From 2008 onwards, the world economy has been facing its worst financial period since the end of the Second World War. Governments have been applying budgetary restrictions to tackle this serious recession, which is having a considerable effect on defence spending.
Furthermore, the Alliance's security environment has been changing, and has become more diverse and unpredictable. The most recent crisis in Ukraine serves as a reminder that peace and stability cannot be taken for granted, and that the Alliance needs to invest in sufficient defence capabilities.
Rebalancing defence spending and the capabilities that are generated between the European member countries, Canada and the United States is a necessity now more than ever. The other Allies must reduce the gap with the United States by equipping themselves with capabilities that are deemed to be critical, deployable and sustainable, and must demonstrate political determination to achieve that goal. There must be equitable sharing of the defence burden. Smart Defence is one of NATO's tools to meet this challenge.