The North Atlantic Treaty Organization – or NATO is a military and political alliance used to guarantee each of its members' security and freedom. Created after World War II, 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 diplomatic efforts 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
During the 2014 summit, all NATO members agreed to spend 2% of their GDPs on defense by 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 exceed the 2% threshold. The United States spends 3.6% of its GDP on defense. This equates to just under $686 billion.
Another nation that has met this threshold is the United Kingdom, which spends 2.1% of its GDP on defense – or $55.2 million. 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 precisely 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 relatively low compared to the other NATO members.
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%