This resolution would call on other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries to meet or exceed their defense spending obligations that they committed to when joining the alliance. Members of NATO are required to spend at least two percent of their country’s gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, and 20 percent of their defense spending must go toward major equipment. In 2016, only five countries are expected to meet the requirement to spend two percent of GDP on defense: the U.S., Greece, Great Britain, Estonia, and Poland.
The NATO alliance was formed in 1949 by 12 North American and European nations to provide for a unified defense if one member came under armed attack from an enemy, which was expected to be the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies during the Cold War. Article 5 of the NATO charter is sometimes known as “The Three Musketeers Clause” because an attack on one member country is considered an attack on all, thus requiring the alliance to come to the country’s defense.
NATO isn’t only a military alliance though, as it also promotes democratic values through political means. Since its founding, another 16 countries have joined NATO and several others are considering joining — including some of the 22 Partnership for Peace partner nations.
As a simple resolution, this legislation would neither have the force of law nor advance to the Senate if passed.