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senate Bill S. 3198

Should the Pentagon & Congress Monitor U.S. Allies’ Military Spending?

Argument in favor

U.S. contributions to mutually beneficial security efforts should be matched by our allies. Keeping track of our allies’ defense spending and contributions to joint operations will help Congress ensure that the U.S. is not taken advantage of by allies who fail to pay their fair share of our mutual defense.

operaman's Opinion
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09/20/2018
If the US taxpayers have a part in helping the foreign military with grants, then absolutely we need yearly audits of all expenditures. There is a history of taxpayers money being siphoned into a politician's pocket.
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James's Opinion
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09/20/2018
Vote all Republicans out of Office, ASAP!!! Jb3
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Kenneth 's Opinion
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09/20/2018
The USA provides large amounts of funding to our allies. It is only responsible of us to track the use of our financial support.
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Argument opposed

Measuring our allies’ defense spending in dollars alone doesn’t fully account for the value they bring to mutual defense efforts. Additionally, expecting most U.S. allies to spend as much as the U.S. on defense simply isn’t reasonable, given the U.S.’ larger economy and more sophisticated military.

Milan's Opinion
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09/20/2018
Let’s just monitor our own spending? Not doing a really great job ourselves so we can hardly police others
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Nancy's Opinion
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09/20/2018
The United States spends more on its military than 8 countries in the world. Our allies should be watching us, not the other way around. Plus, if we cannot afford to educate our children, provide healthcare and build bridges it becomes an additional problem.
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Dicr's Opinion
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09/20/2018
Let’s monitor our own spending and bring it back to reasonable levels.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
    IntroducedJuly 11th, 2018

What is Senate Bill S. 3198?

This bill — the Allied Burden Sharing Report Act of 2018 — would direct the Dept. of Defense (DOD) to submit an annual report to Congress describing: 1) U.S. allies’ annual defense spending, their contributions to military or stability operations in which the U.S. participates, and limitations they place on their military contributions’ use; and 2) actions taken by the U.S. or other countries to minimize limitations on allies’ contributions.

This report would be submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Impact

U.S. allies; Department of Defense; and Congress.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 3198

A CBO cost estimate for this bill is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced this bill to require the DOD to resume compiling and submitting an extensive report that includes the common defense contributions of NATO countries and other allies, including GCC countries, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand:

“NATO and other mutual defense agreements have a purpose, but until we no longer bear the greatest brunt of the financial burden, we cannot and should not consider expanding these commitments. The information included in this report would be instrumental in informing Congress’ oversight of our own military and defense spending and would help educate lawmakers on the return on investment we receive in exchange for our involvement in global alliances.”

President Trump has made U.S. contributions to mutual defense agreements, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in particular, an important issue in his administration’s foreign policy agenda. Ahead of NATO’s July 2018 summit in Brussels, President Trump tweeted twice on this issue:

“The United States is spending far more on NATO than any other Country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable. While these countries have been increasing their contributions since I took office, they must do much more. Germany is at 1%, the U.S. is at 4%, and NATO benefits Europe far more than it does the U.S. By some accounts, the U.S. is paying for 90% of NATO, with many countries nowhere close to their 2% commitment. On top of this the European Union has a Trade Surplus of $151 Million with the U.S., with big Trade Barriers on U.S. goods. NO!”

President Trump also wrote letters to some NATO members ahead of the Brussels summit, stating that Americans were tired of funding Europe’s defense and wanted to see other NATO members carrying more of the load:

““[It is] increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO’s collective security… I, therefore, expect to see a strong recommitment by [country] to meet the goals to which we all agreed.”

Reportedly, the letter sent to Germany contained some of the harshest language.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis supports President Trump’s position, telling NATO allies to meet their budget targets, or “see America moderate its commitment to this alliance.”

After this year’s  Brussels summit, NATO members’ heads of state released a joint formal statement pledging an “unwavering commitment” to meeting defense spending targets:

“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all aspects of the Defence Investment Pledge agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit, and to submit credible national plans on its implementation, including the spending guidelines for 2024, planned capabilities, and contributions. Fair burden sharing underpins the Alliance’s cohesion, solidarity, credibility, and ability to fulfil our Article 3 and Article 5 commitments. We welcome the considerable progress made since the Wales Summit with four consecutive years of real growth in non-US defence expenditure.  All Allies have started to increase the amount they spend on defence in real terms and some two-thirds of Allies have national plans in place to spend 2% of their Gross Domestic Product on defence by 2024. More than half of Allies are spending more than 20% of their defence expenditures on major equipment, including related research and development, and, according to their national plans, 24 Allies will meet the 20% guideline by 2024. Allies are delivering more of the heavier, high-end capabilities we require and are improving the readiness, deployability, sustainability, and interoperability of their forces. The number of activities in which we are engaged has increased, and Allies continue to make valuable force and capability contributions that benefit the security of the Euro-Atlantic area through NATO’s operations, missions, and other activities, as well as through the operations and missions conducted under national authority and the authority of other organisations. As we take stock of the national plans that exist today, we appreciate the unprecedented progress and recognise that much work still remains.  We are committed to improving the balance of sharing the costs and responsibilities of Alliance membership.”

Johannese Thimm, of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, argues that U.S. military dominance makes asymmetry in NATO contributions between the U.S. and Europe is inevitable:

“First, even if NATO is viewed in purely transactional terms… it is a good deal for Washington. Americans calling for more equal burden-sharing, including Trump himself, suggest that the US supports NATO mostly for altruistic reasons. In other words[,] that America is doing Europe a favor. But this picture is incomplete. For the US military, NATO is a force multiplier, providing legitimacy to American power. European allies are engaged in numerous missions like Afghanistan, while the United States mostly calls the shots. US bases in Europe not only protect European allies, but serve as logistics hubs to project power into the Middle East. These are assets the US military would not want to give up. Second, the US defense budget does not depend on Europe’s military spending. It is misleading to argue that Europe must spend more so that the United States can spend less. The Pentagon’s budget is determined by Washington’s assessment of the capabilities necessary to maintain US strategic dominance – on its own, not through any alliance… [Finally, the] US nuclear umbrella is the core of NATO, which was deliberately designed that way. The principle of collective security under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty ultimately depends on nuclear deterrence, which is mainly American. The idea is that everybody, including the Russian government, is aware that an attack on a NATO member could trigger a nuclear war, and thus is deterred from trying it. American taxpayers bear considerable costs to maintain the US nuclear arsenal. But on the one hand no-one in the United States would be prepared to give up US nuclear superiority, and on the other the guarantee of protection discourages other countries from striving for nuclear status themselves (the same logic applies to the US alliances with Japan and South Korea).”

This bill has the support of two consponsors, both of whom are Republicans.


Of NoteNATO has an official goal that all members spend 2% of their GDP on their armed forces. Currently, the U.S. spends 3.5% of its GDP on defense, while the United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia, Greece, Romania, Lithuania, and Latvia are also expected to meet the 2% goal in 2018.

Since NATO’s founding, U.S. presidents have pressed their European allies to increase defense spending in support of the shared NATO mission. Most recently, both the Obama and Bush administration pressed allies to increase their investments to support NATO operations. President Bush made his plea at the Bucharest Summit in 2006. President Obama called on allies to meet their spending commitments to 2% of GDP on defense and 20% of defense spending on equipment in 2014.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: USMC - Sgt. Paul Peterson / Public Domain)

AKA

Allied Burden Sharing Report Act of 2018

Official Title

A bill to require annual reports on allied contributions to the common defense, and for other purposes.

    If the US taxpayers have a part in helping the foreign military with grants, then absolutely we need yearly audits of all expenditures. There is a history of taxpayers money being siphoned into a politician's pocket.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Let’s just monitor our own spending? Not doing a really great job ourselves so we can hardly police others
    Like (95)
    Follow
    Share
    The United States spends more on its military than 8 countries in the world. Our allies should be watching us, not the other way around. Plus, if we cannot afford to educate our children, provide healthcare and build bridges it becomes an additional problem.
    Like (45)
    Follow
    Share
    Let’s monitor our own spending and bring it back to reasonable levels.
    Like (40)
    Follow
    Share
    Vote all Republicans out of Office, ASAP!!! Jb3
    Like (19)
    Follow
    Share
    No we should not monitor our allies defense spending. Our allies help us in so many ways. Not just through how much money they spend. This administration needs to STOP trying to drive wedges between the US & our allies. This is very dangerous. If they keep this up our allies will NOT be there when we need them.
    Like (16)
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    The USA provides large amounts of funding to our allies. It is only responsible of us to track the use of our financial support.
    Like (14)
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    If part of an agreement in which the US shares expenses, yes. If not, it’s none of our business. Do you you want them to monitor ours? That would be really interesting!
    Like (11)
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    We can’t even figure out where our money goes in our military. It’s pure hypocrisy. Get a full audit of the DOD. Until we have that we can’t even make claims about our own spending.
    Like (6)
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    Many of them don't meet their NATO military spending standards anyway. Of course we should make share that they are paying their fair share.
    Like (6)
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    It is not a case of minding our own business people. We are paying to defend our allies and they are not standing with us in their own defense. They pay for their social programs by shifting their defense burdens on to us. So their defense spending is our business. You want to reduce our military spending then get our allies to defend themselves by spending the money it takes to do it.
    Like (5)
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    U.S. contributions to mutually beneficial security efforts should be matched by our allies. Keeping track of our allies’ defense spending and contributions to joint operations will help Congress ensure that the U.S. is not taken advantage of by allies who fail to pay their fair share of our mutual defense.
    Like (5)
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    We can't keep our own military spending controlled. Where do we have the right to monitor someone else's?
    Like (5)
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    We should monitor our allies defence spending, Just like any other partnership, Partners need to know they are getting the same commitment from each other, as long as, the amount of their contribution is based on the same percentage of GDP.
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    Absolutely we should
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    How can we monitor other countries when we can’t control our own irresponsible spending here
    Like (3)
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    If my money, you damn well better be.
    Like (3)
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    Our allies, what’s left of them, are pretty transparent about their military budgets. This bill is redundant.
    Like (3)
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    In a time of diminishing leadership in the world, we gain nothing by antagonizing our allies.
    Like (3)
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    I believe it is wise to be aware of our allies capabilities for defense. If we are committing our resources, people, weapons, technology, and finances to protect another nation, we need to be educated as to that alliance capability to defend themselves.
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