Total world military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017, a marginal increase of 1.1 per cent in real terms from 2016, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Seven of the 15 highest spenders are members of NATO: the USA (rank 1: $610 billion), France (rank 6: $57.8 billion), the UK (rank 7: $47.2 billion), Germany (rank 9: $44.3 billion), Italy (rank 12: $29.2 billion), Canada (rank 14: $20.6 billion) and Turkey (rank 15: $18.2 billion). Together, these seven accounted for 48 per cent ($827 billion) of global military expenditure. Driven, in part, by the perception of a growing threat from Russia, military spending in both Central and Western Europe increased in 2017, by 12 and 1.7 per cent, respectively. Many European states are members of NATO and, within that framework, have agreed to increase their military spending. Total spending by all 29 NATO members was $900 billion in 2017, accounting for 52 per cent of world spending.
The United States continues to have the highest military expenditure in the world. In 2017 the USA spent more on its military than the next seven highest-spending countries combined. At $610 billion, US military spending was unchanged between 2016 and 2017. ‘The downward trend in US military spending that started in 2010 has come to an end,’ said Dr Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) programme. ‘US military spending in 2018 is set to rise significantly to support increases in military personnel and the modernization of conventional and nuclear weapons.’
At $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016, the first annual decrease since 1998. ‘Military modernization remains a priority in Russia, but the military budget has been restricted by economic problems that the country has experienced since 2014,’ said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI (AMEX) programme.
China’s military expenditure rose again in 2017, continuing an upward trend in spending that has lasted for more than two decades. Now the second largest spender globally, China increased its military spending by 5.6 per cent to $228 billion in 2017. China’s spending as a share of world military expenditure has risen from 5.8 per cent in 2008 to 13 per cent in 2017.