World military spending in 2012 was just over $1.7 trillion. This was the first fall, albeit a small one, since 1998, despite economic conditions
In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.7 trillion, despite the global economic conditions. It is still approximately 1% increase since 2008 when the financial crisis began, for example.
Not all nations have felt the impacts of the global financial crisis in the same way. Some have grown economically, including many Asian countries, which has allowed some of them to increase their military spending. There are geopolitical interests at stake for various powers, so economic troubles or not, military spending is seen as important to maintain, or at least to minimize possible reductions.
The highest military spender is the US accounting for 39% of the world’s spending, more than the next top 10 countries combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined. But this represents a slight decline over previous years as other nations, especially China and Russia, increase their spending. At the same time, the US has reduced military spending for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while Western Europe’s austerity programs affect their military spending budgets.
This update includes new and updated figures, graphs and charts exploring this further.