World Military Spending Hits a New High of US$ 2.1 Trillion | Daily News

World Military Spending Hits a New High of US$ 2.1 Trillion

World military spending hit a new all-time high last year reaching a staggering US$ 2.1 trillion—for the first time ever.

The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure, according to the latest figures released on April 25 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The rise in military spending continued unabated despite a virtual pandemic lockdown worldwide which began in March 2020.

Dr. Diego Lopes da Silva, the Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said “even amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels.”

 

Russia Ukraine war

“There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation. In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1 per cent,” he said.

As the Russian invasion and the ongoing brutal war in Ukraine moved into its second month on April 24, Moscow remained well-equipped in advance of its military confrontation with Ukraine since its defence expenditure increased by 2.9 per cent in 2021, to US$ 65.9 billion. This increase took place as Russia was strengthening its military forces along the Ukrainian border.

This was the third consecutive year of growth and Russia’s military spending reached 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2021.

 

Military power

Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme, said “high oil and gas revenues” helped Russia to boost its military spending in 2021.

Russian military expenditure had been in decline between 2016 and 2019 as a result of low energy prices combined with sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The ‘national defence’ budget line, which accounts for around three-quarters of Russia’s total military spending and includes funding for operational costs as well as arms procurement, was revised upwards over the course of the year.

The final figure was US$ 48.4 billion, 14 per cent higher than had been budgeted at the end of 2020, according to SIPRI.

Ukraine’s military spending has risen by 72 per cent since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Spending fell in 2021, to US$ 5.9 billion, but still accounted for 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The US, which has provided nearly US$ 4.0 billion in weapons and military assistance to Ukraine, spent over US$ 801 billion in 2021, a drop of 1.4 per cent from 2020. The US military burden decreased slightly from 3.7 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 3.5 per cent in 2021.

US funding for military research and development (R&D) rose by 24 per cent between 2012 and 2021, while arms procurement funding fell by 6.4 per cent over the same period. In 2021 spending on both decreased.

However, the drop in R&D spending (–1.2 per cent) was smaller than that in arms procurement spending (–5.4 per cent), according to SIPRI.

“The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012–21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. “The US Government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors.”

China, the world’s second-largest spender, allocated an estimated US$ 293 billion to its military in 2021, an increase of 4.7 per cent compared with 2020.

Meanwhile, China’s military spending has grown for 27 consecutive years. The 2021 Chinese budget was the first under the 14th Five-Year Plan, which runs until 2025.

Following the initial approval of its 2021 budget, the Japanese Government added US$ 7.0 billion to military spending. As a result, spending rose by 7.3 per cent, to US$ 54.1 billion in 2021, the highest annual increase since 1972.

Australian military spending also increased in 2021: by 4.0 per cent, to reach US$ 31.8 billion.

“China’s growing assertiveness in and around the South and the East China seas have become a major driver of military spending in countries such as Australia and Japan,” said SIPRI Senior Researcher Dr. Nan Tian.

“An example is the AUKUS trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that foresees the supply of eight nuclear-powered submarines to Australia at an estimated cost of up to US$ 128 billion.”

SIPRI also singled out other notable developments in military spending worldwide.

In 2021 Iran’s military budget increased for the first time in four years, to US$ 24.6 billion. Funding for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps continued to grow in 2021—by 14 per cent compared with 2020—and accounted for 34 per cent of Iran’s total military spending.

Eight European North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members reached the Alliance’s target of spending 2 per cent or more of GDP on their Armed Forces in 2021. This is one fewer than in 2020 but up from two in 2014. Nigeria raised its military spending by 56 per cent in 2021, to reach US$ 4.5 billion. The rise came in response to numerous security challenges such as violent extremism and separatist insurgencies.

Germany—the third largest spender in Central and Western Europe—spent US$ 56.0 billion on its military in 2021, or 1.3 per cent of its GDP. Military spending was 1.4 per cent lower compared with 2020 due to inflation.

In 2021 Qatar’s military spending was US$ 11.6 billion, making it the fifth largest spender in the Middle East. Qatar’s military spending in 2021 was 434 per cent higher than in 2010, when the country last released spending data before 2021.

India’s military spending of US$ 76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world. This was up by 0.9 per cent from 2020 and by 33 per cent from 2012. In a push to strengthen the indigenous arms industry, 64 per cent of capital outlays in the military budget of 2021 were earmarked for acquisitions of domestically produced arms.

SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

[IDN-InDepthNews]

 


Add new comment