At his first NATO meeting on Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be tasked with reassuring the organization’s member-nations that the United States remains committed to them, NBC News reported.
Tillerson initially planned to skip the summit and has done little to calm fears stirred by President Donald Trump having labeled NATO as “obsolete” and suggesting that the U.S. wouldn't protect its members against Russian aggression unless they increased their military spending.
Members are concerned about whether the Trump administration understands how NATO works, as well as what type of implications could arise if the U.S. doesn’t fulfill its role, said Keir Giles, an associate fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House.
The U.S. is considered the de facto head of NATO, as it holds the world’s most powerful military. Its members pledge to defend each other in case of an attack, but most countries now spend less than suggested two percent of GDP.