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Acting US Defense Sec., Stoltenberg says NATO to increase spending by some US$100 billion by 2020
January 29, 2019, 9:55 am
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By 2020, NATO allies are projected to increase defense spending by approximately US$100 billion, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said late Monday alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "Our recent funding increases let us bolster deterrence and defense through larger and more frequent exercises, mobility and infrastructure improvements and a re-vamped NATO response force and command structure," Shanahan said. 

Since President Donald Trump took office, NATO allies increased spending by US$31 billion; a nine-percent increase and the largest in 25 years. In Afghanistan, the amount increased by 12 percent since 2017, Shanahan said. "I'm encouraged that we're moving forward on our readiness initiative. Thirty ground battalions, 30 air squadrons, 30 warships, ready to fight in 30 days or less," he added. "Now we know our work here is only just beginning. We recognize a need to move from theory to practice, and from practice to results."

For his part, Stoltenberg echoed, "NATO is really making a lot of progress in many different areas, high readiness of our forces, stepping up the fight against terrorism and also investing more in defense burden sharing." For the first time in history, NATO has combat-ready troops in the eastern part of its alliance.

"We welcome the talks with Taliban. Ambassador Khalilzad briefed all allies a few weeks ago,  Acting US Defense Sec., Stoltenberg says NATO to increase spending by some US$100 bln by 2020  and the reason why NATO is in Afghanistan is to create a condition for peaceful solution to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists and to send a message to Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield," he said.

The Secretary-General reiterated NATO's plan to contribute US$100 billion more for defense spending. "The carried message from President Trump is having a real impact. So we have done a lot. We have much more to do, and I really look forward to working closely with you in addressing all of these challenges," Stoltenberg affirmed. 

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