Global military spending up 2.6% in 2020 despite pandemic
Global military expenditure rose by 2.6% to $1.98trn last year despite some defence funds being reallocated to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report issued on Monday.
The 2.6% increase when compared to the spending level of 2019 came even as global gross domestic product shrank by 4.4%.
As a result, military spending as a share of GDP - the so-called 'military burden' - reached a global average of 2.4% in 2020, up from 2.2% in 2019. That was the biggest year-on-year increase in the military burden since the global financial and economic crisis of 2009, said the report.
According to research, the five biggest spenders in 2020, which together accounted for 62% of global military expenditure, were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom. Military spending by China grew for the 26th consecutive year.
US military expenditure reached an estimated $778 billion last year, 4.4% more than in 2019. With the world's biggest defence budget, the United States accounted for 39% of total global military expenditure in 2020.
Some countries, such as Chile and South Korea, redirected part of their planned military spending to their pandemic response. Several others, including Brazil and Russia, spent considerably less than their initial military budgets for 2020.
‘We can say with some certainty that the pandemic did not have a significant impact on global military spending in 2020,’ said Dr Diego Lopes da Silva, Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘It remains to be seen whether countries will maintain this level of military spending through a second year of the pandemic.’