Magazine article National Defense

Costs of New NATO Members Differ; Russian Unease Considered to Lack Merit

Magazine article National Defense

Costs of New NATO Members Differ; Russian Unease Considered to Lack Merit

Article excerpt

With NATO leaders meeting this month to determine the first new Eastern European members, the costs associated with expanding the alliance and the objections of a nervous Russia are being debated.

The Defense Department has estimated the direct cost of enlarging NATO to range between $9 billion and $12 billion per new member, over a 13-year period. The costs would be covered by the existing allies and new members. The United States would pay between $150-$200 million per year for a 10-year period beginning in 1999.

Those figures differ widely from the findings of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated the price tag of an expanded NATO at $100 billion. A study by the Rand Corporation last year projected a low of $40 billion.

CBO used a different threat assessment than the Pentagon, according to Brig. Gen. Robert Osterthaler, deputy assistant secretary of defense, European and NATO affairs. "It was not one that is consistent with U.S. defense intelligence community or NATO."

"The European members have been asked and have agreed to pay their fair share . …

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