Only 10 of 30 NATO members will hit the 2% of GDP spending goal this year.

France and Norway have joined eight other countries routinely spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on defence this year. The eight are Britain, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and the United States.

All together, NATO members spent roughly $1.03 trillion on defence for 2020.

Accordign to the Alliance:
“NATO collects defence expenditure data from Allies on a regular basis and presents aggregates and subsets of this information. Each Ally’s Ministry of Defence reports current and estimated future defence expenditure according to an agreed definition of defence expenditure.
The amounts represent payments by a national government actually made, or to be made, during the course of the fiscal year to meet the needs of its armed forces, those of Allies or of the Alliance. In the figures and tables that follow, NATO also uses economic and demographic information available from the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission (DG-ECFIN), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In view of differences between both these sources and national GDP forecasts, and also the definition of NATO defence expenditure and national definitions, the figures shown in this report may diverge considerably from those which are quoted by media, published by national authorities or given in national budgets. Equipment expenditure includes expenditure on major equipment as well as on research and development devoted to major equipment. Personnel expenditure includes pensions paid to retirees.”
The cut-off date for information used in this report was the 5th of  October 2020. Figures for 2019 and 2020 are estimates.

You can download the full document in PDF or download the tables in Excel format here.

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Mr Bell

So Baltic states have too spend at least 2% GDP on defence as they border a resurgent and militarily interventional Russia. Poland spends adequately on defence as they have been invaded and occupied far too many times in the last 200 years.
UK only spends 2% because of creative accounting.
Rest of NATO should be ashamed of themselves for not adequately covering their alliance responsibilities.
Especially the laggards Germany, Denmark, Holland, Austria. All are rich countries. There is no excuse.

David Flandry

Good post, including the comment about creative accounting by the UK MOD to meet to the 2% goal. The Netherlands has reduced it navy to meager levels. Its new submarine build will surely be capped at 3 boats. Austria is to sell its advanced fighter squadron. Shame is the correct word.


Austria is not in NATO.

Rob Emms

Agreed. The aforementioned need to get with the programme or potentially be invaded by the Rusky aggressors!!


The Russian federation spends USD 65.1 billion on defence, Germany alone spends USD49.1 billion

David Flandry

You cannot compare the spending in such a manner due to differences in purchasing power and manpower costs.


Excluding the USA the next 5 top spending members of NATO spend USD 197billion between them, the total NATO budget excluding the USA must be near USD300 billion vs USD 65.1 Billion


Very much agree Simon. I’d like to see more defence spending in Europe, but I cant be angry at countries with secure borders and no global expeditionary ambitions spending little on defence.

Paul T

I agree all NATO Members should pull their weight with Funding,Donald Trump has been entirely correct in his attitude towards it in my opinion.But there are reasons for underspending – take Germany for example,if they spent 2% of GDP on Defence what could they possibly buy to use up £58 billion ,compared to our (2020) Budget of £41.3 billion ?.Also Austria can be excused because they are not actually members of NATO.


Well Germany could buy assault weapons so that their troops don’t train with broom handles.
Perhaps new submarines given their entire submarine force was unavailable for service in 2017.
Perhaps scrap and replace their 4 new listing top-heavy under-armed F125 frigates; the ones whose only air-defence is the CIWS.
Perhaps accelerate their programme to replace their ageing nuclear-strike Tornadoes with modern aircraft.
Just a few suggestions… 🤷‍♂️


I don’t personally want Germany to spend 2% on there defence they are a big enough pain already


Are they?


Correction, Poland spend EU money fot its defense


Holland isnt a country, Austria isnt in NATO, Canada, Italy, and Spain all spend less % of GDP on defence than Germany (which has been steadily increasing its defence expenditure), and Danish contributions to NATO, while small in scale, have been very valued by other states. Just ask any squaddie who was supported by Danish Leopards in Afghan….


Western Europe has sponged off the US and UK taxpayers for the last 100 odd years (for a start France and Italy never paid their WW1 debts – France in todays terms roughly $250 bn and US 340bn) . Then Germany got off lightly for its reparstions….so nothing new happening here.


Nice non sequitur, for what its worth: Cry me a river about ww1 debts, I’m sure the US can deal with it.
As for German ww1 reparations being light… that’s hilarious.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dern

I think he was talking about Germany in ww2 nobody thinks Germany got of lightly after ww1


If that the argument you just need to point out the ww1-ww2 dynamic for the dangers of punishing countries “too harshly.”


I am not sure Germany got off lightly… They had half their country removed by the Soviets and we half inched much of their factory equipment and engineering secrets.


I think the last thing Europe needs is Germany spending 2% of its GDP on defence

Peter S.

I wonder if the 2% of GDP is any longer a useful baseline. Most/all members will see a decline in GDP because of the pandemic so simply keeping expenditure as it is could mean reaching the baseline. Would it not make more sense to specify in some detail what each member must provide to benefit from NATO help when needed? Indeed, such an approach might allow members to narrow their range of capabilities and expand the most useful. Countries like Turkey probably wouldn’t play but are they really a NATO member any more. For the UK, it might mean (… Read more »


Germany aren’t even trying….


Look to Poland, currently tip of the spear and knowing how to plan and execute defence policies and procurement.

David Flandry

Austria is not formally a member of NATO, but has participated in planning for mutual defense for decades. Russia will hardly recognize national boundaries in case of war.