The North Atlantic Treaty Organization – or NATO – is a military and political alliance that is used to guarantee the security and freedom of each of its members. The goal of NATO is to promote democratic values, cooperate on defense and security issues, and to build trust among members. This in turn helps prevent conflict from occurring. NATO also promotes a peaceful resolution of disputes. However, if efforts to be diplomatic do not work, the military alliance is used for crisis-management operations.
As of 2019, there are 29 members of NATO. Those nations include:
- Belgium, Bulgaria
- Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic
- Germany, Greece
- Iceland, Italy
- Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg
- Netherlands, Norway
- Poland, Portugal
- Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain
- United Kingdom, United States
At the 2014 summit in Wales, all of the NATO members agreed to spend 2 percent of their GDPs on the defense by the year 2025. According to data gathered in 2017, many nations still fall short of this threshold.
The United States is just one of three nations that actually exceed the 2 percent threshold. In fact, the United States spends 3.6% of its GDP on defense. This equates to just under $686 billion dollars.
Another nation that has met this threshold is the United Kingdom, which spends 2.1% of its GDP on defense – or $55.2 million. The nation of Greece has spent 2.4% of its GDP on the military, which is about $4.7 million.
Poland has also met this goal by spending exactly 2% of its GDP toward its military.
France falls just slightly short of the goal by spending 1.8% of its GDP on defense. Romania also spends this percentage but with a smaller GDP, pays a smaller amount. Latvia’s military spending is also 1.8% of its GDP but the total amount spent is quite low when compared to the other members of NATO.
By percentage of GDP spent, the U.S. comes out on top. In order of percentage of GDP spent, the top 10 nations include:
- United States: 3.6%
- Greece: 2.4%
- United Kingdom: 2.1%
- Estonia: 2.1%
- Poland: 2.0%
- France: 1.8%
- Romania: 1.8%
- Latvia: 1.8%
- Lithuania: 1.7%
- Norway: 1.6%
This list changes if you sort by the total amount spent. The top 10 NATO nations with the highest military spend are:
- United States
- United Kingdom