Under a new deal in line with President Donald Trump’s agenda, allied counterterrorism funding will increase, as France finally agreed to the proposed increase in spending after being the single holdout.
One of 29 current member countries, France initially opposed the increased spending, citing fear of where the money would go, and said it felt particularly concerned about spending on counterterrorism activities, including training.
NATO’s core mission doesn’t include sending military forces to the Baltic States and Poland, or counterterrorism activities, and isn’t included in the common budget. Nation members’ diplomats agree that training is important and that it should be covered, but currently, training is funded by voluntary contributions from the member nations currently.
According to NATO’s Active Engagement, Modern Defence, a strategic concept that evolved in 2010, NATO has three core functions including “collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security.”
This is set to change; however, since France finally stopped blocking the new funding initiatives, and the North Atlantic Council of Ambassadors agreed to expand common funding for counterterrorism programs.
This is an important step, according to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the U.S. ambassador to NATO.
According to the Wall Street Journal, counterterrorism programs will see a spending increase of an added $12 to 14 million in the coming year, and the common funding budget of an annual $1.6 billion will increase to accommodate the spending.
The Director of the European Leadership Network, Adam Thompson, who is also the former U.K. ambassador to NATO, said the amount spent on counterterrorism is still small and that of the decision itself:
“The significance … is more political. It signals a willingness to put alliance money where its mouth is on” counterterrorism.”
NATO asked its members to fund the Afghanistan mission more heavily. The U.S. wants 1,000 more troops for the Afghanistan mission and is working up details for “specific asks” from other members. Those members haven’t been forthcoming with yesses, though.
Other potential NATO initiatives could include increased training in Iraq, expanding mobile training teams that work with countries like Tunisia and Jordan to teach them how to fight terror groups better, and even expanding the Special Operations Forces headquarters. This part of NATO “develops training programs for the alliance.”
While all member nations agreed to expand the funding, they are still working out the specifics on what exactly NATO will spend it. They hope to hammer it out at next month’s meeting.
Check out this video of previous NATO training missions in Afghanistan:
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.