House of Lords Library

NATO Alliance: Recent Developments

Published Thursday, March 16, 2017

This House of Lords Library briefing outlines recent NATO policy, including the increase in the deployment of forces in Eastern Europe since 2014. It also summarises recent comment on NATO preparedness in the face of external threats and the risk of fragmentation within the alliance.

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Current Deployment

The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has described the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as currently facing the greatest challenge to its security since the Cold War. Approximately 18,000 military personnel from member countries are engaged in NATO missions around the World, including in Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Mediterranean. Following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO has increased its presence in Eastern Europe, including the deployed on a rotational basis of four multinational battalions to the Baltic States and Poland.

2 Percent and 20 Percent Targets

The United States has recently renewed pressure on NATO partners to meet the commitment to spend above 2 percent of their gross domestic product of defence. In 2016, five countries met this target: the United States (3.61 percent); Greece (2.36 percent); Estonia (2.18 percent); the UK (2.17 percent); and Poland (2.01 percent).

NATO’s target is also that 20 percent of defence spending by member countries go towards equipment. In 2016, this target was met by 10 countries: Lithuania (27.65 percent); Luxemburg (27.24 percent); Poland (25.79 percent); Norway (25.08 percent); the United States (25.03 percent); France (24.48 percent); the UK (22.56 percent); Turkey (22.35 percent); Romania (20.40 percent) and Italy (20.24 percent).

Lords In Focus LIF-2017-0024

Author: Edward Scott

Topics: Defence expenditure, Defence policy, NATO

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.