NEW ARTICLE: An 8 Point Plan to protect NATO against European defense cuts
"A plan to blunt the impact on NATO of European defence cuts."
by Hans Binnendijk and Richard Kugler Autumn 2010
Posted in: Europe's World
NATO's European allies are set to make swingeing cuts in their defence budgets. Hans Binnendijk and Richard Kugler set out an 8-point plan for ensuring that austerity policies do not weaken NATO and endanger transatlantic relations.
Austerity budgets in Europe will mean that key NATO members are going to cut their defence costs in ways that could damage the alliance’s military preparedness. Britain’s defence cuts could total as much as 20% by 2014-2015, and Germany and France plan to reduce their defence budgets by about 6% through 2013, and their forces by about 40,000 people each. Italy, Spain, and Portugal are preparing significant cuts, with other NATO countries likely to follow suit. Over the coming years, European defence spending could fall by 10-15% if not more.
These cuts, combined with proposed withdrawals from ISAF operations in Afghanistan and waning support for U.S. nuclear deployments in Europe, would lead to a further widening of the transatlantic defence capabilities gap. That in turn could exacerbate the growing perception in the United States that its allies are not pulling their weight. If the U.S. loses confidence in NATO, the single greatest instrument for global stability will be at risk. But it's a risk that can be reduced if the European allies would be willing to limit these defence cuts, invest affordable resources more wisely, pursue multinational defence planning, show solidarity on Afghanistan, make sound NATO-level decisions on nuclear deployments and expand partnership activities with other countries and organisations. This article sets out an eight-point plan that could help NATO pursue this agenda.
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