NATO PA urges governments to meet defence spending benchmarks

Istanbul, 20 November 2016 – The NATO Parliamentary Assembly called on Allied nations to strengthen their defences, including with increased spending, in response to the uncertain security environment created by a “revisionist and militarily resurgent Russia,” combined with the threats posed by terrorism and instability from the Middle East.
“More than at any time since the end of the Cold War, NATO needs to send a strong message that it is willing and able to maintain a credible collective defence policy,” said a report adopted by the NATO PA’s Defence and Security Committee. “It is time for the Alliance to get back to basics.”
The Committee adopted a resolution urging NATO governments and parliaments to meet Alliance defence budget benchmarks by working towards spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defence, of which at least 20 percent should be spent on major equipment and research and development investments.
At a Summit in 2014, NATO member Heads of State and Government agreed to aim towards those targets, but although many nations have made progress, only three - the United States, Poland and United Kingdom - meet both.
In the resolution, lawmakers urged Allied governments to remain united behind their collective defence commitments enshrined in NATO’s founding treaty. It said they should stand in support of partners facing Russian aggression, such as Ukraine, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova.
“Today’s complex and dynamic security environment calls for 360-degree security so our Alliance can continue to guarantee the territorial sovereignty of every Ally and project stability in our near neighbourhood as well as to our partners farther afield,” said Canadian Senator Joseph A. Day, who tabled the resolution.
Besides condemning Russia’s “military, economic and information aggression” against Ukraine, the lawmakers stated their deep concern about Moscow’s build-up of military capabilities around the Baltic States, Black Sea, Eastern Mediterranean and the Arctic.
They applauded the implementation of NATO’s Readiness Action Plan which strengthens the Alliance’s deterrence posture with robust response forces, as well as the adoption of an enhanced forward presence on the eastern flank via the rotational deployment of four new battalions to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
Separately, NATO PA members approved a resolution emphasising the importance of efforts to improve the Alliance’s Airbourne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Presenting the report, Portuguese legislator Bruno Vitorino said more investment in technology was needed to develop ISR.
“It helps reduce uncertainty, improve strategic anticipation, and inform our political and military decision-makers,” Vitorino told the NATO PA’s Science and Technology Committee. “All of this is particularly valuable in today’s uncertain and unstable security environment.”