Why these Nations are Suddenly Increasing Military Spending


There has been a steady increase in military spending, and this rate continues to climb steadily. The five countries that spend the most on this are the United States, China, India, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Together, these countries made up around 60% of global military spending. In 2020, U.S. military funding increased by 5%, leading to a total cost of $732 billion dollars.


Funding and reasons for the increase

In 2020 China and India were, respectively, the second-and third-largest military spenders in the world. China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2020, a 5.1% increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8 percent to $71.1 billion. India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China are among the major drivers for its increased military spending. In addition to China and India, Japan ($47.6 billion) and South Korea ($43.9 billion) were the largest military spenders in Asia and Oceania. Military expenditure in the region has risen every year since at least 1989. Germany’s military spending rose by 10% in 2019, to the total cost of $49.3 billion. This was the largest increase in spending among the top 15 military spenders in 2019.

Together, the top 15 countries spent a total of $1.553 trillion, 81 percent of global military spending. All but three countries in the top 15 had higher military expenditures in 2019 than in 2010, the exceptions being the U.S. (15 percent drop), the U.K. (15 percent drop), and Italy (11 percent drop). Much of this spending has been on special operation watches, equipment, and special forces vehicles. In other nations, particularly ones that are still developing economically, a focus on military spending often means foregoing other important priorities. Many nations have a standing military but an unreliable public infrastructure, from hospitals to roads to schools. North Korea is an extreme example of what an unrelenting focus on military spending can do to the standard of living for the general population.


What is funding spent on

The defense base budget of $636 billion funds 12 initiatives. First on the list are Nuclear Modernization ($29 billion) and Missile Defence ($20 billion). The new Space Program will cost $18 billion, while Cyberspace protection is budgeted at $10 billion. The Air Force will spend $57 billion, including $11 billion for 79 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and $739 million for five presidential helicopters.

The Navy will spend $32 billion and the Army receives $13 billion. The Defence Department will also spend $21 billion on munitions and $107 billion in new technology research. Additional funding goes to each department for readiness development. This includes $31 billion to the Army, $48 billion to the Navy, and $37 billion to the Air Force. Service members will receive a 3% pay raise and an increase in their housing allowance. Family members receive $8 billion for childcare, education, and professional development. The most money that is spent on the military goes towards Defence.

The broad range of potential missions means that the U.S. must keep its forces ready for anything from high-intensity state-on-state conflict to counterinsurgencies and police keep. At the face value, the military spending globally and by individual countries seem to be increasing, however, the claim falls flat if the same is viewed in the light of inflation and as a percentage of GDP. In the case of certain countries like India, the statement may hold ground, however, the same may not be entirely true as India is still making up its deficiencies of the past decade and largely replacing obsolete equipment. It is the variety and modernization of inventory that is eating up the major chunk of the defense expenditure, not to mention the salary and the pension bill.


Benefits of military spending

People who advocate setting up defense industries locally state that it will also be economically beneficial. The idea is that weapons manufacturing is also like any other business. This means that this business also generated employment and sales like any other business would. Hence, if the cost of manufacturing the weapons is removed from the sale price, the balance is economic value added by the defense industry. Also, proponents of these policies advocate defense spending because it is believed that even the expenditure undertaken on contractors is spent on procuring goods and services from the local economy.

Hence, that should also be considered while calculating value added to the economy. Peace is important to maintain fruitful trade relations in each region. However, this peace can only be achieved if military spending is done. Military spending builds military might. This power acts as a deterrent for aggressors. In the absence of military spending, opponents may view the nation as a soft target. Hence, even though local defense spending may be more expensive, it creates more value in the form of more robust national security and fewer disruptions to trade and commerce. If the defense system of a country is fully integrated, there are economic benefits to it.