Earlier this week, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)released a
Fact Sheet identifying global, regional, and national trends in military expenditures.
According to the report, the United States led the world in military spending with $US640 billion in 2013 alone. China is the closest nation to follow the US at $US188 billion — which is less than one-third of America’s overall spending.
The U.S. reduced their defence budget by 7.8 per cent whereas Russia increased arms spending by $US88 billion. For the first time in a decade, Russia devoted a larger share of its GDP to the armed forces than the US.
According to the report, a decrease in American spending is due to the reduction of overseas military operations, chiefly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The report also notes the role of territorial disputes, namely Russia’s recent grab of Crimea and China’s assertive behaviour towards Japan in the East China Sea as well as Vietnam in the South China Sea.
Within this plan, Russia aims to replace 70 per cent of military equipment with ‘modern’ weapons by devoting approximately $705 billion for expenditures.
China’s healthy economic growth and steady military spending shows a more long-term defence policy.
The following chart shows how the top 15 nations in defence expenditures rank: