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supra DOD Global Posture Review preview
Nowhere is this more clear than in Europe. Ravaged by war when the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949, Europe is now the richest continent on earth. NATO had 16 member states at the conclusion of the Cold War. With the accession of North Macedonia in 2020, the alliance now has 30 members. The politics of past and future NATO enlargement are beyond the scope of this paper, but the current defense expenditures and capabilities of NATO members are extremely relevant to the United States' global force posture. Just one-third of the alliance's members meet the arbitrary benchmark of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense. As one retired U.S. naval officer recently wrote, most NATO states are either "Show Ponies," spending too little but at least buying effective equipment, or abject "Free Riders."20

Most of NATO's purported "War Horses" are barely clearing the 2 percent hurdle, with post-COVID cuts likely to come. The balance between capability and capacity also varies greatly among NATO members. Greece, for example, fields a large but ill-equipped garrison army that is more of a jobs program than an expeditionary force. In contrast, even as it devotes more money to defense, the United Kingdom is cutting 10,000 servicemembers from its total force by 2025. This will leave the British military the smallest it has been since the Napoleonic Wars.21

by Cat on Sun Jan 30th, 2022 at 09:21:03 PM EST
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