Donald Trump’s statement that we are paying approximately 73 percent of the cost of NATO is factually inaccurate. The total NATO budget for 2016 is $2.3 billion, including $245 million in the civil budget, $1.3 billion in the military budget, and around $763 million for the NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP). The U.S. cost share in the NATO budget currently sits at 22.1 percent for 2016-2017. Taken as a percentage of our entire defense budget, our NATO burden stands at less than one-tenth of one percent. Against this investment, we receive the benefit of hundreds of thousands of European troops deployed alongside our own soldiers around Europe to deter the growing threat of Russian aggression, and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq to act as a force multiplier for U.S. forces engaged in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency fights, including against enemies who could become capable of striking the American homeland.
As President Obama approaches his final months in office, many wonder if deepening global disorder will lead to a change of foreign and defense policy, much as at the end of the Carter administration. While the Obama administration has taken some steps to counter growing global threats, the president’s interview in the Goldberg Atlantic article makes clear that he has not changed his views on America’s role in the world. This analysis on the one-year anniversary of the 2015 NSS confirms the view that the president is unlikely to change course during his remaining months in office.