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The world spends some $1,000 billion annually on the military. How is this so?
This web page has the following sub-sections:
World Military Spending Out Does Anything Else
As detailed further on the next page on military expenditure. world military spending has now reached one trillion dollars, close to Cold War levels.
As summarized from the Military Balance, 2000/2001. by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (October 2001), for the larger arms-purchasing nations each year:
- Arms procurement is normally 20-30% of their military budgets
- The main portion is usually on operations, maintenance and personnel
- Some 40 to 50 billion dollars are in actual deliveries, (that is, the delivery of sales, which can be many years after the initial contract is signed)
- Each year, around 30-35 billion dollars are made in actual sales (agreements, or signing of contracts).
In more recent years, annual sales of arms have risen to around $50-60 billion although the global financial crisis is slowly beginning to be felt in arms sales too.
Arms sales figures
Every year, the U.S. Congressional Research Service releases an authoritative report looking at arms transfers to the developing world.
The latest report (as of writing), released August 24, 2012, is titled Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003-2011 .
These reports are also known as the Grimmett Report. after the author, Richard F. Grimmett. They provide insight into where the arms are going. The following breakdowns are based on this report.
Note about the data
The report typically follows the trends of major arms suppliers, but as
was noted in the 2007 Grimmett Report
, there has been an increase in participation of other non-traditional suppliers, such as Israel, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine. While some general data are provided on worldwide conventional arms transfers by all suppliers, “The principal focus of this report is the level of arms transfers by major weapons suppliers” and in addition, “to nations in the developing world — where most of the potential for the outbreak of regional military conflicts currently exists.”
The earlier 2006 Grimmett report
also explained that, “These [non-major] arms suppliers also are more likely to be sources of small arms and light weapons, and associated ordnance, rather than routine sellers of major military equipment. Most of these arms suppliers are not likely to consistently rank with the traditional major suppliers of advanced weaponry in the value of their arms agreements and deliveries.” (p. 8)
As such, the breakdowns of suppliers in the Grimmett Reports typically include the major suppliers with non-major suppliers grouped. In a given year, some of the non-major suppliers may sell more than the lower-end major suppliers, but over the longer term the top 5 are fairly consistently from this smaller group of major suppliers.
Also, as authoritative as the Grimmett report may be, it does not include clandestine arms transfers (that must be a lot harder to know, calculate and estimate). So the numbers are likely to be an understatement.
Global Arms Sales By Supplier Nations
The 5 UN Security Council permanent members are generally the largest arms dealers (though others such as Germany often feature quite high - higher than China for example):