01/19/20

Military Spending

Military-Intelligence-Industrial Complex

A Short Story By Numbers

Military spending, military expenditure as a share of government spending, and countries most capable of defending themselves.

Military Budgets

1 US $649 billion ($738 billion in 2020) 3.2% GDP
2 China $250 1.9%
3 Saudi Arabia $67.6 8.8%
4 India $66.5 2.4%
5 France $63.8 2.3%
6 Russia $61.4 3.9%
7 UK $50 1.8%
8 Germany $49.5 1.2%
9 Japan $46.6 0.9%
10 South Korea $43.1 2.6%
11 Italy $27.8 1.3%
12 Brazil $27.8 1.5%
13 Australia $26.7 1.9%
14 Canada $21.6 1.3%
15 Turkey $19 2.5%

Tied for 15th with Turkey is Iran and Iraq, which each spend about the same ($19 billion). The US spends more on national defense than every country on this chart combined. NATO spends over $1 trillion. The majority of all this money goes to US arms manufacturers and intelligence agencies.

-List by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
2019 Fact Sheet (for 2018)
SIPRI Military Expenditure Database (US Dollars)

Meanwhile, military expenditure as a share (%) of government spending (2018) are the highest for countries fighting and/or supporting terrorism and/or tribal ethnic or religious groups infighting, based on revenge, and/or because of their neighbours, and/or oppressing their own people.

1 Belarus 31.9 %
2 Saudi Arabia 24.6
3 Armenia 20.9
4 Oman 19.0
5 Pakistan 18.5
6 Singapore 17.1
7 Iran 15.8
8 Lebanon 15.6
9 Myanmar 15.2
10 Jordan 15.0
11 Chad 14.6
12 Mali 14.3
13 Algeria 13.8
14 South Korea 12.4
15 Columbia 11.6

Which brings us to the question, after all that spending, which countries are the most capable of actually defending themselves. Indeed, is their military spending not called a defense budget. Thus, and but of course, there is the Global Militarization Index (GMI), which figures out “the relative weight and importance of the military apparatus of one state in relation to its society as a whole.” For this, the GMI uses a number of indicators to represent the degree of militarization of a country:

  • Military Expenditure Index Score: comparison of military expenditure with its gross domestic product (GDP) and its health expenditure (as share of its GDP);
  • People Index Score: contrast between the total number of (para)military forces with the number of physicians, and the overall population;
  • Heavy Weapons Index Score: ratio of the number of heavy weapons available and the overall population.
  • As for nuclear weapons, having them doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to defend yourself.

Of 155 countries listed, those who are the most capable of defending themselves. According to it’s GMIndex.

1 Israel 911
2 Singapore 886
3 Armenia 860
4 Cyprus 850
5 South Korea 839
6 Russia 839
7 Greece 833
8 Jordan 833
9 Brunei 821
10 Belarus 819
11 Kuwait 818
12 Azerbaijan 816
further down..

27 Iran 700
29 US 683
64 UK 594
87 China 550
94 Canada 535

2019 edition of “The Military Balance” from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (15 February 2019). The Military Balance 2019