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"Let us not forget this is a rich alliance," Stavridis said during a forum in Washington sponsored by the Atlantic Council. The U.S. European Command chief and NATO's supreme allied commander noted the combined gross domestic product of NATO's 28 members is $31 trillion.
Many of the alliance's member nations already fail to meet the so-called requirement that members devote 2 percent of their GDPs to NATO.
And with the euro sliding amid the global economic meltdown, some experts are raising concerns that member nations will send even less into alliance coffers.