NATO in 2024 is unlikely to be an Alliance living in harmony. American pressure on Europe to contribute more to its own defence – and thus to the NATO burden-sharing – will remain. Even a post-Trump United States will bring the European Allies to the test, though most probably in a more diplomatic and friendly way. Underlying trends point to a structural change in transatlantic relations with a United States which increasingly will have to cope with its relatively declining position in the world order and a growing role of Europe in taking more responsibility for its own security – although it will remain far from military capable ‘to stand on its own feet’. On the other hand, both on the input and the output side the European contribution to NATO will grow in the years to come. There is also little or no sign that the U.S. will diminish its military presence in Europe. On the contrary, if Putin’s Russia continues to pursue its neonationalistic, anti-NATO agenda the U.S. will be left with no other choice than to stay militarily in Europe. Ultimately, the key to transatlantic unity and its common defence effort lies primarily in Moscow.

In 2019 NATO will celebrate its 70th birthday. Has the Alliance entered its pension period, still alive but perhaps less kicking? The NATO Summit of July 2018 has casted shadows on NATO’s future. President Trump has escalated the NATO norm of spending 2% GDP on defence to the key criterion for measuring the contribution of European Allies to transatlantic burden-sharing. The ‘America First’ ideology has raised eyebrows, also of political leaders in Europe. Is the United States still willing to defend Europe? Never before in NATO’s history has there been any doubt on Washington’s security guarantee to Europe under the Alliance’s core Article 5. Is President Trump really marking a turn? Other US administration representatives, in particular the Vice-President, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, have left no doubt on the US commitment to NATO. Military efforts to reinforce US military presence in Europe point in the same direction. Thus, the question arises: what are the trends affecting the state of the Alliance? Taking the year 2024 – when all NATO countries should realise the 2% norm – as the horizon, what kind of Alliance will exist? In order to answer these questions several trends will be analysed. These trends can be broken down in two main categories: structural challenges to NATO’s own cohesion and the forecast on the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture by 2024. The final section of this paper will be dedicated to the consequences for the Netherlands.

NATO’s cohesion under pressure

The issue of the transatlantic relationship has dominated the Alliance’s history since the day the North Atlantic Treaty was signed on 4 April 1949. Crises occurred regularly, sometimes related to differences of opinion on matters outside NATO (e.g. Suez-1956; Iraq-2003) and on other occasions with regard to the future of the Alliance itself (France leaving the integrated military structure-1966; the Pershing-II and cruise missiles decision-early 1980s). Equally, the burden-sharing debate is almost as old as the Alliance itself. Nevertheless, what kept NATO together at the end of the day was always the shared strategic interest of keeping ‘the West’ together against the Soviet threat through collective defence efforts.

These ‘close-the-ranks’ interests in the Alliance are increasingly challenged by fundamental changes in the international order. They have been defined in previous editions of the Strategic Monitor. The most important ones affecting NATO are: the end of US dominance and the rise of new world powers such as China; a mix of multilateralism and multipolarism (multi-order); increasing pressure on maintaining Western norms and values; the growing complexity of threats and challenges to our security.

Declining US dominance. In strictly military terms the US remains the number one in the world, also in the years to come. In economic terms China is overtaking the US, while other rising states will also take a larger share of the world economic production. President Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine can be seen as a political reaction to globalism and the return to a world dominated by Great Powers. But even when other future US Presidents return to a less protectionist and a less US centered approach, the trend of declining US dominance in global affairs will continue. This has implications for NATO. For example, a weaker US role in world leadership will make direct NATO involvement in crises outside Europe more complicated, in particular in areas where other world powers will resist American influence. UN Security Council mandates for NATO non-Article 5 intervention-type operations are almost unthinkable in such cases. The rise of China and other Asian countries also implies a continuation of the growing geostrategic importance of the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. The ongoing American pivot to Asia is a matter of necessary prioritization – rather than a deliberate choice of Washington. As long as Russia poses a threat to European security continued US military presence in Europe is very likely, but Washington will have to dedicate more resources to the Pacific area at the same time. The trend of American pressure on European countries to take more responsibility for their own security, including through a larger part of the transatlantic burden-sharing, will continue.

The multi-order impact. President Trump almost personifies the shift from multilateralism to multipolarism by his dislike of the Europen Union, his critical attitude towards NATO and his disregard of international organisations in general. ‘America First’ reinforces multipolarism. In reality the US approach is different from Trump’s rhetoric, at least with regard to NATO: the mix of multilateralism and multipolarism seems to point to continued US support to the Alliance, albeit more conditional than in the past – in particular concerning burden-sharing. A substantial American military presence in Europe remains an important indicator for coupling European security to the continental US . NATO is the sole organisation for the direct American participation in European security affairs. Therefore, Washington’s primary interest is to maintain the Alliance as the channel to influence European security matters and to press for a more equal burden-sharing. Naturally, the US-Russia relationship is of crucial importance to NATO, but very little points to a structural improvement. The Crimea annexation, Russia’s anti-NATO attitude, the return of Moscow in the Middle East and the use of the cyber realm to undermine the cohesion of Western societies – all of that will stay with us. Against that backdrop US-Russian relations will remain tense. This does not exclude new agreements on military matters, in particular in the area of strategic nuclear weapons. The US and Russia have a shared interest in (further) limiting their strategic arsenals by mutual agreement as modernisation is consuming large amounts of money. Another area for agreement could consist of measures to prevent incidents with regard to military activities.

Western norms and values challenged. The relative decline of the West is making it more difficult to promote the traditional Western norms of individual freedom, democracy and the rule of law. According to the Economist Democracy Index only 5% of the world population lived in ‘full democracies’ in 2017; 89 out of 167 countries in the world scored a lower index figure than in 2016.[1] Another data base concludes that in 71 countries political rights and civil liberties declined in 2018; it was the 12th consecutive year of declining global freedom.[2] The same picture applies to freedom of the press: only 13% of the world population enjoys a free press.[3] With regard to the rule of law: a majority of countries saw their scores declined in the areas of human rights, checks on government powers, and civil and criminal justice in recent years. The greatest decline occurred in fundamental rights: 71 countries out of 113 in total assessed.[4] The division is no longer ‘between the West and the Rest’: Hungary, Poland and Turkey – three NATO member states – are no longer assessed as full democracies, restrictions on the free press are increasing and the rule of law is under pressure. The impact of populist parties can also be felt elsewhere in European countries. Although this new split between full democracies and ‘illiberal democracies’ is impacting the EU primarily, it could also have an effect on NATO cooperation. In particular Turkey is challenging the Alliance’s cohesion, both by its regional aspirations – its military interference in Syria and Iraq in particular – but also by buying Russian weapons such as the S-400 air defence system.

Growing complexity of threats. Future threat analyses point to a wide range of challenges to NATO – from high-end conflict to natural disasters – in a dynamic and ambiguous security environment. Threats will be increasingly complex; uncertainty will dominate.[5] Technological development in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomy and human augmentation or enhancement can benefit the Alliance, but equally opponents will have access to high-tech weaponry. Technological advances may also create ethical, moral and legal concerns.[6] The trend of the civilian customer market driving innovation and technological breakthrough will continue, making access to new technologies easier than before. The grey zone between armed conflict and peace is another phenomenon that is to stay. State and non-state actors will both challenge Western countries. Powerful states with modernised armed forces can threaten territory and lines of communication. The threat of state and non-state use of weapons of mass destruction will continue to grow; chemical and biological materials and technologies in particular are easy accessible in a globalised economy. Violent extremist groupings attacks will continue with a focus on the Middle East and Africa.[7] The distinction between the state and non-state actors may be further blurred as some of the latter develop into quasi-state actors (as has been the case with IS). Further dependency on the internet continues to offer scope for interruption of government services, key infrastructure and private business with a potential impact on security. The risk of cyber attacks will continue to grow.

NATO and the transatlantic relationship will be confronted by multiple challenges. To a large extent disorder within the Alliance is the product of political development within several member states, Turkey and the US in particular. In that sense NATO might be more threatened from within than from the outside. Thus, the state of the Alliance in 2024 will be dependent primarily on NATO’s internal political cohesion. The different nature of the threats will continue to challenge NATO’s unity, in particular among its European members. Several NATO countries in eastern Europe clearly consider the neonationalist Russia as the major security concern, while in southern Europe the instability and turmoil in the Middle East and Africa are judged to be the most important challenge. Geography, history and national concerns predict continuity of this NATO divide. One of the principal questions for NATO’s future will be how to balance better the security interests of its southern and eastern member states. So far, the ‘360 degrees approach’ is primarily a political expression which is not translated into a military concept. The 2018 Brussels Summit Declaration leaves no doubt on the number one priority: Article 5.[8]

In terms of NATO’s military-operational priorities and related capability development the core taks of territorial defence will continue to dominate. Large-scale non-Article 5 operations – comparable to ISAF – are unlikely for both political (Russia/China; lack of unanimity within NATO) and military (Art. 5 priority) reasons. Multinational high-end interventions will most likely be conducted in coalitions of the willing. A further shift of non-Article 5 operations to capacity-building (training, assistance, security sector reform) can be expected. NATO partnerships, in particular with countries in the Middle East and Africa could be useful in this respect, but concentration rather than proliferation of partnerships might be the way to go in order to be effective. Smaller stabilisation-type operations form another category of possible NATO activity as well as maritime operations (securing sea lines of communication, etc.). Close coordination with the EU – carrying out the same sort of operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy – will be required.

In terms of capabilities the NATO call will be to develop further “an array of robust, sophisticated, and evolving capabilities across all domains, including heavier, more high-end, fully supported and deployable, sustainable, and interoperable forces and capabilities that are held at high readiness to perform the whole range of Allied tasks and missions.”[9] The need for continued Enhanced Forward Presence forces will remain and further expansion is possible, depending on actions by Moscow. Increasing military mobility – in the air, at sea, but in particular across land in Europe – remains a high priority, in which the EU will be of great importance. Nuclear capabilities will continue to form an integral part of the Alliance’s deterrence and defence posture, including forward deployed nuclear weapons in Europe. As clearly stated in the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review contributions of dual-capable aircraft (DCA) by European countries are expected to be continued.[10]

NATO’s future military capabilities

A more equal burden-sharing within the Alliance is considered one of the key factors to lowering transatlantic tensions over the future of NATO. President Trump has turned the issue of defence spending – living up to the 2% GDP norm by 2024 as agreed at the Wales Summit in 2014 – as the dominating tool of judgment. Some analysts argue that higher defence budgets cannot be sustained in the future due to demographic trends. The aging population in Western countries will result in a further increase of national governmental finances being spent on health, retirement benefit and housing for the elderly – now already over 30% of government expenditure. Thus, there will be less state financial resources available for defence than today.[11] Many experts consider the 2% norm alone a poor or even useless criterion to assess the NATO countries’ efforts in capability development. They argue for measuring output.[12] Nevertheless, the NATO norm is politically extremely important, certainly after the 2018 NATO Summit. Furthermore, there is no output without input. One has to look at both input and output to assess the future military capabilities of the Alliance’s member states.

Input – the money factor

In 2018 five NATO countries fulfilled the 2% norm: Greece, Estonia, Latvia, the United Kingdom and the US. Three other member states are expected to reach the norm by the end of the year (Lithuania, Poland and Romania), bringing the total to eight. Looking at the NATO statistics and political announcements in some of the countries another ten Allies will reach the norm by 2024, which currently leaves a group of ten NATO countries in the category “not realising” the 2% norm by 2024 (see Table 1). It should be noted that all Allies have to deliver a notification to NATO before the end of 2018, in which they state if, how and when they will reach the 2% norm. Therefore, the categorisation of countries might change.

Table 1
Realising the NATO 2 percent norm[13]

In 2018

In 2019

In 2024

Not realising














Czech Rep.











Slovak Rep.




* In 2025

The Table 1 overview points to a relationship between fulfilling the 2% norm and the perception of the threat posed by Russia. The Baltic States, Poland and other Eastern European NATO countries will realise the 2% norm, either in 2019 or latest in 2024. On the other hand, two large Mediterranean countries will not realise the norm, which might be seen as an indication of their lower priority to NATO’s core task of territorial defence. A few countries have announced different targets.[14] Based on the NATO 2018 defence data, implementation of the 2% norm by all European Allies would imply an annual increase of just over $ 100 billion or almost € 90 billion (+35%)[15]. Taking into account the available data of the group of ten Allies not realising the 2% norm the overall annual increase will be almost $70 billion or slightly more than € 60 billion (+24%); see Table 2.

Table 2
NATO Defence Spending Forecast 2018-2024


2024-all 2%

2024-not all 2%


$ 285,742

€ 252,119

$ 386,086

€ 340,655

$ 355,438

€ 312.693

  1. 2018 data: Defence expenditure of NATO countries (2011-2018)
  2. 2024-all 2%: calculated on the basis of 2018 GDP
  3. 2024-not all 2%: for member states not reaching the 2% norm the amount of their national defence spending is based on public announcements or, in the absence thereof, the latest available figure for next year (s).
  4. 2018 data: Defence expenditure of NATO countries (2011-2018)

The conclusion is that the total of the defence budgets of European NATO-countries will show a significant increase in the period up to 2024. Eight countries account for 86% of NATO-European defence spending in 2018 (France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, UK). Even when four of them (Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain) will not reach the 2% norm by 2024, these eight countries still account for 85% of the increase in 2024. France, Germany and the UK account for 58% percent of NATO-European defence spending in 2018. This will rise to 63% percent by 2024, based on current real projections.

For the burden-sharing assessment it is worthwhile looking at what the US is factually spending on its contribution to Europe’s defence. Unfortunately, there is no breakdown in the Pentagon’s statistics on defence budget allocation per continent. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London has calculated that the US was spending $ 30.7 billion on its military presence and activity in Europe in 2017. This represented 5.1 percent of the overall defence budget. The 2018 data are $ 36 billion and 5.5 percent.[16] The figure does not include the forces based in the US, which in times of crisis would reinforce the American presence in Europe. A realistic factor of times three would bring the total amount to approximately $ 100 billion. This represents less than 15 percent of the US defence budget. The US-Europe burden-sharing ratio would be 25-75 percent.[17]

Output – US contributions

The number of permanently in Europe stationed US military has increased from 62,635 in 2016 (last year of the Obama administration) to 65,545 in 2018. Approximately 35,000 US military are stationed in Germany, 12,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the UK. In addition, the US has a growing number of forces in Europe on a rotating basis under the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI).[18] EDI funding has almost doubled from 2017 ($ 3.4 billion) to the Fiscal Year 2019 request ($ 6.5 billion). Approximately $1.9 billion of the requested EDI funding will be spent on US increased military presence in Europe. Among the rotating forces are an Armored Brigade Combat Team and Combat Aviation Brigade. The total amount of American military financed by the EDI amounts to more than 9,000. US participation in NATO exercises is increasing and there is a tendency to organise more big exercises.[19] About half of the requested EDI funding for 2019 will be allocated to further build up prepositioned stocks of equipment for a division-sized force.[20] All these measures show a continued US commitment to NATO – in sharp contrast to the impression made by the US President.

Output – France, Germany and the UK

As the combined British-Franco-German share of NATO-European defence spending will further rise to 63% by 2024 the defence policies and plans of these three countries are key with regard to the future of the European contribution to NATO.

France: since the country rejoined the NATO integrated military structure in 2009 Paris has left no doubt on its commitment to the Alliance. It has participated in many NATO crisis management operations, from the Balkans to Afghanistan. However, with regard to the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence the country’s contribution is rather small. France is present in the Baltic States with one company. An important reason is the military activity of France in Africa. There are some 8,000 French military present in various African countries, either permanently stationed or deployed temporarily in operations.[21] The priority for Africa is reflected in the 2017 Strategic Review. The Sahel-Sahara region is the first area mentioned in the chapter on security challenges.[22] Furthermore, Paris is very outspoken that it wants to retain ‘national strategic autonomy’, both in operational and in technological and defence industrial terms. National strategic autonomy requires “a balanced full-spectrum force model capable, sustainably and over time, of guaranteeing the fundamental operational capabilities that are essential for our defence (deterrence, protection, knowledge and anticipation, prevention, and intervention)”. This national strategic autonomy is “now integral to the development of a European strategic autonomy”. To this end France has to play “a federating role in coalitions” with “intelligence resources, cyber capabilities, carrier battle group, command and control capacities, action in outer space, cruise missiles, extended air defence”.[23] This is the context of President Macron’s European Intervention Initiative (E2I): ”By the start of the next decade, the goal is for Europeans to have a shared doctrinal corpus, a credible joint military intervention capability, and appropriate common budget tools.”[24] France has carefully approached eight other European countries to join E2I. On 25 June 2018, together with France, the Defence Ministers of Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK signed a Letter of Intent concerning the development of E2I. The preliminary focus is on developing a shared strategic culture.[25] In the French view there is no contradiction between European strategic autonomy and the NATO commitment. The latter remains key for deterring threats to Allied territory and to defend the NATO Treaty area if required. The first is in line with the 2016 EU Global Strategy, arguing for European strategic autonomy, and with the US call on Europe to take more responsibility for its own security and defence. In the words of a French analyst: “Build on NATO as long as it exists, but at the same time we have to be prepared for the situation we have to do it ourselves.”[26] For that purpose France aims to create a group of European countries to form the core of European high-end intervention capabilities, that can be deployed autonomously – i.e. as a European coalition of the willing – but will also be available to the EU, NATO or the UN.

Germany: while Paris is primarily looking South, the changed security environment has refocused Berlin’s military effort on responding to the threat from the East. Based on the so-called Bühler paper[27] Germany plans to fully rearm its heavy mechanised units. The structure will remain the same: three divisions and eight brigades. But the existing ‘hollow structures’ will be filled up to make them suited for high-end NATO Article 5 operations.[28] Brigades will be reorganised into combined armed formations, which means with their own artillery and other combat support. For the acquisition of additional equipment the German Army has proposed a € 5 billion Land Project 2023. The first transformed brigade should be ready for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2023, when Germany leads the VJTF rotation. One division should be fully modernised by 2027; a second one by 2032.[29] The second aspect of the restructuring is to offer the German Land Forces as an ‘anchor army’ under the Framework Nation Concept (FNC). Partner countries can hook up their units to the German Land Forces, at the brigade level or below. Clearly, the lower the level of connecting national units to the German Land Forces, the more important standardisation and interoperability of equipment becomes.[30] Immediate neighbouring countries – Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands – are the most likely partners for hooking up to the FNC force under German leadership. The Netherlands has already implemented the concept by bringing its 11th Air Mobile Brigade under the command of the German Division Schnelle Kräfte; its 43rd Mechanised Brigade is under the command of the German 1st Armoured Division. In a way Germany is quite comfortable with refocussing on NATO territorial defence. Overseas deployments remain a contentious issue in Germany, in particular with regard to high-end interventions. It remains to be seen how Berlin will cope with its participation in the French European Intervention Initiative.

United Kingdom: NATO remains the bedrock of the United Kingdom’s security and defence concept. Brexit is even reinforcing the UK’s role in NATO, in particular with regard to Enhanced Forward Presence. It is the only European country with a military presence in the Baltic States (a battle group in Estonia) and elsewhere (Typhoon fighter aircraft in Romania). A continued British lead role in reinforcing NATO’s deterrence and defence posture seems very likely. The question mark has nothing to do with policy, but with doubts on the financial sustainability of London’s military commitments. According to the Defence Select Committee[31] maintaining modernised armed forces, nuclear and conventional, will require the defence budget to grow by £ 8 billion annually, leading to a £ 60 billion budget (3 percent GDP) in the long term (2018 defence expenditure stand at £ 36 billion). There is serious doubt if the UK will be able to realise such an ambitious defence budget increase[32] and this might affect the country’s contribution to NATO. The other angle of connecting UK forces to continental Europe is the bilateral cooperation with France under the 2010 Lancaster House Treaties and with other countries in the Joint Expeditionary Force. The Franco-British security and defence cooperation moves steadily forward, both in operational terms – the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) – as well as with regard to armaments programmes. Clearly, in terms of expeditionary operations the UK remains a more natural partner for France compared to Germany. For the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) the UK applies a concept comparable to the Germany FNC: other European countries can hook up to a UK-led intervention force. Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have joined the JEF which reached Full Operational Capability end of June 2018.[33] The JEF can be deployed under NATO, the EU, the UN or in a coalition of the willing. It can also be brought together with French capabilities in the CJEF.

To sum up: France and the UK are becoming European lead nations for expeditionary, initial-entry or intervention operations. Germany is planning to become the lead nation for a heavily armed Land Force, primarily suited for NATO Article 5 territorial defence.

European efforts

In 2017 the EU has launched important new initiatives in the defence area for the implementation of the EU Global Strategy: Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the Commission’s European Defence Fund (EDF). This ‘trilogy’ can be regarded a game-changer, in particular as PESCO and CARD have replaced the old approach of ‘voluntarism’ to ‘binding commitments’ and a system of monitoring and assessing results. EDF brings in money from the Union budget for defence research & technology and the development of military equipment. The financial volumes are small up till 2020, but may be extensive in the period of the EU’s Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. The Commission has proposed to spend € 13 billion on defence in total in that timeframe. Additionally, a dedicated budget of € 6.5 billion will be earmarked in the Connecting Security Facility to enhance strategic transport infrastructure to make them fit for military mobility – which is also a PESCO project with the Netherlands as the lead nation. Furthermore, a proposal has been launched to financially support military CSDP operations through the European Peace Facility. Although as a result of the MFF negotiations the proposed amounts of money may change, the role of the Commission in defence will grow further. Therefore, the ‘trilogy’ of PESCO, CARD and the EDF will have an impact on NATO as they are becoming more and more the focal point for European capability improvement. Strengthening the European Technological and Industrial Base is also an important goal of the EDF. Several large European military equipment programmes are on the radar, such as EUROdrone Male, the Franco-British and Franco-German Future Air Combat Systems projects and the Franco-German cooperation for the Main Ground Combat System. EDF might generate even more European collaborative armament programmes. The trend for the 2020s is clearly in the direction of ‘buying more European’.

Conclusion: Implications for the Netherlands

For the Netherlands the changing transatlantic relationship and increasing European defence cooperation might have the following consequences:

Taking into account the wider character of tensions in the transatlantic relationship and the complexity of the threats the connectivity between security & defence and other policy fields will further increase the need for an integrated security approach. Geostrategic interests have to be brought into e.g. trade and energy policies.
As the biggest threat to the Alliance might come from internal disagreement there will be an increased need for political consultations and other diplomatic efforts, including for promoting Western norms and values as defined in the preambule of the NATO Treaty.
The diverging security and defence priorities of NATO’s eastern and southern member states combined with the ongoing focus on reinforcing the Alliance’s Article 5 deterrence and defence posture – primarily in response to the challenges posed by Russia - will increase the need for a more conceptual military implementation of the ‘360 degrees approach’.
The prominent role of the burden-sharing issue implies continued pressure on member states to realise the agreed NATO norm of spending 2 percent GDP on defence in 2024.
NATO’s Article 5 operational requirements point to continuation of member states’ contributions to the Alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence and to other steps to reinforce NATO’s deterrence and defence posture – both nuclear and conventional.
For non-Article 5 operations the Alliance might primarily call on its member states to contribute to capacity-building and lower-scale stability operations. High-end interventions will most likely be carried out by coalitions of the willing.
In terms of force requirements NATO will continue to ask the member states to strengthen their high-end capabilities quantitatively and qualitatively as well as to invest in cyber security and key enablers such as intelligence and reconnaissance, networked C4I, etc.
The role of the EU in capability development will further increase through the ‘trilogy’ of PESCO, CARD and the EDF. Close coordination with NATO will remain a necessity.
More European collaboration in R&T and development of military equipment, (co-)financed by the Union, will be an important pull-factor for EU member states to participate in European equipment procurement programmes.
In terms of European clusters the defence planning focus of France and the UK, prioritising expeditionary capacities, and Germany – prioritising heavy land forces – will increasingly impact other European countries contributing to operational formats of these three lead-nations.


Democracy Index 2017, The Economist.
Freedom in the World 2018 – Democracy in Crisis, Freedom House.
Freedom of the Press 2017 – Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon, Freedom House.
WJP Rule of Law Index 2017-2018, World Justice Project.
Framework for Future Alliance Operations – 2018 Report, Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.
Kepe, Marta, James Black, Jack Melling, Jess Plumridge, Exploring Europe’s capability requirements for 2035 and beyond – Insights from the 2018 update of the long-term strand of the Capability Development Plan (Brussels: Rand Europe, European Defence Agency, 2018).
See e.g.: Daniel R. Coats – Director of National Intelligence, Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community – Statement for the Record, 13 February 2018.
Brussels Summit Declaration, Issued by Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council 11-12 July 2018 (Brussels: NATO Press Release PR/CP(2018)074, 2018) sections 1-2.
Idem, section 31.
The US will “Promote the broadest possible participation of Allies in their agreed burden sharing arrangements regarding the DCA mission, nuclear mission support, and nuclear infrastructure”, Nuclear Posture Review 2018, Office of the Secretary of Defense, p.36.
Selden, Zacahry, “Demography, defence budgets, and the transatlantic alliance” in Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2018.
Cordesman, Anthony H., NATO “Burden Sharing”: The Need for Strategy and Force Plans, Not for Meaningless Percentage Goals – Fourth Major Revision, (Washington DC: Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 2018).
Data from: Defence expenditure of NATO countries (2011-2018), NATO Communique PR/CP(2018)091, 10 July 2018. It should be noted (a) that the assessment is based on 2018 defence expenditure estimates and (b) that Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania have either national laws or political agreements which call for at least 2 percent of GDP to be spent annually on defence.
Belgium: 1% in 2024, 1.3% in 2030; Germany 1.5% in 2024; Slovenia: 1.1% in 2024. The Italian and Portuguese Ministers of Defence have stated that their national percentages will approximately stay the same 1.2% and 1.4% respectively.
Based on the dollar-euro exchange rate mid-August 2018.
Beraud-Sudreau, Lucie and Nick Childs, The US and its NATO Allies: costs and value (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2018).
Cordesman, Anthony H., NATO “Burden Sharing”: The Need for Strategy and Force Plans, Not for Meaningless Percentage Goals – Fourth Major Revision, (Washington DC: Centre for Strategic and International Studies, 2018) 15.
Previously known as the European Reassurance Initiative, launched under President Obama.
Shalal, Andrea, The US is planning more global military exercises to prepare for a more assertive Russia, (Reuters: August 3, 2017); Braw, Elisabeth, NATO Needs More Big Exercises (Defense One, June 14, 1918).
Department of Defense Budget Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), European Deterrence Initiative, (Washington DC: Department of Defense Budget FY, 2018).
Data as of November 2017. Source: Defence and National Security Strategic Review 2017, p.28.
République Française, Bureau des éditions, Defence and National Security Strategic Review, (Paris: République Française) 21.
Ministère des armées, Publications Office, Draft Military Planning Law 2019/2025 – Synopsis A MPL based on renewal (Paris: Ministère des armées, 2018).
République Française, Bureau des éditions, Defence and National Security Strategic Review, (Paris: République Française) 61.
To develop a shared strategic culture interaction will be enhanced in four main fields: (i) strategic foresight and intelligence sharing, (ii) scenario development and planning, (iii) support to operations and (iv) lessons learned and doctrine. Source: Internationale Militaire Samenwerking, Brief van de Minister van Defensie A.Th.B. Bijleveld-Schouten aan de Voorzitter van de Eerste Kamer van de Staten-Generaal dd. 5 juli 2018, Kamerstuk 33 279, Nr. 26.
Nicole Gnesotto, Professeur titulaire de la Chaire de l’Union européenne, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM), at the EUISS Annual Conference, 8 December 2018, Brussels.
The Bühler paper dates from 2017; it is named after the Director-General for Planning in the German Ministry of Defence, Lt-gen. Erhard Bühler.
Rainer L. Glatz and Martin ZApfe, Ambitious Framework Nation: Germany in NATO, SWP Comments 35, September 2017.
Sebastian Schulte, “German Army proposes Land Project 2023 equipment plan” in IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 11 April 2018.
The integration of a Dutch tank company into the 414th German Tank Battalion serves as the example. Dutch and German military operate exactly the same Leopard 2 tanks, command and control systems are the same, etc. The 414th Tank Battalion is under command of the Dutch 43rd Mechanised Brigade which is commanded by the 1st German Armoured Division.
Beyond 2 per cent: A preliminary report on the Modernised Defence Programme, Seventh Report of Session 2017-2019 Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 12 June 2018.
Trevor Taylor, Haziness on future MoD funding is likely the reason for an update on the Modernising Defence Programme that is rich in platitudes but lacks substance, Commentary, 24 July, Royal United Services Institute.
Nicholas Fiorenza, “Joint Expeditionary Force reaches full operational capability” in IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, 3 July 2018.