For the first time in over a decade, military spending around the world has actually declined. In just two years, it has dropped by $40 Billion in the United States alone. It is interesting to note that Saudi Arabia spends more than Germany. Also that Brazil is in the top ten.
The site 24/7 Wall Street reports:
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) measures annual military spending for most of the world’s armed countries. According to SIPRI, the United States spent $668 billion, more than the combined budgets of the next 10 countries. While the U.S. budget has declined, some of the other global powers, including Russia and China, have ramped up spending.
The major decline in the U.S. military budget was the result of two factors, explained Carina Solmirano, senior researcher at SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. The first is the severe decline in overseas military spending after America’s eight-year war in Iraq ended in 2011, as well as the continued wind down of operations in Afghanistan, Solmirano said.
“The second reason,” said Solmirano, “is purely economics. … The United States is facing a huge deficit crisis, and as part of the agreements in 2011 and 2012, the Department of Defense agreed to start a reduction of expenditure — quite a significant reduction.” Solmirano added that barring the emergence of a new conflict, U.S. military spending likely will continue to fall.
Here are the top five countries for military spending:
1. United States
- Military expenditure: $668.8 billion
- Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 4.4%
- One-year spending change: -6.0%
- Total exports: $6.2 billion (the highest)
- Total imports: $670 million (6th highest)
The United States spends more on the military than any other country by a wide margin. The country’s military budget accounts for roughly 40% of all military spending in the world, according to SIPRI. However, military spending has declined since 2010, when it hit more than $720 billion. Much of the drop has been due to reduced presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is by far the largest arms exporter in the world — in 2012 the United States exported more than $6.2 billion worth of arms, more than $2.4 billion more than the second-largest exporter, Russia. Earlier in June, the White House announced it was arming Syrian opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
- Military expenditure: $157.6 billion
- Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 2.0%
- One-year spending change: 7.8%
- Total exports: $443 million (8th highest)
- Total imports: $872 million (4th highest)
China increased its annual military expenditure from $107 billion in 2008 to more than $157 billion in 2012. Despite this spending increase, military expenditure as a percentage of GDP has remained relatively stable at around 2%. China has had one of the world’s fastest growing economies in recent years, even with GDP growth slowing to 7.8% in 2012. Currently, China is embroiled in a tense dispute with Japan over the resource-rich Diaoyu islands (called the Senkaku islands in Japan). China also historically has had tense relations with Taiwan, which it still considers to be a breakaway province.
- Military expenditure: $90.6 billion
- Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 4.4%
- One-year spending change: 15.7%
- Total exports: $3.8 billion (2nd highest)
- Total imports: $8.2 million (74th highest)
Russia’s military budget has grown significantly in the past several years. In 2008, Russia spent just under $68 billion, or 3.7% of GDP. By 2012, the military budget had grown to more than $90.6 billion, or 4.4% of GDP. The largest increase in spending came between 2011 and 2012, when the budget was increased by 16%. Russia has been in the process of upgrading its weapons over the past several years, working to replace aging submarines, assault ships and ballistic missiles. Russia was the second-largest exporter of weapons in 2012, shipping out more than $3.8 billion in arms. Russia has more self-propelled guns and Corvette missiles than any other country.
- Military expenditure: $62.6 billion
- Expenditure as pct. of GDP: 2.3%
- One-year spending change: -0.3%
- Total exports: $272 million (11th highest)
- Total imports: $87 million (38th highest)
France’s military budget of $62.6 billion in 2012 was higher than any other country in the European Union. However, this has declined every year since 2009, when military spending reached more than $69.4 billion. The military cuts are not over. In April, France announced it would freeze military spending, with an expected budget of roughly $235 billion for the next six years. By 2019, France is expected to reduce its armed forces headcount by 34,000, or nearly 10% of its current force. As of 2011, France had more active military members than all other countries in the EU at 362,485.
5. United Kingdom
- Military expenditure: $59.8 billion
- Expenditure as % of GDP: 2.5%
- One-year spending change: -0.8%
- Total exports: $351 million (10th highest)
- Total imports: $254 million (17th highest)
Military spending in the United Kingdom fell for the second straight year in 2012. This was likely due, in part, to a slow GDP growth of less than 1% for the second straight year and a decline in government spending as a percentage of GDP for the third straight year. Early this year, the United Kingdom cut 5,000 troops from its armed forces as part of the nation’s broad austerity measures. The U.K. spent just 2.5% of GDP on the military in 2012 and exported just over $350 million in weapons. By contrast, 25 years earlier, the nation spent 4.0% of its annual GDP on its military and exported $2.5 billion worth of arms.