Military expenditures continues to increase across the globe

An estimated $1.822 trillion spent around the world; Israel ranks 17th out of top 40 military spenders for a second year in a row.

By
April 28, 2019 23:57
3 minute read.
Soldiers of the German army Bundeswehr take part in an exercise during a media day in Germany

Soldiers of the German army Bundeswehr take part in an exercise during a media day in Munster, Germany September 28, 2018. (photo credit: FABIAN BIMMER / REUTERS)

Military expenditure across the globe continues to rise and have reached their highest level since the Cold War, a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has found.

The report found that global military spending is now 76% higher than the post-cold war low in 1998, with an estimated $1.822 trillion spent in 2018, 2.6% higher than the previous year and 5.4% higher than in 2009.

The five biggest military spenders in 2018 were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France, which together accounted for 60% of global military spending. Military spending by the US increased – for the first time in eight years – by 4.6%, reaching $649 billion, and spending by China grew for the 24th consecutive year.

“In 2018 the USA and China accounted for half of the world’s military spending,” said Dr. Nan Tian, a researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) program, adding that “the higher level of world military expenditure in 2018 is mainly the result of significant increases in spending by these two countries.”

According to the report, the US spent $649b. on its military in the past year, “almost as much as the next eight largest-spending countries combined” due to the implementation of a new arms procurement program under US President Donald Trump.

“The USA remained by far the largest spender in the world, accounting for 36% of global military spending in 2018,” SIPRI said.

The report found that China, the second-largest arms spender, spent $250b. on military expenditures in 2018, almost 10 times higher than in 1994 and accounted for 14% of the globe’s military spending.

Out of the 40 countries with the highest military expenditure over the past year, the top spenders are the United States (placing first with $649b.), China (coming in second with $250b.), Saudi Arabia (taking the third spot with $67.6b.), India ($66.5b. placing fourth) and France (placing fifth).

According to SIPRI, the top 15 military spenders in the world in 2018 were the same as those in the previous year except for Russia which ranked outside the top five for the first time since 2006 coming in at number six.

While the report stated that SIPRI has not been able to estimate the total military expenditure in the Middle East since 2014 “because of a lack of data for Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates [UAE] and Yemen,” the combined total military expenditure for the 11 countries for which data is available in 2018 was $145b.

Two of the top 15 global spenders in 2018 are in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, which ranked third, and Turkey, which came in at 15th. For the second year in a row, Israel ranked 17th, below countries like Spain (16), Turkey (15), Canada (14) and Australia (13).

According to the report, Israel’s military spending was $15.9b. in 2018, a small increase of 0.7% compared with the previous year. “After a peak in 2015 – related to military operations in 2014 in the Gaza Strip – Israeli military expenditure decreased by 13% in 2016 and by 1.0% in 2017,” the report read.

Israel’s military exports unit of the Defense Ministry announced last week that military exports by Israel brought in $7.5b. last year, the first decline in three years which saw consecutive increases in defense exports.

While that figure for 2018 was $1.7b. less than in the previous year it was still higher than the average for the past decade, the ministry said.

Meanwhile Iran came in at number 18 with a military expenditure at $13.2b., a decrease of 9.5% after the Iranian economy went into recession and inflation increase from 10% to 30% in 2018.

According to the report, six of the 10 countries with the highest military burden in the world in 2018 are in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia (8.8% of GDP), Oman (8.2%), Kuwait (5.1%), Lebanon (5.0%), Jordan (4.7%) and Israel (4.3%). The other four are Algeria (5.3%), Armenia (4.8%), Pakistan (4.0%) and Russia (3.9%).


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