Gates criticizes NATO. How much does U.S. pay?

CBS News
By David S. Morgan
June 10, 2011

In a speech in Brussels, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that America’s military alliance with Europe faces a “dim, if not dismal” future, owing to what he characterized as the United States’ disproportionate funding of NATO operations, and of allies “willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.”

In decrying the inability of all NATO members to contribute to operations, such as enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, Gates said, “Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t. The military capabilities simply aren’t there.” …

The United States contributes between one-fifth and one-quarter of NATO’s budget. In FY2010 that contribution totaled $711.8 million.

But that factors in only direct payments, not deployments of personnel which – outside of special operations, such as in Afghanistan or Libya – may be used to train European forces (for example, in anti-terrorism skills) that benefit U.S. security. …