By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
NATO’s Madrid Summit has been about meeting the challenges of today and preparing for the challenges of the future, President Joe Biden said at the conclusion of the alliance meeting Thursday.
The summit was about answering the challenge Russia has made to Ukraine and all countries by Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war. It is about confronting challenges anywhere to the rules-based order that has brought unprecedented peace and security to the world. And the summit was about strengthening the alliance.
“Before the war started, I told Putin that if he invaded Ukraine, NATO would not only get stronger but would get more united, and he would see democracies in the world stand up and oppose his aggression and defend the rules-based order,” Biden said during a news conference. “And that’s exactly what we’re seeing today.”
Biden spoke about Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s Ukraine Defense Contact Group. The group is made up of more than 50 countries pledging to support Ukraine. The group has already pledged nearly 140,000 anti-tank systems, more than 600 tanks, nearly 500 artillery systems and more than 600,000 rounds of artillery ammunition, as well as advanced multiple launch rocket systems, anti-ship systems and air defense systems, the president said.
“The United States is leading the way,” he said. “We provided Ukraine with nearly $7 billion in security assistance since I took office. In the next few days, we intend to announce more than $800 million more, including a new advanced Western air defense system for Ukraine, more artillery and ammunition, counter-battery radars and additional ammunition for the HIMARS [high mobility artillery rocket system] multiple launch rocket system we’ve already given Ukraine and more HIMARS coming from other countries as well.”
The world has changed, Biden said, and the alliance is changing as well. He noted that when the last alliance strategic concept was promulgated in 2010, it characterized Russia as a partner, and it didn’t even mention China.
“At this summit, we rallied our alliance to meet both the direct threats that Russia poses to Europe and the systemic challenges that China poses to a rules-based world order,” he said. “And we’ve invited two new members to join NATO. It was a historic act. Finland and Sweden, two countries with a long tradition of neutrality, choosing to join NATO.”
NATO allies are stepping up. A majority of the allies are on track to meet the 2% of gross domestic product dedicated to defense that they agreed to in 2014 — after Russia invaded Ukraine the first time and illegally annexed Crimea.
He noted that Germany has committed to spending 2% going forward and announced a special fund of $100 billion for its military. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands have announced they will also meet their 2% commitments. Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are doing more than 2.5%, some as high as 3%, the president said.
“Together, we’re deploying more assets and capabilities to bolster our alliance across all domains — land, air, sea, cyber and space,” he said. “We’ve reaffirmed that our Article 5 commitment is sacred: An attack on one is an attack on all, and we will defend every inch of NATO territory.”
The president said the United States is all in. He has enhanced the force posture and changed the force footprint for American forces in Europe. “We’ll station more ships in here, in Spain,” he said. “We’re stationing more air defenses in Italy and Germany; more F-35s in the United Kingdom; and, to strengthen our eastern flank, a new permanent headquarters for the Army Fifth Corps in Poland.”
He has also ordered an additional brigade combat team positioned in Romania, and additional rotational deployments in the Baltic countries.
This was the first NATO Summit where the leaders of Indo-Pacific allies attended. “As I indicated to Putin, … his action would cause worldwide response, bringing together democratic allies and partners from the Atlantic and the Pacific to focus on the challenges that matter to our future and to defend the rules-based order against the challenges, including from China,” Biden said.
The show of unity in Madrid was impressive. The alliance has stood strong against Putin and has vowed to continue “as long as it takes,” the president said.
Putin wanted to break up NATO. He figured the nations would break off from the alliance and act as Finland has since World War II — a neutral nation. “Instead, he got the ‘NATOization’ of Finland,” Biden said. “We’re more united than ever. And with the addition of Finland and Sweden, we’ll be stronger than ever. They have serious militaries, both of them.”