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SIPRI report shows huge rise in annual global military expenditure

A new study shows that global military expenditure surged to $2.443 trillion in 2023, driven by heightened tensions and regional conflicts, with top spenders like the US, China, and Russia leading the increase, while regional dynamics and emerging trends shaped spending patterns worldwide.

By Francesca Merlo

In 2023, global military expenditure soared to unprecedented levels, reaching a staggering $2.443 trillion. This marked a substantial 6.8% increase from the previous year, making it the most significant surge since 2009.

According to the report, the surge was driven by heightened tensions, geopolitical rivalries, and regional conflicts across the globe.

Top spenders

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the top 10 spenders in 2023, including the United States, China, and Russia, all escalated their military spending.

The United States, maintaining its position as the world’s largest military spender, allocated $916 billion. Meanwhile, China’s allocation reached $296 billion, while neighboring countries like Japan and Taiwan bolstered their defense budgets.

Regional dynamics

Military spending surged across all five geographical regions defined by the SIPRI. Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East witnessed particularly significant increases, fueled by regional tensions and security concerns.

In Europe, NATO members, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, ramped up their military expenditure, reflecting growing unease over Russia’s assertive posture.

Notably, Russia itself saw a remarkable 24% surge in military spending, reaching $109 billion, while Ukraine, amidst ongoing conflict, witnessed a 51% increase, narrowing the spending gap between the two countries.

Rising tensions

The Middle East, plagued by long-standing conflicts and simmering tensions, experienced a notable uptick in military spending, reaching $200 billion in 2023. This surge, the highest in a decade, underscored the region’s volatility and the enduring arms race among key actors.

Similarly, Central America and the Caribbean have witnessed a 54% increase in military spending since 2014, driven primarily by escalating crime levels and internal security challenges.

India emerged as the fourth-largest military spender globally in 2023, underscoring its growing strategic ambitions and regional security concerns.

Furthermore, countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan recorded significant percentage increases in military spending, reflecting evolving security landscapes and internal strife.

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