The global military expenditure has reached an all-time high, surpassing $2 trillion in 2021, according to a report published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The top spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure.
In 2021, global spending was 0.7 percent higher than in 2020 and 12 percent higher than in 2012. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, a continuous upward trend in world military expenditure has continued since 2015.
The U.S., which far outspent other countries with $801 billion, went against the global trend and decreased its spending by 1.4 percent in 2021. Between 2012 and 2021, US funding for military research and development increased by 24 percent, while arms procurement funding declined by 6.4%.
“The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012–21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme. “The US Government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors.”
During the time when it was building up its forces along the Ukrainian border, Russia increased its military spending by 2.9% to $65.9 billion in 2021. As a result, Russia’s military expenditures reached 4.1 percent of GDP in 2021, the third consecutive year of growth.
“High oil and gas revenues helped Russia to boost its military spending in 2021. Russian military expenditure had been in decline between 2016 and 2019 as a result of low energy prices combined with sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014,” said Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, Director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
China allocated an estimated $293 billion to its military in 2021 making it the world’s second-largest spender while India came third with estimated military spending of $76.6 billion.
With an increase of 3 percent in its military spending to $68.4bn, the UK ranked number four on the list, replacing Saudi Arabia which saw its spending decrease by 17 percent to an estimated $55.6bn.