Global military expenditure increased by 0.7% in real terms in 2021, to $2.113 trillion, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported on April 25.
The top five spending countries include the United States, China, India, the UK and Russia, which together account for 62% of global military expenditure.
$2.1 trillion is a record military spending, SIPRI noted. This is the seventh year in a row that spending increased.
“Even amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, world military spending hit record levels," said Dr Diego Lopez da Silva, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
“There was a slowdown in the rate of real-terms growth due to inflation. In nominal terms, however, military spending grew by 6.1%.”
As a result of a sharp economic recovery in 2021, the ratio of global military expenditure to world gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.1 percentage points, from 2.3% in 2020 to 2.2% in 2021.
U.S. military spending amounted to $801 billion in 2021 – 1.4% less than in 2020. U.S. funding for military research and development rose by 24% between 2012 and 2021, while arms procurement funding fell by 6.4% over the same period.
Russia increased its military expenditure by 2.9% in 2021 to $65.9 billion as it prepared for its full-scale war against Ukraine.
“High oil and gas revenues helped Russia to boost its military spending in 2021,” said Lucie Beraud-Sudreau, Director of SIPRI's Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
“Russian military expenditure had been in decline between 2016 and 2019 as a result of low energy prices combined with sanctions in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.”
China in 2021 allocated about $293 billion to its armed forces, which is 4.7% more than in 2020. China's military spending has grown for 27 consecutive years.
India's military spending amounted to $76.6 billion in 2021, which is 0.9% more than in 2020 and 33% more than in 2012.
In 2021, eight North Atlantic Treaty Organization members followed the Alliance's recommendation to spend at least 2% of GDP on their armed forces.