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What’s Next for NATO?

What’s Next for NATO?

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Lawrence Korb and Max Hoffman argue that NATO members should focus on long-term challenges to the organization at this week’s summit.
Lawrence Korb and Max Hoffman argue that NATO members should focus on long-term challenges to the organization at this week’s summit.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on May 17, 2012
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1Center or American Progress | What’s Next or NATO?
What’s Next for NATO?
Defining a New Role for the Alliancein a Post-Cold War World
Lawrence Korb and Max Hoffman May 2012
Te 28 members o he Norh Alanic reay Organizaion, or NAO—he 63-year-oldmiliary alliance creaed o preven he Sovie Union rom expanding is conrol romEasern Europe ino Wesern Europe—ace a dauning agenda o immediae and long-ermchallenges as hey gaher in Chicago his week or heir sevenh summi in he las 10 yearsand he rs o be held in he Unied Saes in he las 13 years.Te mos pressing concerns are he ransiion o he NAO or Inernaional Securiy  Assisance Force comba mission o Aghanisan securiy orces by 2014 and addressing hegaps in miliary capabiliies beween he Unied Saes and oher NAO members ha becameapparen in he Libyan campaign o ous longime dicaor Moammar Ghadda las year.Te long-erm challenges include dening he role o he 63-year-old alliance in he pos-Cold War and pos-9/11 world and nancial and miliary burden sharing beween heUnied Saes and he 27 oher alliance members. While he immediae problems will no doub garner he mos atenion in Chicago, weocus in his brie on he long-erm challenges because hey are ar more imporan or heUnied Saes and is European allies as hey ener a period o auseriy.In paricular, we believe ha while our NAO parners can conribue more o he alliance,ighening budges in he Unied Saes and Europe will orce member saes o manage sen-sible deense reducions. Tis will mean ocusing remaining resources on key capabiliieslike ankers, muniions, helicopers, and surveillance, while reining in personnel coss andreducing overlapping or redundan deense uncions beween allies—essenially makingmore o he orce srucure deployable. And while Americans may quesion wheher NAO is sill worh he cos, we nd haon balance NAO is sill a good invesmen or he Unied Saes and ha we shouldremain a member.Finally, he alliance mus also shape a new role aer he Cold War. We believe ha NAO hasour realisic roles: guaraneeing he collecive deense o member saes agains aggression;
 
2Center or American Progress | What’s Next or NATO?
mainaining securiy in Europe and across he Medierranean litoral, including coninuedengagemen in Norh Arica; working o incorporae Russia ino a broader European sysem,or insance by improving miliary-o-miliary cooperaion and guaraneeing he sovereigny o Easern European member saes; and srenghening he alliance’s parnerships wihregional organizaions like he Arab League, he Economic Communiy O Wes AricanSaes, and he Associaion o Souheas Asian Naions.
BelgiumCanadaDenmark FranceGermany (reunified 1990)GreeceIcelandItalyCzech RepublicHungaryPolandBulgariaEstoniaLatviaLithuaniaRomaniaSlovakiaSloveniaAlbaniaCroatiaLuxembourgNetherlandsNorwayPortugalSpainTurkeyUnited KingdomUnited States
COLD WAR MEMBERS1999 EXPANSION2004 EXPANSION2009 EXPANSION
FIGURE 1
The expanded NATO alliance
Source: NATO
Do other NATO members need to do more?
Many Americans wonder wha benes heir counry receives rom is coninued membershipin NAO. o pu i blunly, many Americans are concerned ha he oher 27 members o healliance—or a leas a majoriy o hem—are simply ree-riders who rely on U.S. expendiuresand he presence o abou 80,000 American roops in Europe o provide securiy so ha hey can ignore or shor-change heir own deense requiremens o ocus on oher prioriies.On he surace he NAO skepics have a srong case. Te Unied Saes oday spends abou4.8 percen o is gross domesic produc on deense while European NAO members spendabou 1.7 percen.
1
According o 2010 daa, only six o NAO’s 26 European members me he
 
3Center or American Progress | What’s Next or NATO?
alliance’s deense spending arge o 2 percen o GDP.
2
Tis lack o miliary invesmen ousidehe Unied Saes was clear in he Libyan operaion and in Aghanisan, where many membersexhibied major deciencies in heir miliary capabiliies.Secreary o Deense Rober Gaes dramaically summed up hese deciencies in his vale-dicory speech o NAO members in Brussels in June 2011.
3
Accordingo Gaes, he European miliaries, despie couning more han 2 millionpeople in uniorm, have diculy susaining a deploymen o ewer han45,000 roops in Aghanisan.Tis deciency is due in par o excessive personnel coss across much o healliance. Te Unied Saes allocaes roughly one-hird o he deense budgeo personnel coss; 19 o he oher 27 member saes allocae more han hal o heir deense spending o personnel coss.
4
Tis allocaion o resources isparicularly unsound in counries ha have demonsraed a shorage o crii-cal suppor asses such as helicopers, ranspor aircra, mainenance, andinelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabiliies.Gaes blunly warned ha unless he Europeans reversed course andenhanced heir operaional capabiliies, U.S. poliical leaders mighreconsider wheher he sraegic reurn on invesmen in NAO was worh he cos o coninued membership.Bu close analysis reveals ha Gaes’s concerns are overblown, andhey have no been echoed by his successor, Secreary o Deense LeonPaneta. Te imbalance in miliary expendiures and capabiliies beweenhe Unied Saes and he oher members is no a criical problem, and by ocusing only on comparaive spending oals we ignore exensive ben-es he Unied Saes receives rom is membership.rue, he non-U.S. NAO counries spend abou one-hird less o heirGDP on deense han he Unied Saes, and he Unied Saes currenly accouns or abou 75 percen o NAO member saes’ oal deenseexpendiures, up rom 50 percen a decade ago.
5
Bu i makes sense or he Unied Saes o spend more: I is a global power wih globalineress, and non-U.S. NAO deense expendiures sill currenly accoun or 18 percen o global deense spending, more han China and Russia combined.
6
Meanwhile, he U.S. deense budge has grown in real erms over he pas decade o heighs noseen since World War II, a siuaion Gaes himsel has reerred o as a “gusher” and which skewshe expecaions and assessmens o NAO criics. While NAO member saes should meehe alliance’s goal o 2 percen o GDP devoed o deense, i is no realisic o hold our allies oour curren inaed levels o deense spending.
$800$700$600$500$400$300$200$1000
ChinaUnited Kingdom*France*JapanRussiaSaudi ArabiaGermany*IndiaBrazilUnitedStates*
FIGURE 2
Top ten defense budgets
In billions of US dollars
* Notes NATO top ten defense spenderSource: International Institute for Strategic Studies, “Military Balance 2012”, (2012),available at: http://www.iiss.org/publications/military-balance/the-military-balance-2012/press-statement/ 

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