Global Military Spending

July 1, 2009

Sipri_analysisThe Stockholm International Peace Research Institute,, (SIPRI) has issued its annual report on global military spending. Worldwide, governments spent a record $1.46 trillion on their armed forces in 2008. The United States accounted for 42 percent of the global arms spending. When will we realize that’s simply too much?

Every year, SIPRI issues a Yearbook on armaments, disarmament and international security. Here’s the gist of the data on worldwide military spending:

Top 10 Military Spenders in 2008 (in billions of dollars)

  1. United States – 607.0
  2. China – 84.9
  3. France – 65.7
  4. United Kingdom – 65.3
  5. Russia – 58.6
  6. Germany – 46.8
  7. Japan – 46.3
  8. Italy – 40.6
  9. Saudi Arabia – 38.2
  10. India – 30.0


The U.S. spent 7 times more than the second-biggest spender, China. Incidentally, that doesn’t make China the second-strongest military – not by a long shot. SIPRI researcher Sam Perlo-Freeman explains that’s because “a lot of other countries have been at this game for a lot longer than China.”

Put another way, the U.S. spent more on its armed forces than the next 14 countries combined.

SIPRI points out that U.S. arms spending increased by 71 percent during the presidency of George W. Bush and as a result, global military spending is 45 percent greater than it was a decade ago. From 2007 to 2008, U.S. military spending increased by 10 percent which helped make global military spending 4 percent higher in 2008 than 2007.

Mark W. Harrison
Director, Peace with Justice Program
United Methodist General Board of Church and Society Φ

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