BRUSSELS ― NATO says it expects defense spending among its members to rise by 3.8 percent in 2018.

Announcing specifics at a news conference Thursday evening, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that burden-sharing “underpins everything that we do.”

It was also revealed that 15 of the alliance’s 29 members are on track to meet the NATO guideline of investing 20 percent of defense spending on major equipment this year.

“Allies are making real progress on all aspects of burden-sharing ― cash, capabilities and contributions,” he said. “When it comes to cash, I can announce the first estimated figures for 2018. We now have four consecutive years of real increases in defense spending. All allies have stopped the cuts.

“All allies are increasing defense spending. More allies are spending 2 percent of GDP on defense and the majority now have plans to do so by 2024.”

The alliance has set a goal for its members to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense.

“Across European allies and Canada, we expect a real increase this year of 3.8 percent. This means that, since 2014, European allies and Canada will have spent additionally $87 billion on defense,” the former Norwegian prime minister announced.

“When it comes to capabilities, allies have committed to investing 20 percent of their defense spending on major equipment. This year, 15 allies are expected to meet the guideline. And I count on more to do so in the coming years,” he added.

Martin Banks covered the European Union, NATO and affairs in Belgium for Defense News.

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