NATO slows down integration of new members
NATO is slowing down the military integration for the three new members. This becomes clear from the funds allocated. NATO countries decided in December 1997 to spend only $1.5 billion over ten years - a 70% reduction from the US Department of Defense (DoD) study of February 1997.
The DoD in a report to Congress titled The Military Requirements and Costs of NATO Enlargement" released on February 23, has backed down from its higher figures and endorsed NATO estimates.
Although the figures are an attempt to appease parliamentary opposition in all NATO countries, it nevertheless is welcomed", says Otfried Nassauer, Director of the Berlin Information-center for Transatlantic Security (BITS). It would give some breathing space for the parallel development of NATO- Russia cooperation".
The allocated funds are:
$ 581 million
$ 699 million
$ 39 million
The allocated funds do not account for the cost of purchasing military equipment such as modern fighter planes and attack helicopters that all three new members are planning to buy. Buying F-16 or F-18 fighters will add significantly to the projected costs. Taxpayers in both the new member countries and in the NATO countries trying to sell their weapons will eventually foot the bill", said Tasos Kokkinides, Senior Analyst at BASIC.
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