The Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) continues to analyze the situation on the international arms and military equipment market, as well as related issues. On April 5, the Institute released a new report on the overall state of the market in 2015. The document titled "Trends in world military expenditure, 2015" lists the general indicators of the entire world market, the main trends and achievements or anti-records of various countries observed in the past year. Consider a published document.
Traditionally, all the main trends observed in the area under consideration and contained in the report are presented by SIPRI staff in a press release accompanying the publication of the main document. First of all, the accompanying article notes that the total military spending of the world in 2015 amounted to 1,676 billion US dollars. Compared to the previous 2014, the increase in expenses was 1%. Thus, for the first time since 2011, the market is not shrinking, but growing. The increase in global indicators is facilitated by rising costs in Asia and Oceania, in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in some Middle Eastern states. At the same time, the rate of cuts in expenditures of Western states is gradually decreasing, while Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are forced to cut funding for the armies. As a consequence, the picture on the international market is complex and heterogeneous.
SIPRI officials note that the current situation in the energy market has a significant impact on military spending. In the recent past, high oil prices and the development of new fields have contributed to the growth of defense spending in many countries. In 2014, energy prices began to decline sharply, forcing some countries dependent on their sale to revise their budgets. Such problems have already led to a reduction in military spending in some countries, and this trend is likely to continue in 2016.
Total World Military Budgets from the Late Eighties to the Present
The fall in oil prices hit the military budgets of Venezuela (-64%) and Angola (-42%) hardest of all. The military spending of Bahrain, Brunei, Chad, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Oman and South Sudan also suffered. Other exporting countries such as Algeria, Azerbaijan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam have continued to increase their military budgets, despite price problems for important export goods.
Since 2009, there has been a steady decline in military spending in North America and Western and Central Europe. The main reasons for this are the financial crisis and the withdrawal of most of the international contingent from Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2015, there were signs of an end to these phenomena and an impending increase in costs. For example, the US military budget for 2015 was cut by only 2.4% compared to the previous one. Congress is currently trying to protect the defense budget from further cuts, with corresponding results.
The overall indicators of Western and Central Europe in 2015 fell by only 0.2%. At the same time, there is a noticeable growth in Eastern Europe: states are concerned about the Ukrainian crisis and are taking certain measures in case of further deterioration of the situation in the region. Western European countries, in turn, cut their spending by 1.3%, but this was the smallest reduction since 2010. In the future, the region may start to increase its budgets again.
SIPRi analysts note that the situation with military spending in the coming years cannot be predicted. The rise in expenditures in recent years has benefited from the increasing complexity of the international situation and the growth of tensions in some regions. In addition, the growth of budgets was provided by the increase in energy prices. In the current situation with persisting threats and falling oil prices, it is extremely difficult to predict further events in the world.
Traditionally, the SIPRI report includes a rating of the countries that occupy a leading position in the world in terms of military spending. This Top 15 includes the leading countries with the largest economies that can afford large spending on defense. Interestingly, in 2014-15, the list of 15 leaders remained almost unchanged: eight states retained their places in the ranking, while others have shifted by no more than one or two lines.
For a number of years in a row, the United States has retained the first place in military spending. In 2015, the Pentagon was allocated $ 596 billion, which is 36% of total global spending. In comparison with 2006, the US military budget decreased by 3.9%, but this did not prevent the United States from maintaining a significant lead over its closest pursuers and staying at the top of the rating.
Cost changes by region in 2014-15
The second place, as in 2014, was taken by China. According to experts from the Stockholm Institute (there is no open data on this subject, which is why analysts have to use rough estimates), last year the Chinese military spent 215 billion US dollars, or 13% of global spending. Compared to 2006, there is an increase of 132%.
Saudi Arabia closes the top three last year, moving up one line. Its military budget in 2015 was $ 87.2 billion - 5.2% of the world's spending. Over the past ten years, Arabian defense spending has grown by 97%.
The latest achievement of Saudi Arabia led Russia to fall from third to fourth place in 2015. With a defense budget of $ 66.4 billion, our country accounts for 4% of global spending. At the same time, since 2006, spending has grown by 91%.
At the end of the top five was the United Kingdom, which has risen one line since 2014. Interestingly, since 2006, it has cut its military budget by 7.2%, but at the same time it is 55.5 billion dollars (3.3% of the global) and allows it to occupy a fairly high position in the ranking.
The remaining places in the top ten are occupied by India (moved up from seventh to sixth), France (dropped from fifth to seventh), Japan (moved up one line from ninth place), Germany (swapped places with Japan) and South Korea (remained 10th). m). Brazil, Italy, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel remained outside the top ten leaders. From 10th to 15th places inclusive, "Top 15" did not change last year. All permutations affected only the first ten.
The total expenditures of the 15 leaders of the current rating last year amounted to 1350 billion US dollars. This is 81% of global spending. Compared to 2006, the Top 15 indicators have grown by 19%. It should be noted that during this period, the list of 15 leaders in military spending has seriously changed, so that the comparison of indicators is carried out exclusively by total amounts.
Rise and fall records
An important element of the SIPRI report is information on the growth and reduction of budgets of individual countries. In 2006-15, a number of countries experienced uniquely high growth in defense spending and equally strong cuts. It should be borne in mind that in some cases there is a start with very low rates, which facilitate the establishment of records in percentage terms. Nevertheless, in this case, such ratings are of interest and show interesting trends.
Iraq has become the undisputed leader in the growth of the military budget in the past ten years. Last year, its defense spending totaled $ 13.12 billion, up a record 536% since 2006. In this case, the reason for the appearance of such large numbers was the problems associated with the restoration of the country after the war and the change of power. The gradual improvement of the situation, and then the terrorist threat, forced the official Baghdad to sharply increase military spending.
The Gambia came in second in terms of growth, with a military budget of $ 12.5 billion and a 380 percent increase in 2006-15. The Republic of Congo closes the top three. Despite a modest budget of $ 705 million, this country is showing growth of 287%. Argentine budget growth over the same period is estimated at 240% (against a 2015 budget of 5.475 billion), and Ghana, having spent just 180 million last year, increased spending by 227%.
As noted in a press release to the report, the fall in oil prices has seriously hit the budgetary expenditures of a number of countries. For example, in the case of Venezuela, such events led to a record reduction in the defense budget. In 2015, Venezuelan defense spending decreased by 64% compared to 2014, and between 2006 and 2015, the reduction was 77%. This puts the country at the top of the anti-record ranking.
"Top 15" for military spending
The second and third places are shared by Slovenia and Latvia, which cut their budgets by 37%. At the same time, 407 million dollars remained at the disposal of the Slovenian military in 2015, while the Latvian received only 286. Greece and the Czech Republic, which were forced to cut military budgets by 35%, round out the top five reduction leaders. After that, Greece was able to allocate 5, 083 billion dollars for the needs of the army, and the Czech Republic - 1, 778 billion.
Asia and Oceania continue to show strong growth in performance. In 2014-15, it was 5.4%, and since 2006, it has achieved a 64% increase. The total expenditures of the countries of the region are estimated at 436 billion. Almost half of these costs are in China, the remaining 51% is shared by several dozen other states.
Europe as a whole, without dividing into smaller regions, shows not very outstanding results. In total, last year, European budgets grew by 1.7% compared to 2014 and amounted to $ 328 billion. Over a ten-year period, they grew by only 5.4%. Most of European spending ($ 253 billion) is in Western and Central Europe. Eastern European states, in turn, spent only 74.4 billion. At the same time, the annual growth of expenses amounted to 7.5%, and since 2006 the budgets have grown by 90%.
Assessment of the Middle East's performance was hampered by the lack of budget data for some countries. SIPRI analysts were unable to obtain verified information about Kuwait, Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. For this reason, only Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran were included in the calculations. Over the past year, these countries have spent a total of $ 110.6 billion on their armies. The growth in comparison with the previous year was 4.1%.
Latin America and the Caribbean's combined figures fell 2.9% to 67 billion. Despite this, the growth in comparison with 2006 is 33%. The costs of the South American countries amounted to 57.6 billion dollars - minus 4% compared to 2014, but 27% more than in 2006. Central America and the Caribbean spent only $ 9.5 billion, with annual growth of 3.7% and ten-year growth of 84%.
Africa has cut total defense spending to $ 37 billion, or 2.3% compared to 2014. Despite this, growth in 2006-15 remains at an optimistic level of 68%. North Africa has increased its spending by 2.1% over the year and by 68% over ten years, bringing them to the level of $ 17.9 billion. Central and South Africa, in turn, fell markedly. With total spending at 19.1 billion, the reduction in 2014-15 was 11%. In relation to 2006 indicators, growth remained at the level of 30%. The main reason for the fall in Central and South Africa's performance was the 42 percent cut in Angola's military budget, fueled by plummeting oil prices.
The current situation with the defense budgets of various countries is very interesting. After several years of steadily declining global indicators, there has been little growth. At the same time, the budgets of some countries continue to decline, while others, on the contrary, are increasing their spending. Against the background of these events, new local conflicts occur and new threats arise that can affect the further development of strategies. As experts of the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research note, there is now another factor that seriously affects the politics and economies of states - the falling prices for energy resources.
As a result of all current events, various states have to act in accordance with the requirements of the time, as well as take into account existing restrictions. The current situation is so complex that it is almost impossible to predict. Nevertheless, it should be observed and certain conclusions should be drawn. This is what SIPRI is currently doing. In the near future, this organization is to release a new report, revealing other details of the current situation in the development of armies and arms sales.
Full text of the report: