BOARD A US AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT ABOVE THE ATLANTIC OCEAN — US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter remains concerned about declining defense budgets in Europe, at a time he says NATO is facing new challenges .
“In general, our view is they’re not investing enough,” Carter said of US allies in Europe. “We’d like to see more. We understand the economic circumstances in general, but still in all, security is a very important thing to be investing in.
“I certainly will be continuing to argue that the Europeans should be making bigger investments.”
That call is likely to be repeated over the next month when a trio of major European meetings – the annual G7 gathering, the NATO ministerial and the Council of Europe – gather key European allies together, a defense official said on background.
Carter made his comments June 5 to a group of reporters, just hours after the conclusion of a major review of US strategy as it relates to Russia.
The secretary pointed out that a few years ago, the discussion revolved around NATO’s lack of a mission in a post-Cold War era. Now, he said, the alliance is faced with two distinct, but serious threats, in the form of Russian aggression and the Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS.