NewsNATO members vow smarter defense spending with historic commitment

NATO members vow smarter defense spending with historic commitment

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Images source: © Getty Images | Omar Havana

8:01 AM EDT, July 10, 2024

Outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Alliance member countries will sign a joint commitment to increased and smarter defense spending this week. A three-day North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit begins in Washington.

Jens Stoltenberg stated that the Alliance countries will sign a joint commitment concerning the defence industry this week, promising more lavish and smarter spending on military equipment purchases so that armament manufacturers in NATO countries become "stronger, more innovative and capable of producing at scale."

The declaration, as announced by the Norwegian politician, is expected to include three main elements: a commitment to increasing defense spending, "spend better by spending more together," and cooperation with defense industries in Ukraine and the four NATO partner countries: Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

The NATO Secretary General emphasized that allies need to approach defense spending smarter by undertaking joint projects and joint procurement, allowing long-term contracts to be signed on a larger scale.

Good and bad examples in NATO

Jens Stoltenberg mentioned the F-35 fighter jet program, produced in the United States and eight other Alliance member countries, as an excellent example of procurement cooperation in NATO.

Stoltenberg also noted that NATO's procurement agency NSPA signed ammunition contracts worth $11 billion last year and, on Tuesday, a contract for purchasing Stinger anti-aircraft missiles worth $700 million.

Stoltenberg also pointed out a bad example. He mentioned that artillery shells of the essential NATO caliber of 155 mm produced in the Netherlands are incompatible with 155 mm howitzers produced in Germany.

"It has also demonstrated serious gaps in our interoperability. And this is something we have to take extremely seriously as government and as industry," emphasized Stoltenberg, who will be succeeded in October by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.