Pentagon chief says NATO members must boost defense spending

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Retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to serve as defense secretary in Washington, U.S. January 12, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX2YOX1

Retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis testifies before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to serve as defense secretary in Washington, U.S. January 12, 2017. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

BRUSSELS — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has told NATO allies that they must start increasing defense spending by year-end or the Trump administration will “moderate its commitment” to them.

That’s according to a text of his remarks to the alliance’s 27 other defense ministers — who are meeting in Brussels.

He’s not detailing how the U.S. might lessen its commitment if NATO members fall short.

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Mattis is echoing a demand made repeatedly by President Donald Trump.

The Pentagon chief says NATO must adopt a plan this year that sets milestone dates for governments to meet a military funding goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

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