Questions have emerged in the United States about the value of America’s transatlantic alliance in an age when many Americans call for fewer foreign commitments and a stronger focus on domestic issues. NATO’s role and value to the United States was highlighted during the 2016 presidential campaign, and President Donald J. Trump has continued to ask questions about the relevance of the Alliance, calling for better burden-sharing between the United States and its European allies.
But NATO is not a case of “America makes, and Europeans take.” NATO and its members contribute directly to US national security through, among many other things, deterrence, deployments in support of US operations, and forward basing close to key security hotspots.
This issue brief lays out the benefits that the United States derives from its membership and leadership of NATO. It provides facts based on numbers, as well as political and strategic benefits, that come with America’s leading membership in the Alliance.