To meet the current security policy challenges, Allies agreed at the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales to increase their defence expenditure in the years until 2024, pledging to move towards spending 2% of their respective Gross Domestic Products on defence (paragraph 14 of the Wales Summit Declaration, September 2014), so as to obtain and maintain the required military capabilities. The agreement to move towards spending 20% of defence budgets on investments in major new equipment serves the same purpose.
All NATO member countries coordinate their national defence planning in such a way that NATO always has at its disposal the full range of capabilities it needs.
In these times of the COVID-19 pandemic and in view of its economic effects, sufficient and consistent funding must be made available for capability development in NATO – not least to prevent the health crisis from becoming a security crisis.
In recent years, NATO has launched several initiatives designed to ensure that, through better coordination and enhanced cooperation, member countries can maintain operational readiness and acquire new capabilities in a timely manner. Because just as important as the level of defence expenditure is the question of how resources can be most effectively employed. This is primarily achieved by more closely coordinating the armed forces of European Allies and by harnessing synergies.
The Framework Nations Concept
The Framework Nations Concept (FNC), which was developed by Germany, was also adopted by NATO heads of state and government at their summit meeting in Wales in 2014.
The FNC gives participating countries the opportunity to bundle their capabilities in multinational clusters and thus build larger formations. The respective framework nation takes responsibility by contributing core military elements – i.e. logistics, command and control, etc. – to cooperative projects and also by ensuring that these are properly coordinated, both among participating countries and with NATO.
Ultimately, it also promotes transatlantic burden-sharing, because by combining military capabilities in a structured way and jointly developing new capabilities in Europe, European Allies are making their defence-related efforts more effective.
Moreover, the FNC has a European dimension: It strives to gradually better integrate European armed forces and promote the development of European security policy; this, in turn, strengthens the European pillar of NATO.