February 21, 2017
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis traveled to NATO headquarters in Brussels to underscore the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance and to defeating ISIS. “The Alliance,” said Secretary Mattis, “remains a fundamental bedrock for the United States and for all the transatlantic community bonded as we are together.”
President Donald Trump expressed the same sentiments earlier this month, saying, "We strongly support NATO.” But he also stressed the need for alliance members to pay their fair share of the defense bill. “We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions to the NATO alliance,” President Trump said, “which many of them have not been doing. Many of them have not been even close. And they have to do that."
Defense Secretary Mattis passed this message on to alliance members during recent meetings. “I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms,” Secretary Mattis said.
“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values,” he stated. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s security than you do. Disregard for military readiness demonstrates a lack of respect for ourselves, for the alliance and for the freedoms we inherited, which are now clearly threatened.”
“It’s a fair demand,” said Secretary Mattis, “that all who benefit from the best defense in the world carry their proportionate share of the necessary cost to defend freedom. And we should never forget ultimately it is freedom that we defend here at NATO. And I do have confidence that we will prove once again that we can react to the changing circumstances; we’ve done so in the past - there’s every reason for confidence that we will move out purposefully together once again.”