The US has easily remained the top military spender in the past 25 years.
Despite a decrease in the US budget, Washington still outspends the next the next 7 highest spending countries combined. The following visualisation, put together by cost information website How Much, shows the global spending trends over the past 25 years.
There are two main things to note in the infographic. Firstly, despite an upswing in US spending after the September 11 terror attacks, military spending in the US and NATO nations is falling. In 2015, NATO only accounted for 52% of all global military spending — despite the spread of ISIS and halting relations with Russia.
In fact, the majority of NATO nations are failing to meet the 2% military budget requirements that the alliance requires. This decline in western military spending has been met with a continuous increase in non-NATO defence budgets.
The second major item of note is the continued rise in China’s military spending. In 1990, Beijing spent $2 billion on defence, making its budget equivalent to only 1.47% of the world’s total.
In 2015, however, China leapfrogged other nations to have the world’s second largest defence spending of $214.7 billion, 12.37% of the global total.
Despite Beijing’s continuous increases in spending, though, China still only spends 1/3 of what the US does on defence annually.
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