WASHINGTON ― Worldwide military spending is estimated to have reached $1.7 trillion in 2017, according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. This is the highest level of military expenditure since the end of the Cold War.
The top five biggest spenders were the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India, which accounted for 60 percent of global military spending.
The U.S. spent $610 billion on its military in 2017, a little over a third of world wide expenditures. Although U.S. spending has decreased from 2008 levels by 14 percent, it still spends 2.7 times more than the next highest spender, China.
China, Russia and India saw dramatic increases in spending since 2008. According to the report Chinese military spending in 2017, approximately $228 billion, has increased 110 percent since 2008, with Russian and Indian spending growing by 36 and 45 percent to $69.4 billion and $66.3 billion, respectively.
Between 2016 and 2017, China increased military spending by 5.6 percent, Saudi Arabia by 9.2 percent and India by 5.5 percent. Despite announcing a new host of nuclear weapons and completing the country’s largest military exercises in history, Russia’s spending fell by 20 percent in the same time frame.
“The increases in world military expenditure in recent years have been largely due to the substantial growth in spending by countries in Asia and Oceania and the Middle East, such as China, India and Saudi Arabia,” said Dr Nan Tian, researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure program. “At the global level, the weight of military spending is clearly shifting away from the Euro–Atlantic region.”
Out of the top 15 military spenders, only the U.S., United Kingdom and Italy had a decrease in spending over the last decade.
Daniel Cebul is an editorial fellow and general assignments writer for Defense News, C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain and Federal Times.