USS Gerald Ford

Global Defence Spending Up To Highest Level Since Financial Crisis

The United States accounted for 38% of global military spending in 2019.

USS Gerald Ford

Global spending on defence rose to nearly $2 trillion dollars, or £1,542 billion in 2019 - the highest level since the global financial crisis, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The biggest spender on defence is the United States which accounts for 38% of the total. China and India make up the top three. 2019 is the first time that two Asian states have featured among the top three military spenders. 

Russia and Saudi Arabia are also among the top five.

Dr Nan Tian, a researcher at SIPRI, said: "Global military expenditure was 7.2% higher in 2019 than it was in 2010, showing a trend that military spending growth has accelerated in recent years.”

The United States' spending growth increased by 5.3% to £591 billion ($732bn) in 2019.

Pieter D. Wezeman, a senior researcher at SIPRI, said: "The recent growth in US military spending is largely based on a perceived return to competition between the great powers."

Germany had the largest increase in military spending in Europe. A rise of nearly 10% has a simple explanation according to Diego Lopes da Silva of SIPRI:

"The growth in German military spending can partly be explained by the perception of an increased threat from Russia, shared by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states."

Although da Silva added "At the same time, however, military spending by France and the United Kingdom remained relatively stable."

In central Europe, Bulgaria’s spending increased by 127% - mainly due to payments for new combat aircraft - and Romania’s rose by 17%. 

Whilst Russia increased its military expenditure by 4.5%.

“At 3.9% of its GDP, Russia’s military spending burden was among the highest in Europe in 2019,” Alexandra Kuimova from SIPRI said.

Data from previous global economic downturns suggests that the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic will probably disrupt future military spending. 

SIPRI said it is monitoring current developments to assess the extent of this crisis on military spending.

(Cover image: Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford Picture: DVIDS).