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El Salvador - People

n 2006, El Salvadors defence budget represented approximately 0.6 % of its gross national product (GNP). Defence expenditures in 2004 totalled an estimated USD 105 million. The Salvadoran Armed Forces (ESAF) continues to focus on force modernization in a constrained budget environment. The ESAF's funding level of USD 115 million had changed very little for several years, representing a slightly declining percentage of the national budget. Small increases for the ESAF in recent yearly budgets have been obligated to a pay raise, so there is no net increase in funds available for operations, training, maintenance, and modernization.

El Salvador's defense budgets traditionally were relatively modest, and the percentage of the national income devoted to the armed forces generally was conservative. Military expenditures in the post-World War II period to 1970 ranged from 9 to 11 percent of the national budget. The demands of counterinsurgency resulted, however, in large increases in the country's defense spending in the 1980s. The defense budget, which included the "public security sector," increased substantially from fiscal year (FY) 1982, when it totalled US$139 million, to FY 1988, when it reached US$204 million. In 1986 army expenditures accounted for 71 percent of the total defense budget; air force, 23 percent; and navy, 4 percent. The 1986 defense budget constituted 4.7 percent of the gross national product (GNP). By the late 1980s, defense expenditures accounted for 25 percent of the national budget.

According to the World Bank, military expenditures data from SIPRI are derived from the NATO definition, which includes all current and capital expenditures on the armed forces, including peacekeeping forces; defense ministries and other government agencies engaged in defense projects; paramilitary forces, if these are judged to be trained and equipped for military operations; and military space activities. Such expenditures include military and civil personnel, including retirement pensions of military personnel and social services for personnel; operation and maintenance; procurement; military research and development; and military aid (in the military expenditures of the donor country).

Excluded are civil defense and current expenditures for previous military activities, such as for veterans' benefits, demobilization, conversion, and destruction of weapons. This definition cannot be applied for all countries, however, since that would require much more detailed information than is available about what is included in military budgets and off-budget military expenditure items. (For example, military budgets might or might not cover civil defense, reserves and auxiliary forces, police and paramilitary forces, dual-purpose forces such as military and civilian police, military grants in kind, pensions for military personnel, and social security contributions paid by one part of government to another.)

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