NATO breaks defense expenditure into four main categories: equipment, personnel, infrastructure, and other. In addition to the commitment to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, NATO heads of state pledged at the 2014 Wales Summit to spend 20 percent of their defense budgets on major equipment.
The CSIS report compiles NATO member and partner countries’ troop contributions across a range of military operations. Where data was publicly available and reliable, it measures troop contribution as a percentage of the total active duty force to normalize and compare between countries with militaries of different size.
Conflict and instability to Europe’s south – in North Africa and in Syria – has generated population movements into Europe with which our allies have struggled. Some NATO members are bearing a particularly significant burden from the refugee crisis. Managing the crisis is a significant security investment for them and Europe as a whole.
Later this spring, the Trump administration will release its 2018 Missile Defense Review (MDR), which is expected to better align U.S. missile defense policy with the present security environment. President Barack Obama’s 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) reflected the security environment of the time and the aspirations of the Obama administration. In particular, technological advances by U.S. adversaries and a renewed focus on long-term competition with Russia and China drive the need for a new review.
As we enter 2018, the stage for defense is now set. The president has signed the NSS. The secretary of defense has released the NDS and NPR; the MDR is soon to follow. The White House has made its FY 2019 budget request, and posture hearings are close at hand. However, ambition often outpaces resources, and as with the Obama administration, there is reason for concern with the administration’s plans.
Despite the brief notoriety of U.S. special operations activities after the tragic ambush in Niger last October, U.S. strategic priorities in Africa remain inscrutable. For a recent example of the administration’s enigmatic approach to the continent, look in turn at the Africa sections in the National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Strategy (NDS). You will find a curious disconnect.