A rise in global uncertainty and unabated conflicts around the world has caused global military spending to rise for the first time in years.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the total combined global military spending increased by 1% in 2015.
This is the first time that global spending has risen since 2011, and it is largely driven by a rise in conflicts and tensions in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.
Iraq, which is embroiled in a multi-year war against ISIS, has increased its military spending the most of any nation that SIPRI has reliable information for.
Between 2006 and 2015, Iraq increased its spending by 536%. This far outpaced Gambia, which was the country with the second highest recorded increase in military spending at 380% for the same time period.
Major global powers also increased their defence spending. China, which is the world’s second largest military spender, is believed to have increased its spending by 132% from 2006 to 2015. And in 2015 alone Beijing increased spending by 7.4%, although SIPRI noted that overall defence spending in China is weakening as the country’s economy begins to drag.
This pattern was mirrored in oil dependent countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, too. Both nations increased their defence spending, with a 7.5% rise in Russia and an undetermined increase in Saudi Arabia, although both nations are likely to cut spending in 2016 due to the falling price of oil.
And SIPRI notes that in many areas of the world where spending fell or remained stagnant, defence spending will likely rise in the coming years. Western and Central Europe, which have had falling defence budgets, are likely to increase their spending in the coming years to both meet NATO requirements and in order to maintain a stronger front against a revanchist Russia.
Despite this, the US’s defence budget is still falling. However, the US spending is still 36% of the entire global defence spending. The second highest spender is China, which only comprises 13% of global defence spending.