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World military expenditure passes $2 trillion for first time

27th May 2022
World military expenditure passes  $2 trillion for first time

Hamed Chapman

Military expenditure around the world continued to grow for the seventh consecutive year in 2021, passing $2 trillion for the first time, according to the latest annual publication by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Total global military expenditure increased by 0.7 per cent to reach $2113 billion, led by the top five spenders; the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and Russia.

“Even amid the economic fallout of the VID-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels,” said Diego Lopes da Silva, Senior Researcher with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

The US alone accounted for 38 per cent of world military spending in 2021, more than the accumulative total of all the other countries in the top ten, while the UK leapfrogged Russia to move up from sixth to fourth place among the top spenders.

Although Washington’s spending showed a slight drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020, its military research and development programme has risen by 24 per cent since 2012, which is thought to reflect its focus on next-generation technologies.

“The US Government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.

China became the world’s second-largest spender, marking an increase of 4.7 per cent in 2021 from the previous year. Growing its military prowess for 27 consecutive years, China injected an estimated $293bn into its military in 2021. Average military spending as a share of government expenditure in 2021 remained the same as in 2020, at 5.9 per cent.

Map: Military spending as a share of gross domestic product, by country, 2021 Notes: The 10 countries with the highest military spending as a share of gross domestic product are listed.The boundaries used in this map do not imply any endorsement or acceptance by SIPRI.

(Source: SIPRI 2022)

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