WASHINGTON ― NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has been renewed for another two-year term as leader of the alliance.

The news, announced Tuesday by NATO, means the former prime minister of Norway will remain in his current role through Sept. 30, 2020.

Stoltenberg has served as secretary general since 2014, a tumultuous time for Europe that has seen a resurgent Russia invade Ukrainian territory, the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, the addition of Montenegro to the alliance and criticisms from U.S. President Donald Trump that NATO does not spend enough on defense.

In an exclusive essay for the Defense News 2018 Outlook project, Stoltenberg noted that boosting defense spending was a priority of his when he came into the job in 2014, and added that “in 2017, we estimate a real defense spending increase of 4.3 percent in Europe and Canada — a third straight year of accelerating increases.”

Stoltenberg also laid out his primary goals for the alliance in 2018, which include laying out clear pathways for countries to reach 2 percent spending of gross domestic product on defense and a reorganization of the military command structure.

“NATO is the most successful alliance in history because it has adapted as the world has changed,” he wrote. “As we continue to adapt in 2018, NATO allies are committed to spending more and better on defense, improving burden-sharing among allies, strengthening our transatlantic bond and preserving the peace for future generations.”

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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