Secretary General’s Annual Report shows cuts in defence spending have almost stopped
The year 2015 showed how insecurity abroad directly affects our security at home, but it also showed that the Alliance is responding, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during the presentation of his Annual Report today (28 January, 2016). Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed Allies’ progress on defence spending, noting that “after many years of substantial reductions in defence spending, the cuts have now practically stopped among European Allies and Canada. And in 2015, defence cuts were close to zero.” He emphasised that more needs to be done to increase defence investments in the face of major security challenges.
The Secretary General underscored that NATO continues to strengthen collective defence and deterrence. “We have visibly increased NATO’s presence in the eastern part of our Alliance. And to the south, we have agreed to increase the presence of AWACS early warning aircraft over Turkey,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He pointed out that NATO has tripled the size of its Response Force, with a new Spearhead Force at its core, and is setting up eight small headquarters to facilitate planning and exercises. These measures are part of the most significant reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence in decades.
The Annual Report gives an overview of NATO’s achievements in the last year and considers the challenges that lie ahead. Special mention is made of NATO’s deepening cooperation with partners to build stability. NATO is working with partner countries – to the east and to the south – to build their defence capacity and their ability to contribute to international security. “In 2016 and in the years ahead, NATO will remain an anchor of stability. Staying strong, open for dialogue, and working with our partners around the world,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.