Military Capabilities and the Evolution of the Transatlantic Security Community

Europe’s strategic context is increasingly defined by declining defense resources. At the end of the Cold War the United States accounted for 50 percent of NATO defense spending with Europe and Canada picking up the other half. Now, this ratio had changed with the US meeting 75 percent and future trends indicating the US making up four-fifth of NATO expenditure.

Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned the allies of ‘collective military irrelevance. Leon Panetta, his successor, concluded that were the Libya operation conducted in 2012 the United States would have to provide not the 60 percent support it did in 2011 but more like 80 percent. Testifying before Congress, Panetta stated, ‘we can’t do it alone. We’ve got to be able to have alliances like NATO to be able to work with us in confronting the many challenges we face in the world. Writing in Foreign Affairs, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen challenged Europeans ‘to avoid having the economic crisis degenerate into a security crisis.

Author: Dr. Regina Karp, Director, International Studies Program, Old Dominion University

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