BRUSSELS -- President
Speaking after a meeting with
Obama’s made the remarks before meeting with NATO Secretary General
The president has ruled out
On Wednesday, Obama made an appeal to unnamed member countries that have reduced defense spending in tight economic times, taking a toll on the 55-year-old alliance.
"If we've got collective defense, it means that everybody's got to chip in. And I have had some concerns about a diminished level of defense spending among some of our partners in NATO; not all, but many. The trend lines have been going down," Obama said. "The situation in Ukraine reminds us that our freedom isn't free and we've got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training that's required to make sure that we have a credible NATO force and an effective deterrent force."