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. MO

    Yay! #1!!! Hmm... China #2. Too close for comfort. Let the demonization campaign! Or just elect Trump to finish 'em!

    April 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    No wonder we have such a debt crisis in Washington. Everybody's talking about how to get spending under control while ignoring the proverbial 800 lb. gorrilla in the room,that is the increase in unnecessary military spending and the funding of these three useless and unnecessary wars. Such idiocy!!! LOL!

    April 13, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      That was very well stated,Cesar. Thank you. However,it's too bad that most people seem to be ignoring that simple fact! No wonder this country's in such trouble!!!

      April 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Philip

    Well at least we still spend more on drugs than we do on defense. If that's a good thing.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      I'm the true Philip here and I say that while the general public spends an exorbitant amount on drugs,the government needlessly wasts billions upon billions on "defense" although we haven't defended anyone since 1945.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Barbara Bush

    Yes cesar, that was good. And yes Philip, it is a good thing. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    April 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. George C. Scott

    That's not how it goes.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    The real Philip would never toot "i'm theTrue Philip" before speaking his mind. Get a life.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    ...plus I know how to spell 'waste', as in waste of time. buh-bye!(tm) and * Facepalm *(tm) used by permission. all other rights are forfeited.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzz

    will the true phillip pls stand up. HEY BUDDY

    April 13, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JOSH

    WOW, the US spent almost 700 billion only last year, republicans, here are your cuts. Cut off that money, close all military bases around the world, freeze salaries for senators and congressman for five years (anyway they are all rich people), reduce their staff by half. Reduce the Pentagon budget 5 or 10%. TAX THE RICH, everybody has to pay their share, tax the oil industry, the big fat cats like GE, the auto industry, the banks. CUT THE PORK, SENATORS. STOP GIVING OUT THE TAXPAYER MONEY to countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico, Israel and the likes. For the last 40 years, Mubarak received more than 60 BILLIONS DOLLARS, give me a break. Wanna play hardball, lets do it

    April 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Philip

      Thank you,JOSH. That was well put. By the way,I want to apologize for a misspelling in a previous post. I meant to print "wastes", not "wasts". Thank you.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      I too agree with you,JOSH. Way too much of our tax money is going to the military and foreign aid. This needs to stop asap!

      April 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      1) Close all military bases...ha, we can't even close Guantanamo bay.
      2) If you tax the rich, the auto industry etc. they take their business elsewhere
      3) "Cut foreign aid"...do you not wan't to have allies in the war on terror/drug war?
      this is just useless idealism

      April 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    Hay Jazzy! Huh...I usually run in to you on other charts. Whatcha doing here? he he. Good to see you.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzz

      Be back in a minute just got home and have to take a shower

      April 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Missmeyet?

    Haters. We're never in debt as long as we can kick azz and take your oil! Beach!

    April 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Johndro

      I'm with you,Missmeyet? YABBA-DABBA-DOO!!! We need to spend them there bucks on that there military and go all the way around the world and kick You know what!!! YABBA-DABBA-DOO and I'm a right-wing fool to believe what I just posted!!!

      April 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jazzzzzzz

    K, I'm all shinny and new. How u doing? I seem to just miss you and Thomas D

    April 13, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Now Cesar 3:27, you Father of the Tea Party movement, if you're going to use my name, at least don't make me sound like a Left-Wing idiot.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    @Gary...whattaya mean "we need to"? The USA currently occupies all but about 17 of the worlds 200 or so nations. Where ya been? (and did you think others did business with US because of our humility?)

    April 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    I'm here Jazz. And I didn't peek.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
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