NATO chief urges countries to halt defense cuts

The head of the NATO military alliance is urging member countries to stop cutting their defense budgets in response to tough economic times, saying continued reductions will compromise safety.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says defense cuts across the alliance are "a matter of concern."

He spoke before the start of a meeting in Brussels of defense ministers from the 28 NATO countries that will consider, among other issues, ways to cooperate more effectively in order to get the most value for the money being spent.

"My appeal to governments is, firstly, hold the line, stop the cuts," Fogh Rasmussen said. "Secondly, make more efficient use of the resources we do have, through more multinational cooperation. And thirdly, once the economies recover, start to increase defense capacities again."