Ahead of NATO Summit, Sullivan Leads 35 Senate Colleagues in Urging Biden to Ensure NATO Countries Meet Defense Spending Commitments
WASHINGTON—Ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Vilnius starting next week, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) led a bipartisan group of 35 senators in writing a letter to President Biden urging the President to ensure NATO countries meet their defense spending commitments. Since 2006, NATO member nations have agreed to commit a minimum of 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense spending. The letter notes that despite increasing levels of aggressive behavior by authoritarian nations, particularly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many member states continue to fail to meet their treaty obligations.
“As you prepare for the NATO summit this year in Vilnius, we write to underscore the critical need for NATO members to increase and fully meet defense spending commitments to the alliance,” the Senators write. “Failure of many of our allies – including some of NATO’s largest members – to meet commitments of 2% of GDP on defense has the potential to undermine American support for the alliance, severely limits Europe’s ability to contribute to our shared interest in defending against Russia, and is a source of long-term instability in Europe, not to mention frustration for American taxpayers. . .
“Although we appreciate the assistance that many of our European allies have provided Ukraine, the heavy European emphasis on economic and refugee assistance is directly attributable to the inability of many to meet their NATO commitments in a way the alliance demands. This has immediate implications in Ukraine where our allies could be a force multiplier in helping bring this conflict to a successful end. . .
“The lack of sufficient progress is politically and economically unsustainable. American citizens rightly question why our government disproportionately bears the burden – decade after decade – for Europe’s defense. In Vilnius, we respectfully request that you make this issue a top priority. . .”
Read the full letter here.
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT FROM SENATOR SULLIVAN:
“Last August, I asked my Senate colleagues to amend a resolution supporting Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO to state that our allies must fulfill their treaty obligations and pay their fair share to defend NATO countries in Europe. That amendment passed the Senate unanimously,” Senator Sullivan said in a statement. “As the President and our congressional delegation prepares to travel to Vilnius for another NATO summit, this bipartisan letter demonstrates Congress remains united and resolved for our allies to meet their treaty commitments. Whether our allies meet these commitments is critical, not just to meet the expectations the American taxpayer rightly expects, but also to ensure the long-term health of the NATO Alliance. Failure to address the imbalance in defense spending jeopardizes the future of the alliance and all that it continues to do for common transatlantic interests, including in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.”
- In June 2023, Senator Sullivan succeeded in including a provision in the 2024 NDAA that advanced from the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that requires the Secretary of Defense to prioritize those NATO member countries that have achieved defense spending of not less than 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024 when making decisions about U.S. military basing, training, and exercises.
- In August 2022, Senator Sullivan’s amendment declaring that all NATO allies should meet their funding obligations unanimously passed the Senate as part of a resolution approving Finland and Sweden’s ascension to the NATO alliance.
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