Global arms exports & World Military Spending

08.06.2011 |  The Economist

Defence costs & The biggest military spenders

ON JUNE 8th China’s top military brass confirmed that the country’s first aircraft carrier, a refurbishment of an old Russian carrier, will be ready shortly. Only a handful of nations operate carriers, which are costly to build and maintain. Indeed, Britain has recently decommissioned its sole carrier because of budget pressures. China’s defence spending has risen by nearly 200% since 2001 to reach an estimated $119 billion in 2010—though it has remained fairly constant in terms of its share of GDP. America’s own budget crisis is prompting tough discussions about its defence spending, which, at nearly $700 billion, is bigger than that of the next 17 countries combined.


29.03.2011 |  The Economist

The world’s biggest weapons suppliers

THREE-QUARTERS of global arms exports were supplied by just five countries between 2006 and 2010, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a think-tank. The volume of such exports rose by almost 25% compared with 2001-05. SIPRI counts the deliveries of large conventional weapons, each of which is assigned a value according to cost, strategic importance and other criteria. The two biggest importers of arms over the past five years, India and China, both bought over 80% of their weapons from Russia. The third- and fourth-biggest importers, South Korea and Pakistan, favoured American-made items.

Launch graphic (zoom)


Last Updated Wednesday, July 07, 2010   |  Anup Shah  |   Global Issues

World Military Spending

Global military expenditure stands at over $1.5 trillion in annual expenditure at current prices for 2009, and has been rising in recent years.

(1991 figures are unavailable.)

Summarizing some key details from chapter 5 of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s 2010 Year Book1 on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security for 2008:

  • World military expenditure in 2009 is estimated to have reached $1.531 trillion in current dollars;
  • This represents a 6 per cent increase in real terms since 2008 and a 49 per cent increase since 2000;
  • This corresponds to 2.7 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $225 for each person in the world;
  • The USA with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 46.5% of the world total;

SIPRI has commented in the past on the increasing concentration of military expenditure, i.e. that a small number of countries spend the largest sums. This trend carries on into 2009 spending. For example,

  • The 15 countries with the highest spending account for over 82% of the total;
  • The USA is responsible for 46.5 per cent of the world total, distantly followed by the China (6.6% of world share), France (4.2%), UK (3.8%), and Russia (3.5%):

Top Spenders (And Sources)

Military spending in 2009 ($ Billions, and percent of total)
Country Dollars (billions) % of total Rank

  • US spending: Laicie Olson, Growth in U.S. Defense Spending Since 200126Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, March 11, 2010.
  • Other nations’ spending: SIPRI27


  • The figure for the United States includes $140 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as funding for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons activities.
  • All other figures are from SIPRI
  • Due to rounding, some percentages may be slightly off.
  • The data used for the US in the motion chart, earlier, uses SIPRI data.

If you are viewing this table on another site, please see further details.

United States 712 46.51% 1
China 100 6.53% 2
France 63.9 4.17% 3
United Kingdom 58.3 3.81% 4
Russia 53.5 3.48% 5
Japan 51 3.33% 6
Germany 45.6 2.98% 7
Saudi Arabia 41.2 2.69% 8
India 36.3 2.37% 9
Italy 35.8 2.34% 10
Brazil 26.1 1.70% 11
South Korea 24.1 1.57% 12
Canada 19.2 1.25% 13
Australia 19 1.24% 14
Spain 18.3 1.20% 15
Rest of world 226.9 14.82%


To read more aboout world military spending –> This web page has the following sub-sections:

  1. World Military Spending
  2. Increased Spending Before And Even During Global Economic Crisis
  3. Spending For Peace Vs Spending For War
  4. US Military Spending
  5. In Context: US Military Spending Versus Rest Of The World
  6. In Context: US Military Budget Vs. Other US Priorities
    1. Should Spending Be Tied To GDP?
    2. US High Military Spending Means Others Do Not Have To?
    3. US Military Budget Vs. Other US Priorities


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