Because of the Corona crisis, defense spending worldwide should not continue to increase, the peace researchers suspect. Germany saw the largest percentage growth among the top 15 countries in 2019.
Sipri: Almost two trillion dollars will go to the military
Led by the strongest military power in the United States, countries around the world spent nearly $ 2 trillion on their defense apparatus last year. Globally, an estimated $ 1.917 trillion ($ 1.77 trillion) was spent on the military in 2019, prior to the start of the corona pandemic, which is 3.6 percent more than in the previous year, according to a new report by the Stockholm peace research institute Sipri .
This corresponded to 2.2 percent of the global gross domestic product and an estimated $ 249 per citizen. At the same time, it was the fifth consecutive annual increase and a new high since comparable Sipri records began in 1988. In view of the Corona crisis, peace researchers assume that global military spending will peak for the time being.
Germany recorded the largest percentage growth among the top 15 countries: compared to the previous year, German military spending increased by ten percent to $ 49.3 billion, according to Sipri. In view of the pressure from NATO and US President Trump to increase defense spending, the Federal Republic overtook Great Britain and Japan and is now in seventh place worldwide. Germany, like several other NATO countries, still clearly misses the NATO target to increase defense spending to two percent: According to Sipri, the Federal Republic accounted for 1.3 percent of the gross domestic product, across Europe this is an average of 1.7 percent.
However, the peace researchers pointed out in their report that their estimates for Germany were $ 3.3 billion lower than what the country had stated for 2019 as “defense spending” at NATO. This can be explained by the fact that Berlin also included non-military expenditure for certain humanitarian and development aid, for example, which Sipri does not count towards military expenditure.
The U.S. remains the clear leader in total military spending, spending around $ 732 billion on defense in 2019. This corresponded to an increase of 5.3 percent compared to the previous year and almost the total expenditure of the ten following countries combined. This has to do in particular with the policy of US President Donald Trump: “The decision to increase spending has already been discussed under the Obama administration, but it was only under Trump that a very expensive modernization project was pushed,” said Sipri researcher Nan Tian.
There has been a sharp increase in US military spending, particularly in the past two years. For the first time in history, two Asian countries are ranked among the top three in the ranking behind the USA, China and India. “China has long had the ambition to compete with the United States as a global superpower,” said Tian. India, on the other hand, sees China as a direct regional threat in the struggle for influence in Asia and Oceania and is also in conflict with Pakistan.
Sipri found relevant data from 150 countries for the annual report this time. In the reports, the institute traditionally relies not only on official government information on the defense budget, but also takes into account other sources such as statistics from central banks and NATO, as well as government responses to surveys by the United Nations, for example. Expenses for personnel, military aid and military research and development are also included in the expenditure. The destruction of weapons and civil protection, for example, are not included.