The NATO Summit in Madrid is being the site of many important agreements. The first occurred when the conclave had barely begun: the lifting of the Turkish veto on the entry of Finland and Sweden into the organization. And the second, and possibly the most significant, has been the approval of the 360º Strategy. A plan that opens the possibility of military intervention in any part of the world without the authorization of the Security Council.
The current scenario, with the war in Ukraine in the forefront, has forced the Alliance to rearm and be prepared for anything. Because as the Ukrainians have proven, an armed conflict can break out overnight.
Therefore, certain requirements must be met to enter NATO. Among others, there is the update and defensive capacity. However, not all the countries that make up the organization invest the same money in their armies. For this reason, within the entity there are armed forces more powerful than others.
How could it be otherwise, at the top of this classification is the United States. Without a doubt, it is the country that has allocated the most money to its army, some $800 billion in 2021, which represents 3.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Although it is true that spending decreased slightly compared to 2020, when it represented 3.7% of GDP. The North American country has about 1.4 million troops, according to the IISS Military Balance of 2022. In addition, it has 13,247 aircraft, 6,612 tanks and 484 ships. However, in terms of nuclear power it is only surpassed by Russia, since the US has 5,550 nuclear warheads compared to 6,255 Russians.
[Base naval de Rota: así es el recinto español con destructores norteamericanos]
The United States is several steps above the rest of the NATO countries. The jump to what is considered the second most powerful army in the Alliance is considerable. Because if the North American country has about a million and a half soldiers, France hardly exceeds 203,000 and allocates about 60,000 million dollars to defense. 1,055 aircraft, 406 tanks and 180 ships swell those of the French forces. For their part, the French have 290 nuclear warheads.
The third step of the podium of NATO armies is completed by the United Kingdom, with an expenditure of 71,000 million dollars. The country that throughout its history has boasted of having the best naval navy in the world now has 75 combat ships, including the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers, and its active personnel is 153,000 troops. The islands are also the third nuclear power in the Alliance, with 225 nuclear warheads.
This third rung could well be occupied by Germany, since 183,000 soldiers make up its army. The Germans have a similar number of vehicles to the British: 617 planes, 266 tanks and 80 ships. However, its defensive investment drops to 56,000 million.
[Qué es la OTAN y para qué sirve]
The top 5 of arms powers is closed by Italy, which with its 33,000 million dollars maintains 161,000 soldiers, 862 planes, 200 tanks and 184 ships.
How much does Spain invest in defense?
Spain is currently the second NATO country that invests the least in its armed forces, closing 2022 with an expenditure of 13,136 million euros (1.01% of GDP), only ahead of Luxembourg (0.58%), according to Alliance figures.
However, on the occasion of the Summit in Madrid, the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, has announced that between now and 2029 he will double the budget, which will mean 2% of GDP. A measure that will have to be approved in the Congress of Deputies and that will not have an easy way out, since a good part of its partners are against it, so it will have to seek the support of the opposition.
[Así son los Eurofighters que ha comprado España]
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism