Several capitals have done little more than pay lip service to warnings from Washington, which continues to spend approximately 4 percent of its gross domestic product on defense.
The United States has shouldered a higher share of NATO’s defense expenditures in recent years. According to NATO’s 2013 annual report, Washington was paying 73 percent of the alliance’s defense expenditures, up from 68 percent in 2007.
NATO leaders have demanded that members spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, but several have struggled to meet that threshold. Currently, few European countries are meeting that benchmark. By way of comparison, Russia spends 4.5 of its GDP on defense.
Here’s a look at how European countries -- both in and out of NATO -- and how much of their GDP they spent on defense in 2012 and 2013, based on World Bank statistics. (NATO countries are marked with an asterisk.)
Georgia: 2.9 percent Britain*: 2.3 percent
- Greece*: 2.6 percent
The disparity in defense spending became clear when the U.S. and some allies took the lead in backing rebels seeking to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in 2011. Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the operation had revealed just how reliant the alliance remains on the hardware and coffers of just a few members.
“We need to use this moment to make the case for the need to invest in this alliance, to ensure it remains relevant to the security challenges of the future,” he said in a speech in Brussels in October 2011.
- The issue has received renewed attention in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
US, allies may buy more than 3,100 F-35 jets
South Korea this week said it would join the two countries outside the group, Israel and Japan, that have placed orders for the jet. Singapore and Belgium are among other countries that have expressed interest.
The US is buying more than 2,400 F-35s. Outside of the US, the biggest buyer is the United Kingdom, which plans to buy a total of 138 F-35 B-models. Britain has so far committed to buying 48 of the new planes and is expected to announce plans for the next 14 jets soon. It has already received three jets.
Italy initially planned to buy 131 F-35 fighters, but curtailed its order to 90 jets in 2012. It is now slated to buy 60 F-35A models and 30 F-35Bs, but budget pressures may force another reduction of up to half of the remaining jets.
Other major buyers include the Netherlands (37 jets and possibly more later), Turkey (100), Australia (100), Norway (52), Denmark (possibly 30) and Israel (19, with future orders of up to 75)....................http://www.ellanodikhs.net/2014/03/us-allies-may-buy-more-than-3100-f-35.html