US National Security Adviser Susan Rice. (Mohamad Torokman / AFP)
WASHINGTON — NATO members need to increase defense spending and shoulder more of the security burden across Europe, Susan Rice, US President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, said Wednesday.
“[W]e expect every ally to pull its full weight through increased investment in defense and upgrading our alliance for the future,” Rice said during a speech at conference sponsored by the Center for a New American Security. “Europe needs to take defense spending seriously and meet NATO’s benchmark of at least 2 percent of GDP to keep our alliance strong and dynamic.”
Rice’s comments echo those that have emerged from top Pentagon leaders in recent months who have been putting more pressure on European allies to spend more on defense and invest more strategically. The subject will be the hot topic at September’s NATO summit in Wales.
Rice touted Obama’s announcement last week that he would ask Congress for $1 billion to boost American military presence in Central and Eastern Europe on a rotational basis. That announcement comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Collective action doesn’t mean the United States puts skin in the game while others stand on the sidelines and cheer,” she said. “Alliances are a two-way street, especially in hard times when alliances matter most.” ■