Additional Costs of Stationing U.S. Forces in Europe

ID-76-32: Published: Apr 28, 1976. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1976.

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The costs incurred by the United States in stationing NATO- committed forces in Europe instead of at home are reviewed. The Jackson-Nunn amendment to the 1974 Department of Defense Appropriation Authorization Act required the executive branch to reduce proportionately U.S. Forces deployed in Europe to the extent that the fiscal year (FY) 1974 balance-of-payments deficit was not fully offset. The amendment also provided that substantial reductions in the U.S. cost burden would be sought through appropriate arrangements with NATO and its individual members.

In a report to Congress on July 1, 1975, GAO stated that the balance-of-payments deficit had been fully offset. However, during GAO's subsequent review, it was found that efforts to increase allied burden sharing as required by the amendment have resulted in only small reductions in the additional costs of stationing U.S. Forces in Europe. Further, the Defense Department largely understated these additional costs for FY 1974 at $440 million, while GAO estimated them to be as much as $l.3 billion.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress must determine the extent of U.S. participation in NATO. In the absence of fundamental changes in U.S. objectives in Europe, increased allied burden sharing appears to offer one of the most likely opportunities for reducing the U.S. share of NATO costs. Although further burden-sharing possibilities must be weighed against the allies' willingness and ability to pay and the possible political and military effect of efforts to obtain greater sharing, GAO believes that the high cost of the U.S. commitment to NATO might be used to elicit greater allied burden sharing. It is recommended that Congress consider whether the provisions of the Jackson-Nunn Amendment have been satisfied and whether there is a need for continued and more detailed progress reporting under the amendment.


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