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The Global Military Budget Has Hit Unprecedented Levels

The Global Military Budget Has Hit Unprecedented Levels

According to a new study, military spending hit an all time high in 2021, and the number is set to rise even more this year

Global military spending hit unprecedented levels last year, surpassing $2 trillion for the first time ever. 

A new study conducted by researchers at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) determined which countries had increased their military spending in 2021, along with those who actually decreased their spending. 

The researchers also believe global military spending is set to rise again in 2022, as Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine plays out. 

Although economies were hit by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, government’s global military expenditure rose by 0.7 percent overall. 

Diego Lopes da Silva, senior researcher at Sipri, said: “In 2021 military spending rose for the seventh consecutive time to reach US$2.1 trillion. That is the highest figure we have ever had.” 


According to the study, the US, China, India, the UK and Russia increased their military spending the most during 2021, accounting for 62 percent of total expenditure globally. 

The US topped the list, spending a whopping $801 billion on its military. However, this number actually decreased by 1.4 percent from 2020.  

Between 2012 and 2021, US funding for military research and development rose by 24 percent, all while procurements of arms fell by 6.4 percent. Both declined in 2021, however. 

“The increase in R&D spending over the decade 2012–21 suggests that the United States is focusing more on next-generation technologies,” explained Alexandra Marksteiner, researcher at 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.” 

China came in at second, increasing their military spending by 4.7 percent in 2021. This saw a massive $293 billion spent on the Chinese military last year alone. 


The UK’s military spending came in at fourth place, having increased spending by 3 percent, which amounted to $68.4 billion. 

Most ominously, Russia increased its military expenditure by 2.9 percent before invading Ukraine in February of this year. 

In 2021, Moscow spent $65.9 billion to bolster its military power, which was financed thanks to high oil and gas revenues, according to Lucie Béraud-Sudreau, director of Sipri’s Military Expenditure Programme. 

“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,” he said. 

Ukraine’s spending declined to $5.9 billion, but still accounted for 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP. 

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Military, World News, Money