NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in a historic address to Congress, declared Wednesday that President Trump’s push for NATO allies to increase their defense spending has “had an impact” and made the alliance stronger.
Allies must spend more on defense. This has been the clear message from President Trump,” he said. “And this message is having a real impact.”
NATO does not have a defense budget, but members commit to spending a minimum of 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Products on defense. Trump, however, has repeatedly called out members that do not meet that commitment, even as this campaign has caused friction with longtime U.S. allies. The United States spends 3.5 percent of its GDP on defense, and Trump has long called for fellow NATO members to put up their share.
As Trump himself has taken credit for nations agreeing to increase their spending pledges, Stoltenberg said that NATO is stronger as a result of the U.S. pressure.
“After years of reducing defense budgets, all allies have stopped the cuts and all allies have increased their defense spending. Before they were cutting billions, now they are adding billions,” he said.