Factsheet

Winners & losers in the global military spending relationship – citizens and environment vs governments and defence industries

  1. The Top Ten vs ‘Rogue States’
  2. More on Defence than Education
  3. Weapons vs Want
  4. Military Kit vs People
  5. Austerity
  6. Iraq
  7. The Military, War and Climate Change
  8. Share Price, Profits, Tax Havens
  9. Arms Sales
  10. The United States
  11. Nuclear Weapons:  USA $5.5 Trillion Spend 1940-96; Global Annual Spend $100 Billion
  12. Countries whose military spending is more than $1 billion in 2010
  13. Top Military Spender (per Capita) in 2010

1. The Top Ten vs ‘Rogue States’

The top spenders are responsible for 75% of global military spending $1.7trillion (2011). The USA accounts for 41%.  NATO countries (the US, Europe and the UK) accounted for 70 per cent of the global military expenditure. Europe has 7% of the world’s population and 20 per cent of global military expenditure (TNI). The Permanent Five nations on the Security Council (USA, Russia, China, UK and France) and Germany account for approximately 80% arms sales – all this while their role on the Security Council is to keep the peace.

Top 10: The United States ($711 billion); China ($146 bn), Russia ($78 bn), UK ($60 bn), France ($63 bn) Japan ($60 bn) India ($50 bn)  Saudi Arabia ($49bn) Germany ($48 bn)  Brazil ($37 bn). (SIPRI, 2013)
All rogue states, the so-called perceived enemies of the West ie North Korea, Iran, Sudan,Syria, Cuba and Libya, reportedly spent less than 1% of the total global military spending in 2009 (Canadian based Centre for Research on Globalization)

2. More on Defence than Education

On average,  industrialized countries spend 3 times as much on defence as on education; in particular, the ratio is 6:1 rather than 3:1 in USA. Many of the world’s poorest countries and fastest growing economies (both measured in terms of GDP per capita) spend much more on defence than either on education or on health.    (Unicef)

Money spent on the $1.7trillion defence sector equals $4.7 billion a day or $249 per person.  (IPB 2012)

3. Weapons vs Want.

5% of this $1.7trillion  (2011) would be needed each year to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 according to the World Bank and the Office of Disarmament Affairs (ODA).  (IPB 2012)

In 2002 the World Bank had estimated that an additional $ 40-60bn  were required annually in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015

80% of the world’s 20 poorest countries have suffered a major war in the past 15 years, and the human legacy continues long after. Nine of the 10 countries with the world’s highest child mortality rates have suffered from conflict in recent years.  (War on Want: Banking on Bloodshed 2009)

Over 900 million people in the world are hungry; 1.5 billion people subsist on less than US$1.25 per day. Furthermore, over 40% of people in the world live on less than US$2 per day.  And this is not just confined to the global south – 40 million Americans are on food stamps in 2012.

4. Military Kit vs People

One aircraft carrier ($5 billion) = reforesting an area three times the size of Costa Rica in the Amazon ($300 per hectare).

One battle tank ($780,000) = 26,000 people could be treated for malaria ($30 per person)

One B-2 Stealth Bomber @ $1,000,000,000 = 1,150,510 Clean Water Wells  OR  31,466,331 Child Immunisations. OR  713,318 Houses for family’s currently living in cramped, unsanitary and dangerous conditions OR  270,196 Schools Furnished with desks, chairs, tables, blackboards – vital things children need to build a foundation for learning OR 89,126,560 Fishing Nets. OR 89,126,560 training courses for a health worker. (Share The World’s Resources)

5. Austerity

EU military expenditure totalled €194 billion in 2010, equivalent to the annual deficits of Greece, Italy and Spain combined .  Frank Slijper, Transnational Institute, April 2013

6. Iraq

The General Accounting Office (GAO) reported that US forces had expended around six billion bullets between 2002 and 2005, that is at least 250,000 bullets for every insurgent killed in the ‘war on terror’

Just in a three-week period of conflict alone in Iraq during 2003 it was estimated that nearly 2000 tons of depleted uranium (DU) munitions were used.  Paul Brown, The Guardian, April 2013

A recent estimation by Professor Linda Bilmes, who co-authored the book ‘The Three Trillion Dollar War’ with Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, calculated that the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now likely to reach astronomical $6 trillion for the US government alone

7. The Military, War and Climate Change

Official accounts put US military usage at 320,000 barrels of oil a day. The US military is a major contributor of carbon dioxide. The Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007.  That war emits more than 60 percent that of all countries.   (Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International)

The F-4 Phantom Fighter burns more than 1,600 gallons of jet fuel per hour (just three hours of flight uses as much fuel as the average driver does in one year of driving) and peaks at 14,400 gallons per hour at supersonic speeds.

If the USA  Department of Defense were a country, it would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006)

The projected full costs of the Iraq war (estimated $3 trillion) would cover “all of the global investments in renewable power generation” needed between now and 2030 to reverse global warming trends. (  Oil Change International 2011)

8. Share Price, Profits, Tax Havens

Between 2008-2010, the combined defence and aerospace sector in the USA made profits of $71.6 billion in total and paid an effective tax rate of only 17%.  Boeing made a large profit of $9.7 billion in this period, yet it received a tax rebate of $178m. (Citizens for Tax Justice)

Boeing has 38 subsidiaries in foreign tax haven jurisdiction, as of February 2011. (USA based Institute for Policy Studies)

Share prices at $27 or $28 in March 2003 went to $100 plus after 18 months in Iraq (Colonel Lawrecen Wilkerson, Chief Staff Colin Powell)

In 2002, the combined profits of the five largest U.S.-based defense contractors were $2.4 billion (adjusted for inflation); by 2011, that figure had increased by 450 percent to $13.4 billion

9. Arms Sales

In its latest arms sales report (Feb 2013), SIPRI calculates that arms sales for 2011 totalled $410bn –

US arms giant Lockheed Martin tops the list, selling $35.7bn worth of arms in 2010; the second biggest is the British company BAE Systems – it sold $32.9bn of arms, which is around 95 percent of the company’s total revenue that year; Boeing is third with $31.4bn, which is around half of its total sales for the company most famous for its commercial airliners. Northrop Grumman, the world’s largest builder of naval vessels, is fourth with $28.2bn; General Dynamics is fifth with $23.9bn.

Furthermore, 60% of global arms sales are from rich countries, eg G8 nations, to developing countries, with USA and Russia alone responsible for two-thirds  (The Economist 2012)

10. The United States

The USA military budget is now higher now than at peak of cold war

US citizens pays 29% of their income tax purely for the military

Overseas Bases:  US military is deployed in more than 150 countries with 196,248 of its 1,414,149 active-duty personnel serving outside the U.S. and its territories (2011)

11. Nuclear Weapons:  USA $5.5 Trillion Spend 1940-96; Global Annual Spend $100 Billion

In 1998, the Brookings Institute carried out an ‘atomic audit’ of the US nuclear weapons programme from 1940 to 1996. The estimated total costs are $5.5 trillion.

Similar studies about the nuclear spending of the rest of the world are unfortunately lacking, but the International Peace Bureau estimates the global annual total is around $90 billion.

The nine nuclear weapons countries collectively spend $100 billion dollars annually on their nuclear programs. This conservatively estimated expenditure represents about 9% of their total annual military spending.  At this rate the nuclear-armed states will spend at least $1 trillion on nuclear weapons and their direct support systems over the next decade. It will likely go significantly higher as numerous modernization programs underway are ramped up. It would go higher still if the true intentions of many non-nuclear weapons countries could be divined and their secret weapons programs added to the total. (Global Zero$1 Trillion Per Decade 2011)

12. Countries whose military spending is more than $1 billion in 2010

Country ($ billions)

  • USA (687.0)
  • China (114.3)
  • Russia (61.0)
  • France (57.4)
  • UK (55.6)
  • Japan (54.4)
  • Saudi Arabia (46.8)
  • India (44.9)
  • Germany (38.2)
  • Italy (34.8)
  • Brazil (28.1)
  • South Korea (24.3)
  • Canada (20.2)
  • Australia (19.8)
  • Spain (15.8)
  • United Arab Emirates (15.7)
  • Turkey (15.6)
  • Israel (13.0)
  • Netherlands (11.6)
  • Greece (9.4)
  • Colombia (9.2)
  • Taiwan (8.5)
  • Poland (8.4)
  • Singapore (7.7)
  • Iran (7.0)
  • Norway (6.30)
  • Chile (6.2)
  • Indonesia (6.0)
  • Algeria (5.6)
  • Belgium (5.4)
  • Sweden (5.3)
  • Portugal (5.2)
  • Pakistan (5.2)
  • Mexico (4.9)
  • Iraq (4.7)
  • Denmark (4.6)
  • Kuwait (4.4)
  • Switzerland (4.4)
  • Thailand (4.3)
  • Oman (4.0)
  • Egypt (3.9)
  • Angola (3.8)
  • South Africa (3.7)
  • Finland (3.7)
  • Austria (3.5)
  • Ukraine (3.4)
  • Malaysia (3.3)
  • Morocco (3.3)
  • Argentina (3.2)
  • Venezuela (3.1)
  • Czech Republic (2.5)
  • Vietnam (2.4)
  • Syria (2.2)
  • Romania (2.2)
  • Peru (2.0)
  • Sudan (2.0)
  • Nigeria (1.7)
  • Lebanon (1.6)
  • Philippines (1.5)
  • Azerbaijan (1.4)
  • Jordan (1.4)
  • New Zealand (1.4)
  • Ireland (1.4)
  • Hungary (1.3)
  • Sri Lanka (1.3)
  • Kazakhstan (1.2)
  • Yemen (1.2)
  • Bangladesh (1.1)
  • Libya (1.1)
  • Croatia (1.1)
  • Slovakia (1.0)

13.    Top Military Spender (per Capita) in 2010

Country (Military Expenditure per Capita, $)

  • United Arab Emirates (3340)
  • USA (2163)
  • Saudi Arabia (1786)
  • Israel (1781)
  • Singapore (1604)
  • Kuwait (1419)
  • Oman (1379)
  • Norway (1286)
  • Australia (921)
  • France (917)
  • Bahrain (913)
  • UK (898)
  • Greece (839)
  • Denmark (836)
  • Brunei (825)
  • Finland (702)
  • Netherlands (695)
  • Luxembourg (600)
  • Canada (596)
  • Italy (579)
  • Switzerland (579)
  • Cyprus (567)
  • Sweden (565)
  • Belgium (505)
  • South Korea (501)
  • Portugal (487)
  • Germany (465)
  • Russia (434)
  • Japan (428)
  • Austria (411)

Selected others

  • China (84)
  • India (37)
  • Brazil (144)
  • South Africa (74)
  • Iran (93)

 Data sources: SIPRI; UNFPA

What If?  The 5% Formula

If the top military spenders in the world had adopted the 5% threshold rule since 2002, their total military expenditure would have been reduced to $730 billion by 2010, rather than actually increased to £1.3 trillions