WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he plans to rebuild the U.S. military by increasing the Pentagon’s budget and by reassessing military alliances and agreements with foreign nations.
The Trump administration has approved two defense-friendly budget bills that have elevated the Pentagon’s spending power to $700 billion in 2018 and $717 billion in 2019.
“We are also getting other nations to pay their fair share,” Trump said pivoting to the defense budgets of NATO allies.
“For years, the United States was being treated very unfairly by NATO, but now we have secured a $100 billion dollar increase in defense spending from NATO allies,” Trump said.
In July, Trump threatened to reduce U.S. military support if allies did not increase defense spending and pushed for the 28 other members to spend more money.
In 2017, the U.S. accounted for 51.1 percent of NATO’s combined GDP and 71.7 percent of its combined defense expenditure. In short, the U.S. contributed more funds to NATO than Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Canada combined.
While U.S. spending in constant dollar terms has risen slightly since 2014, its share of NATO’s overall spending has fallen. When measured as a share of gross domestic product, the U.S. still spends more than the 2 percent target. But its contribution has fallen from 4.78 percent of GDP in 2011 to 3.50 percent this year, according to figures provided by NATO.
In all, the U.S. spent $685.9 billion on defense in 2017.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said of Trump’s speech: “In his State of Union address tonight, President Trump reaffirmed his unwavering commitment to support our troops and to protect American national security interests at home and abroad. Under President Trump’s leadership, we are focused on the full implementation of the National Defense Strategy: increasing lethality, strengthening alliances and partnerships, and reforming the way we do business.”