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NATO experts – What is the cost of NATO membership?

01 Oct 2019 11:40


NATO’s extensive pool of subject matter experts tell you what you need to know about a wide variety of defence and security issues around the world, and what NATO is doing to make you safer and more secure. From fighting terrorism to collective defence, learn about the security issues that matter, directly from the experts. NATO member states share the cost of collective defence. They do this according to what Jonathan Parish, former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, calls the “three Cs” – cash, capabilities and contributions. But measuring and comparing contributions can sometimes be difficult: how does one compare the value of warship in a “relatively benign” situation to an infantry unit deployed to a combat zone? In 2014, Allies committed to moving towards a defence investment of 2% of Gross Domestic Product. By 2018, several Allies had already reached that goal and, at the Brussels Summit, all recommitted to the 2% spending goal.


What is the cost of NATO? Jonathan Parish, former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning at NATO Headquarters, explains.


--SOUNDBITE—(ENGLISH) Jonathan Parish, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning , NATO HQ “NATO is a club where Allied countries share the security benefits that membership brings. Allies also need to share the costs and the responsibilities of that membership.” “Burden-sharing has always been a topic of discussion in the Alliance. This is not just about how much a country spends on defence. It is also about how that expenditure is used. This is often referred to as the ‘three Cs’ of burden-sharing. Cash, capabilities and contributions. But measuring burden-sharing is not easy, especially when it comes to deploying forces and capabilities on operations and missions. How do you compare an infantry battalion and a transport aircraft, or a supply ship? How do you compare contributions to operations where personnel are in constant danger and those where the situation is relatively benign? In recent years, there has been a perception that the United States was having to assume an unfair share of the costs and contributions within the Alliance. At the same time, some European Allies felt that there was also an unfair imbalance among themselves. So at the Wales Summit in 2014, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed the ‘Defence Investment Pledge’. This contains some very specific undertakings intended to improve burden-sharing among the Allies. Since then, progress on implementation of the pledge has been reviewed regularly and a further review was presented to Heads of State and Government at their Summit in July. All NATO nations committed to the ‘Defence Investment Pledge’ and they are all delivering because they understand that fulfilling their commitments further strengthens the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion.

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09 Mar 2018 12:00
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