's operating expenses are covered by funding arrangements based on each country's national income. This includes:

  • Assign the administration and civilian staff to lead the Alliance.
  • Joint operations, strategic leadership, radars, early warning systems, training, and communications.
  • Defense communication systems, airports, ports and fuel equipment.

It reached a budgetNATO's military and civilian expenditures in 2019 are about 1.67 billion euros ($ 1.84 billion), according to NATO statistics.

The United States currently pays more than 22 percent of the budget, while Germany contributes 14.76 percent and France and Britain each with less than 10.5 percent each.

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But these ratios will change based on a new formula agreed to reduce the US contribution, Stoltenberg said.

What size hypocrisy of other countries on the defense?

At last year's NATO summit, Trump urged other member states to commit to spending 4 percent of their gross national income on defense, closer to the current US 3.4 percent.

In fact, the current target is to reach 2 percent in 2024.

When Stoltenberg visited Washington earlier this year, Trump again said the 2 percent should be surpassed "at some point."

Trump also noted that things have begun to improve "since I came to the administration with rocket speed."

In fact, 2019 was the fifth year of increased spending by other NATO members other than the United States. The largest increase was in the contributions of the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and Turkey.

NATO estimates for 2019 show that eight members, along with the United States, now spend 2 percent or more of GNI on defense.

They are Greece, Britain, Estonia, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Bulgaria.

Other European member states put their spending in 2019 at 1 to 1.99 percent. France's spending was 1.84 percent and Germany's 1.36 percent.

Alliance members also pledged that at least 20 percent of their defense spending should go for equipment.

As of 2019, 15 NATO members, as well as the United States, are on track to reach the target, with major increases in spending by Eastern European countries and Turkey since 2014.

However, two major NATO members, Germany and Canada, still spend less than 20 percent on equipment.

An analyst for the British parliament described spending on equipment as a more important indicator of defense capabilities because military effectiveness or efficiency is reduced by the lack of proper defense equipment.

What things that the United States offered to NATO?

The United States still has tens of thousands of active military forces in European countries and Turkey. Germany currently has the largest number of US troops in Europe, followed by Italy, Britain, and Spain.

Some of the US forces in Europe support other non-NATO operations, and the number of these forces is changing depending on the periodic transfer of these forces from Europe to the outside and vice versa.

However, the largest deployment of US troops outside is not in NATO member states, but in Japan.

The United States also has an important presence in the Middle East and the Gulf, although the exact numbers of troops in these places are not always disclosed, and the deployment of some troops is temporary.

In Afghanistan, the United States is deploying 13,000 troops in counter-terrorism operations on a NATO-led mission there, with the participation of Afghan security forces.

A key element of US commitments in Europe is the missile defense system administered by NATO member states. The system is designed to help protect against long-range ballistic missile attacks from outside the European continent, and from the Middle East in particular.

The system includes US equipment and military personnel to manage missile sites on the ground in Romania and under construction in Poland, as well as a radar system operated by the United States in Turkey and interceptor missiles carried by US warships in the Mediterranean.