Record increase in military spending: more and more weapons worldwide

Germany is leading the growth in arms spending in Western Europe. This is the result of a report by the Sipri Institute.

The German Armed Forces are also expanding their armaments Photo: DPA

Global military spending in 2019 amounted to 1,917,000,000,000 dollars – 1.9 trillion. An increase of 3.6 percent compared to the previous year and thus the highest annual increase since the last decade. While $249 was spent on military equipment per capita of the world’s population (2018: $243), official development assistance received less than one eleventh of that, at $21.83.

This year’s "Global Military Expenditure" report by the Stockholm-based peace research institute Sipri, released Monday, also reveals that, as always in the more than three decades that Sipri has been publishing such reports, the U.S. tops the list of rearmers by a wide margin. In 2019, they alone accounted for $732 billion, or 38 percent of global military spending. Sipri attributes the increase primarily to the recruitment of an additional 16,000 troops and the ongoing modernization of the U.S. conventional and nuclear arsenal. As NATO’s largest member, the U.S. is "fueling global growth in military spending," Sipri notes.

Second-ranked China, which at 5.1 percent increased its spending at roughly the same pace as the U.S. to a Sipri-estimated $261 billion, ranks ahead of India, Russia and Saudi Arabia at $71 billion to $61 billion each. If the world’s third-highest military spending is reported for India for the first time, this development is "driven by tensions and rivalries between India, Pakistan and China," according to Sipri researcher Siemon T. Wezeman.

In Western Europe, the Bundeswehr leads the growth in military spending. While these were roughly unchanged in France (50.1 billion, ranked 6th) and the United Kingdom (48.7 billion, ranked 8th), they grew by an equal 10 percent to $49.3 billion in seventh-ranked Germany. No country among the top 15 on the Sipri list recorded such percentage growth; Germany’s increase was twice the overall European average of 5 percent.

Even Russia, at 65 billion, spent just under a third more on its military in 2018 than Germany. According to Sipri, the growth in German spending can be "partly explained by the perception of an increased threat from Russia, which is shared by many NATO member states." In 2019, all 29 NATO countries together spent $1,035 billion on the military, nearly 16 times that of Russia.

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