WASHINGTON — Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan today said the Trump administration is not looking to impose a new structure on allied nations that would charge those countries the cost of housing U.S. troops inside their borders, plus an extra 50 percent surcharge.
Asked by Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Ak., about whether the plan, first reported as under consideration by Bloomberg, would risk “driving our allies away from us,” Shanahan insisted that the reporting was “erroneous.”
“Senator, we won’t do cost-plus 50 percent,” Shanahan said, in his most energized comments of the hearing up to that point. He then outlined his view on getting allies to contribute more for defense.In testimony, Shanahan underlines it’s ‘China, China, China’
“We’re not going to run a business, and we’re not going to run a charity. The important part is that people pay their fair share — and payment comes in lots of different forms. It can be contributions, like in Afghanistan,” Shanahan said. “But at the end of the day, people need to carry their fair share, and not everyone can contribute, but it is not about cost-plus-50 percent.”
Shanahan’s comments come as he has been in daily contact with NATO members to try and bolster alliance numbers in Afghanistan and Syria, per an administration official.
The news will likely come as a relief to allied nations, particularly South Korea, Japan and Germany, which reportedly were the big three targets for such a policy.
However, Shanahan’s comments do not seem to rule out some sort of new cost-sharing demands from the administration to countries which host American forces, and the Bloomberg report did say the cost-plus-50 plan was only one of several options that had been looked at. Since the early days of his election campaign, President Donald Trump has made getting other nations to pay more on defense a major issue.Published: 2019-03-14 14:57:17