Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media J. Todd Breasseale provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon as part of the Secretary General’s pre-Madrid Summit visit to Washington.
The Secretary thanked Secretary General Stoltenberg for his firm and principled leadership of the NATO Alliance and said that in the face of Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, NATO has grown stronger and more united. The leaders agreed that Russia’s actions had galvanized the world to defend the rules-based international order.
Secretary Austin and Secretary General Stoltenberg discussed preparations for this month’s NATO Defense Ministerial and NATO’s Summit in Madrid. Both agreed that Allies were on track to adopt a revised Strategic Concept at Madrid and noted that Allies would discuss adjustments to NATO’s longer-term deterrence and defense posture.
Both leaders also highlighted the importance of defense spending. Secretary Austin said that in light of the new transatlantic security environment, spending two percent of GDP should be considered a floor, not a ceiling. Both also agreed on the importance of following through the NATO leaders’ 2021 decision to increase NATO’s commonly funded budgets.
Secretary Austin assured Secretary General Stoltenberg of the continuing U.S. commitment to the Alliance and outlined many of the recent deployment the United States has taken to assure Allies and deter further aggression.
Secretary General Stoltenberg acknowledged the leadership the United States provides to the Alliance and said he looked forward to welcoming Secretary Austin later this month in Brussels.