Contact Us

Defense Secretary Chuch Hagel Wants Europe To Increase NATO Support

French President Hollande Lays Wreath At Arlington Nat'l Cemetary's Tomb Of The Unknown
Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday the European allies must start bearing more of the burden of modernizing NATO or risk it becoming irrelevant.

In remarks to the opening of a two-day defense ministers meeting at NATO headquarters, Hagel said the current path of declining European defense investment is not sustainable.

“As European economies recover, leaders must make the case for renewed investment in military capability,” he said. “The current path is not sustainable. Our alliance can endure only as long as we are willing to fight for it,and invest in it.”

He added, “If the alliance is to remain effective, adaptable, and relevant, rebalancing NATO’s burden-sharing and capabilities is mandatory – not elective.”

Hagel’s remarks echoed warnings from his predecessors going back to the days of the Cold War. What’s different now is that NATO is emerging this year from its first-ever protracted land war, in Afghanistan, whose costs and hardships create questions for many Europeans about the future role of the alliance.

“America’s contributions in NATO remain starkly disproportionate, so adjustments in the U.S. defense budget cannot become an excuse for further cuts in European defense spending,” Hagel said, according to prepared remarks provided to reporters, who were not allowed to attend his closed-door conference.

Hagel was attending a dinner Wednesday at which the ministers were expected to begin discussing events in Afghanistan and the prospects for a future U.S. and NATO military role there. The ministers were to be briefed on Thursday by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. and allied commander in Kabul.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Best of News Talk 940

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for VOA VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive VOA VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.