Sullivan: NATO’s Minimum Defense Spending Commitment Must Increase to Confront Dangerous Times

Senator Sullivan says Canada Must Stop ‘Freeloading’ off U.S.

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), released the following statement as the annual North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit began today in Washington. Senator Sullivan met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today and is scheduled to meet with other high-ranking foreign officials throughout the week.

“Since NATO last convened a year ago, the world has only become more dangerous with dictators in Russia, China, and Iran increasingly working together to undermine America’s national security interests and those of our allies,” Senator Sullivan said. “Our NATO allies must do more to confront this moment, particularly our friends in Canada who continue to freeload off this alliance and have yet to even present a real plan to meet the two percent of GDP minimum defense spending commitment all NATO countries agreed to meet. This must change. There is no excuse. Whether our allies meet these commitments is critical, not just to meet the expectations of the American taxpayer, but also to ensure the long-term health of the NATO alliance.

“While I’m encouraged that new NATO estimates project more NATO members meeting their defense spending commitments, Congress is watching to ensure they follow through. 

“Given these dangerous times, the alliance must do more. We must start working toward a greater defense spending commitment than the current two percent of GDP defense spending benchmark that better reflects this new era of authoritarian aggression we find ourselves in.”


  • In 2023, Senator Sullivan succeeded in including a provision in the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that became law requiring 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. After passage of his amendment, Senator Sullivan pressed the Secretary of Defense to ensure he follows through as the law requires.
  • Ahead of the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Senator Sullivan 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.
  • 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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