Most NATO members do not have plans to meet military spending targets: report

Most NATO members do not have plans to meet military spending targets: report
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Most NATO member states have yet to make plans to meet the military spending target insisted upon by the U.S.

The alliance is set to announce next week that members have increased their military spending in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. But more than half of NATO members have not made plans to increase military spending to 2 percent of their gross domestic product.

Member states agreed in 2014 to move toward spending at least 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024.

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But the Trump administration has been more aggressive in pushing NATO allies to up their defense spending. President TrumpDonald John TrumpCEO of American investment firm believed Michael Cohen could bring in GOP donors for deals: report NAACP slams NFL for gag rule on national anthem Pelosi: Republican meeting over informant will 'nix' possibility of bipartisan briefing MORE has long railed against defense spending among NATO members, arguing that the U.S. shoulders an unfair amount of the costs associated with the alliance.

NATO called on its member states last year, at the behest of the Trump administration, to formalize plans for reaching the 2 percent spending target. Some member states, however, submitted plans spanning only three years, the Journal reported. Others submitted proposals reaching to 2024, but still put those countries below the 2 percent target.

According to the Journal, U.S. Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTwo pilots eject before trainer jet crashes in Mississippi Kaine demands answers on Pentagon missions in Africa The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Republicans see some daylight in midterm polling MORE is expected to tell NATO defense ministers on Wednesday that, even though military spending among NATO allies has increased overall, their countries must do more. 

The U.S. is also expected to announce an increase of about $1 billion in its own military spending in Europe, where it already spends about $4.8 billion annually, according to the Journal.

Out of NATO's 29 member states, 14 have made plans to reach the 2 percent military spending goal by 2024. Eight of those countries are already hitting that target: the U.S., the United Kingdom, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Estonia and Romania. Six others — Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Montenegro, Slovakia and Turkey — are planning to meet the target by the deadline.

An improving economic outlook in Europe is also making it more difficult for countries to meet the 2 percent goal, because of higher economic outputs, the Journal reported.