The White House
May 17, 2018
“In the nearly seven decades since Harry Truman spoke those words, the NATO Alliance has been the bulwark of international peace and security.” President Donald J. Trump
A LASTING COMMITMENT: President Trump is continuing the legacy of transatlantic unity and is working with the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg toward a successful July 11-12, 2018, NATO Summit.
- The United States is one of 12 founding members that signed the Washington Treaty on April 4, 1949, establishing NATO.
- Since then, NATO has grown to include 29 member states and partnerships with 40 other countries around the globe.
- On April 11, 2017, President Trump signed the instrument of ratification for Montenegro’s accession to NATO.
- President Trump has reaffirmed that the U.S. commitment to collective defense, as enshrined in the Treaty’s Article 5, is ironclad.
- President Trump and Secretary General Stoltenberg have met in person and spoken on the phone numerous times.
- In May 2017, President Trump and Secretary General Stoltenberg met in Brussels for the NATO Leaders’ Meeting.
- In April 2017, President Trump hosted Secretary General Stoltenberg during a visit to Washington to discuss priorities for NATO.
- In January 2017, President Trump and Secretary General Stoltenberg spoke soon after the President’s inauguration.
SHARING THE BURDEN: President Trump has prioritized working with NATO Allies to ensure they make progress in meeting their agreed-upon NATO defense spending commitments, which is in the interest of each NATO member and all Allies collectively.
- President Trump and Secretary General Stoltenberg agreed NATO will become stronger when our NATO Allies assume greater responsibility to protect mutual interests and prioritize their burden sharing commitments, especially increased defense spending.
- Since President Trump came to office, every member state has increased defense spending.
- In 2017 alone, we saw an increase of more than 4.8 percent in defense spending among our NATO Allies, amounting to nearly $14 billion.
- This was the largest single-year increase in defense spending among NATO Europe and Canada in more than a quarter century.
- Eight NATO Allies will reach the 2 percent benchmark by the end of this year, and 15 Allies are on track to spend 2 percent by 2024.
REVITALIZING NATO: NATO countries are undertaking the most significant reinforcement of collective defense since the end of the Cold War to enhance the Alliance’s ability to deter Russia, fight terrorism, and defend NATO territory.
- In 2017, NATO deployed a new, enhanced Forward Presence to improve the collective defense of our NATO Allies including:
- An enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic States and Poland comprised of 4 multinational, battalion-sized Battle Groups; and
- A tailored Forward Presence in the Black Sea region comprised of a multinational brigade in Romania, combined training to improve regional interoperability and an air-training and exercise program.
- To ensure it can meet any and all threats to the Alliance, NATO is making crucial reforms, such as adapting its Command Structure to current needs, increasing readiness levels, speeding up decision making processes, and improving military mobility.
- NATO has recommitted to developing the capabilities relevant to the hybrid and cyber threats facing the Alliance right now.
- NATO deterrence and defense posture includes core nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities, as well as cyber defense and counter-hybrid efforts.
INCREASING EFFORTS TO FIGHT TERRORISM: As the President has long urged, NATO is increasing the contributions it makes to the global fight against terrorism, the security threat that has taken more lives of citizens in NATO countries than any other since NATO’s founding.
- Last May, NATO Allies adopted a Counterterrorism Action Plan to substantially increase NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism.
- NATO is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, as are all NATO Allies.
- NATO also provides direct support to Coalition operations in the form of air surveillance with its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
- In Iraq, NATO is training Iraqis who in turn train their own forces in disciplines such as battlefield medicine, countering improvised explosive devices (IED), and equipment maintenance.
- In February 2018, NATO Allies agreed to expand its training mission in Iraq following calls from the Trump Administration for NATO to help stabilize the country.
- This helps support broader Coalition efforts to defeat ISIS and ensure Iraq retains its hard-won gains.
- Thirty-nine Allies and partners contribute almost 16,000 troops to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, which trains, advises, and assists the Afghan military to become an increasingly self-sufficient fighting force.
- The Alliance is working with Southern partners to address conditions that enable terrorism, such as trafficking of weapons, irregular migration, and regional instability.