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The allocation of burdens and responsibilities within NATO has been a contentious issue since the formation of the alliance. This report explores the reasons that European defense spending is proportionately less than that of the United States, and contrasts the European spending record with their more impressive record in supplying defense resources to the Atlantic Alliance. The analysis makes clear that there are no simple quantitative criteria for assessing burden-sharing performance. Changing perceptions of the Soviet threat, and the forthcoming 1992 change in the European Economic Community, complicate the burden-sharing issue. Burden-sharing must be addressed together with needed changes in NATO military strategy and doctrine, and in light of the new political challenge for NATO governments posed by the Soviet Union's new style of security diplomacy. A clearer consensus within NATO on a future force structure and military doctrine is essential for acceptable future burden-sharing arrangements.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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