Visualizing NATO Defense Spending by Country

This Is How Much NATO Countries Spend on Defense

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exists for the sole purpose of facilitating a political and military alliance between almost 30 countries. All are obligated to one another in times of war, but some countries have much stronger militaries and defense systems than others.

Using data from NATO, this map reveals what each NATO member country spends on its own national defense.

Note: Numbers are 2021 projections.

Biggest NATO Defense Spenders

The U.S. spends more on defense than any other NATO country.

According to the 2021 estimates, U.S. defense spending will be close to $811 billion this year. On the other hand, the defense spending of all other NATO countries combined is projected to be $363 billion, meaning the U.S. will outspend all other countries by a whopping $448 billion. Search:

RankCountryMillions (USD) 2021pChange (2014-2021)
#1๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States$811,14024.0%
#2๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom$72,76510.8%
#3๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany$64,78540.3%
#4๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France$58,72912.9%
#5๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$29,76321.5%
#6๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada$26,52346.0%
#7๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$14,87517.7%
#8๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands$14,37838.9%
#9๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland$13,36932.3%
#10๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey$13,057-3.8%

Showing 1 to 10 of 29 entriesPreviousNext

NATO is based on building up forces and equipment for the goal of joint security and defense. And, despite the pandemic, many members did increase their spending in 2020.

However, not all countries contribute equally. The agreed-upon target for European NATO members, for example, is to spend 2% of GDP on defense by 2024, but many countries are not on track to meet this goal.

Who Pays for NATO Itself?

One of the key pillars of NATO is collective defense: a commitment to the idea that an act of violence against one or more of its member states is an act of aggression towards all.

Collective defense, cooperative security, and crisis management are at the heart of NATOโ€™s purpose and operations.

Apart from defense spending, running a transcontinental political alliance costs around $3 billion annually. So which countries foot the bill for these expenses? Search:

CountryCost Share Arrangements
(2021-2024)
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States16.36%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany16.36%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom11.29%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France10.50%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy8.79%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada6.88%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain6.00%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey4.73%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands3.45%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland2.99%
Total100.00%

Showing 1 to 10 of 29 entriesPreviousNext

Members have pre-arranged mechanisms to divide NATO alliance expenses evenly.

Getting into specifics, the members are paying for:

  • Civilian staff wages and overhead costs of running NATO headquarters.
  • Running strategic commands, joint operations, early warning and radar systems, training, etc.
  • Defense communications systems, harbors, airfields, and fuel supplies.

The Future of NATO

While outright nation-on-nation conflict is becoming more rare, threats to the collective security of NATO allies have not disappeared.

While countries may have differing opinions over the exact amount each should contribute, rising expenditures are a sign that NATO is still a priority for the near future.