The year 2020 saw the biggest increase in year-over-year spending in more than a decade, even as some countries redirected funds to fight the pandemic.
Global military spending rose 2.6% to $ 1.98 trillion last year even as some countries reallocated their defense funds to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Institute of Justice said. Stockholm peace research in a report released Monday.
The top five spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62% of the world’s military spending, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom, in that order, according to the based body. in Sweden.
“We can say with some certainty that the pandemic has not had a significant impact on global military spending in 2020,” Diego Lopes da Silva, researcher at SIPRI and one of the authors of the report, said in a statement. .
While global gross domestic product (GDP) declined due to the global health emergency, military spending as a percentage of GDP reached a global average of 2.4% in 2020, up from 2.2% in 2019.
This jump was the biggest year-over-year increase since the 2009 financial crisis.
As a result of this increase, more NATO members have met the Transatlantic Security Alliance’s goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on their armed forces, with 12 countries doing so in 2020 compared to nine in 2019.
However, some countries like Chile and South Korea have shifted some of their planned military spending towards their response to the pandemic.
Several others, including Brazil and Russia, have spent considerably less than their initial military budgets for 2020.
The United States and China Spend the Most
By far the world’s two biggest spenders were the United States and China, with Washington accounting for 39% of total global military spending in 2020 and Beijing 13%.
U.S. military spending reached about $ 778 billion last year, 4.4% more than in 2019.
It was the third consecutive year of growth in US military spending, coinciding with the tenure of former President Donald Trump, after seven years of previous continuous cuts.
“This reflects growing concerns about perceived threats from strategic competitors such as China and Russia, as well as the Trump administration’s willingness to bolster what it saw as an exhausted US military,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, one of the authors of the report, in a press release.
China’s military spending, the second highest in the world, is estimated to total $ 252 billion in 2020, an increase of 1.9% from the previous year.
Chinese military spending has now increased for 26 consecutive years, the longest string of unbroken increases of any country in the SIPRI database.