Led by U.S., world military spending rises 1.3%
The United States is the world's biggest military spender by far, accounting for 43% of the world's arms spending.
April 13th, 2011
02:35 PM ET

Led by U.S., world military spending rises 1.3%

The world's governments shelled out $1.63 trillion in military spending last year, a 1.3% increase over 2009, according to a Swedish institute.

The United States accounted for nearly all of the increase, but the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute noted sharp increases by South American and African countries as well.

By virtually every measure, U.S. military spending, which rose 2.8%, leaves every other nation in the dust. The $698 billion it spent accounted for 43% of all the military spending in the world and was six times the amount expended by the No. 2 country, China. Military spending amounted to 4.8% of U.S. gross domestic product, compared to the world average of 2.6%.

"These figures suggest that the USA continues to prioritize maintaining its overwhelming military power as the basis of its security and status," the institute's report said.

The 5.8% rise in spending in South America resulted from two main sources, the institute said: relative economic prosperity across the continent and a push by Brazil to assert itself as a world player.

"This continuing increase in South America is surprising given the lack of real military threats to most states and the existence of more pressing social needs," Carina Solmirano, the institute's Latin American specialist, told the British newspaper The Guardian.

Colombia also increased its spending to deal with ongoing internal security threats, but Venezuela slashed its military expenditures by more than 27%, according to the report.

A 5.2% expansion in arms spending in Africa was led by Angola, whose military budget grew by 19%. Accounting for the rest of the continent's increase were Algeria, Morocco and Nigeria, while South Africa pulled back slightly, the institute reported.

The institute noted that estimates for Africa are uncertain due to missing data for some countries, most notably Sudan, Libya and Eritrea.

The economic crisis that began in 2008 caught up with European nations' defense budgets in 2010, as arms expenditures on the continent fell 2.8%.

Modest increases were noted in the Middle East (2.5%) and Asia and Oceania (1.4%).

The institute describes itself as an independent international body dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. It is largely funded by an annual grant from the Swedish government.

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Filed under: Brazil • China • Military • Sweden • U.S.
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Tony the Prophet

    America is 43% of the world military spending is an understatement, remember NASA and other agencies like, the FBI, CIA, local and State Police, and others are also part of the Government, that means that in America more people work for the government per capita then any other Nations on earth. What does this mean...it means that the government has reached a point where it cannot sustain and survive itself no longer that is why the Congress has a problem passing a budget. America is bound to collapse in 2013.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. Hide and seek

    tony has it right. 700 billion is only the daylight portion. The rest is also hidden in various ventures which sound like start up companies. No one knows the true amount because no one else can be trusted to know it in a self claimed freedom utopia. So triple it because everyone needs a goverment job and every day is another hype like canada and north korea might decide to take over macdonalds. Jealous of the macdonald freedoms.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Hide and seek

    triple the bases..up the pay..increase the incentives and pay off more journalists because... Full employment and deficit growth is the goal of every nation... Just look at india.. No limits to full employment.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. michaelfury


    April 14, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. joe ceraso

    The usa could give every person in the population a million dollars and have trillions left for the military.

    February 17, 2014 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
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