Mike Pence told an audience of world leaders that America is “stronger than ever before” and is “leading on the world stage.” The US vice president was attending the Munich Security Conference on February 16. Pence told the conference that the Trump administration has made America’s military stronger than ever before — but, the Vice President said, more investment is needed from NATO allies.
You can watch Pence’s remarks here.
Pence said that, while some NATO members have stepped up their defense spending, many of them still need to “do more” to meet their obligations. He called on NATO members to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense spending, and stressed that 20 percent of that defense spending should be spent on procurement, or buying new equipment.
The vice president said, “The truth is, many of our NATO Allies still need to do more. And the United States expects every NATO member to put in place a credible plan to meet the 2 percent threshold. And, by 2024, we expect all our allies to invest 20 percent of defense spending on procurement.”
Pence did say that many NATO allies have increased their spending and are “on track” to meet what he called their “financial obligations” within the next five years. He said,
“At President Trump’s urging, in the past two years, the number of NATO members spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense has doubled, and the majority of NATO members now have plans in place to meet their financial obligations by 2024. As Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said, thanks to President Trump’s leadership, NATO has seen, quote, “real money and real results.”
But Pence also had a sharp warning that, while the US welcomed increases in defense spending, America did not want its allies to buy weapons from its “adversaries.” The vice president said that the US would not “stand idly by” while its friends bought mmilitary equipment from its foes. He said:
“We’ve also made it clear that we will not stand idly by while NATO Allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”