Global Defense Spending Reaches New Record; Iran Ranked In Top 15, Says New Report
By RFE/RL April 25, 2022
Global defense spending rose again in 2021, topping $2 trillion for the first time as Russia beefed up its military capabilities ahead of its invasion of Ukraine, a new report said on April 25.
Adjusted for inflation, defense spending last year grew by 0.7 percent to hit $2.113 trillion, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its latest report.
The largest five spenders were the United States, China, India, Britain, and Russia, SIPRI said.
The United States accounted for 38 percent of world military spending last year, followed by China with 14 percent. However, the United States' defense spending fell from 3.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 3.5 percent, or $801 billion.
That included a drop in research and development spending, but the report said it still appears the United States is focusing on "next-generation technologies."
Britain and France each moved up two ranks, becoming the fourth- and sixth-largest spenders in 2021.
Iran increased its military spending by 11 percent, making it the 14th largest military spender last year. It was the first time in two decades that Iran ranked among the top 15 military spenders.
Russian military spending grew by 2.9 percent, to $65.9 billion -- a third consecutive year of growth of military spending, accounting for 4.1 percent of GDP.
The boosted spending came at a time when Moscow was preparing for its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine registered a drop in defense spending last year, to $5.9 billion, accounting for 3.2 percent of its GDP.
Ukraine's overall defense spending has surged by 72 percent since Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
China upped its military budget by 4.7 percent to reach $293 billion, its 27th consecutive year of growth.
Japan's spending was increased by 7.3 percent, hitting $54.1 billion, its biggest increase since 1972, while Australian spending grew by 4 percent to hit $31.8 billion.
Iran last year raised its military budget for the first time in four years, to $24.6 billion -- an annual increase of 11 percent that came despite continuing economic hardship caused by many years of sanctions prompted by Tehran's nuclear activities and amid increasingly tense relations with the United States and Israel.
The budget of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps grew by 14 percent accounting for 34 percent of Iran's total military spending, the report said.
Iran's archfoe, Israel, upped its military budget by 3.1 percent, to $24.3 billion amid ongoing military operations against the radical Hamas Islamist group and its growing concerns over Iran's potential nuclear capabilities.
Global defense spending increased for both of the years the world has been struck by the pandemic to date.
"Even amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels," said Diego Lopes da Silva, senior researcher with SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.
"There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation. In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1 percent."
With reporting by AFP and dpa
Copyright (c) 2022. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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