AP NEWS

NATO greenlights U.S. storage depot in Poland ahead of 70th anniversary celebrations

April 1, 2019

NATO has approved a $260 million investment in military storage for U.S. forces in central Poland, the alliances secretary general announced Monday.

Allies are really stepping up. Spending more, and better, on defense, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference ahead of a meeting of ministers in Washington this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the Western military alliance.

Mr. Stoltenberg said the investment, that will fund storage and maintenance of existing military equipment in the region, is part of $2.3 billion in funding for military mobility projects over the past four years.

President Trump has called on NATO allies to substantially increase defense spending, relieving what he says is the unfair burden on the U.S. to prop up the military alliance.

In 2014, the 29 NATO member countries agreed to each spend about 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024. According to NATO data, last year just six countries the U.S., Britain, Greece, Estonia, Romania and Poland met that goal. Latvia and Lithuania are expected to do so this year.

The U.S. currently contributes to about 67 percent of NATOs funding.

After years of cutting billions from defense budgets, now we are adding billions. And we have seen four consecutive years of rising investment in defense, Mr. Stoltenberg said Monday.

He said that by next year, European allies and Canada will have added $100 billion to their defense budgets. Allies are also investing more in major capabilities, like missile defense, drones and new fighter aircraft, he added.

Previewing his trip to Washington and planned speech to Congress and meetings, Mr. Stoltenberg highlighted priorities including NATOs relations with Russia and countering Russian aggression, and NATOs role in the fight against terrorism.

For 70 years, the bond between Europe and North America has made NATO the strongest alliance in history, said Mr. Stoltenberg, whose term last week was extended again until at least 2022. In an unpredictable world, we work together every day to prevent conflict and preserve peace for nearly 1 billion people.