U.S.-NATO Burden Sharing:

Allies' Contributions to Common Defense During the 1980s

NSIAD-91-32: Published: Oct 23, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the efforts of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in defense burden sharing, focusing on the: (1) status of proposed U.S. burden-sharing initiatives and allies' responsiveness to those initiatives; (2) allies' record of meeting their military commitments; and (3) effect of future force reductions on defense burden sharing.

GAO found that: (1) NATO determined force goals for each country in terms of military requirements during its defense planning process; (2) only West Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States consistently implemented force goals at high levels, while other countries could increase their efforts to meet force goals; (3) the United States pursued such defense improvement initiatives as increasing members' real defense expenditures by 3 percent annually, correcting long-term defense deficiencies, improving conventional defense, increasing the NATO infrastructure fund, and relocating bases; (4) defense burden sharing remained an important issue for the future in spite of proposed force reductions; (5) West Germany, the United States, and NATO shared in equipment procurement and infrastructure funding as part of the wartime host nation support agreement; (6) West Germany provided free land and housing, maneuver damage claim payments, tax and customs fee exemptions, stationing costs, troop relocation and facilities improvement costs, and some labor cost sharing, and also maintained welfare and morale of service members as part of its peacetime host nation support agreement; (7) the United Kingdom agreed to provide lines of communication support and collocated operating bases to U.S. forces as part of its wartime host nation support agreement; (8) the United Kingdom provided rent-free land, housing units, and some tax and fee exemptions as part of its peacetime host nation support agreement; and (9) the United States attempted to negotiate peacetime initiatives with the United Kingdom to reduce fees and secure additional housing.

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