NATO chief urges defense budget hike amid command expansion

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary for Defense Jim Mattis prior to a meeting at NATO headquarters in Bru

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary for Defense Jim Mattis prior to a meeting at NATO headquarters in Bru

From left, Dutch Defense Ank Bijleveld, Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput, German Defense Minister Ursuala von der Leyen, Luxembourg's Permanen

From left, Dutch Defense Ank Bijleveld, Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput, German Defense Minister Ursuala von der Leyen, Luxembourg's Permanen

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is urging European allies and Canada to keep ramping up defense spending, as the alliance expands its command headquarters in response to a more assertive Russia.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday that "to keep our nations safe, we need more defense spending, investment in key capabilities, and forces for NATO missions and operations."

At NATO talks in Brussels, defense ministers are set to announce the creation of two new command centers to cover trans-Atlantic maritime transport routes and logistics and transport within Europe.

The U.S. is expected to take responsibility for the Atlantic command, while Germany is best placed for the logistics hub. Allies are also likely to announce the launch of a new cyber operations center.