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Global military expenditure:
2008 figures now available

09 June 2009

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's (SIPRI) compendium of data and analysis of developments in the areas of security and conflicts, military spending and weapons sales, non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament during 2008 is now available. The SIPRI 2009 Yearbook 'Armaments, Disarmament and International Security' was launched in Stockholm on Monday, 8 June. Below is a summary of the contents, and links to where you can get more information, chapter summaries, and ordering details. All $ figures below are US$.

Global military spending: worldwide military expenditure in 2008 totaled an estimated $1,464 billion, this represents an increase of 4 per cent in real terms compared to 2007, and an increase of 45 per cent since 1999. Military expenditure comprised approximately 2.4 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008. All regions and sub-regions have seen significant increases since 1999, except for Western and Central Europe - although some recent and prospective NATO members increased military spending substantially.

The USA accounted for the majority (58%) of the global increase between 1999 and 2008, with its military spending growing by $219 billion in constant 2005 prices over the period. China and Russia, with absolute increases of $42 billion and $24 billion respectively, both nearly tripled their military expenditure over the decade. Other regional powers - particularly India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Brazil, South Korea, Algeria and Britain - also made substantial contributions to the total increase. "The idea of the 'war on terror' has encouraged many countries to see their problems through a highly militarized lens, using this to justify high military spending," comments Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Head of the Military Expenditure Project at SIPRI. "Meanwhile, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $903 billion in additional military spending by the USA alone." ('Global military expenditure set new record in 2008, says SIPRI', 8 June 2009 at )

Military spending in the Middle East fell slightly in 2008, although this is probably temporary, with many countries in the region planning major weapons purchases. In contrast, there was a large rise in Iraq, whose 2008 military budget was 133 per cent higher in real terms than its 2007 spending. While previously most funding for the Iraqi security forces came from the United States, this has been increasingly replaced by domestic funding. Iraq remains highly dependent on the USA for weapons supplies, with numerous major orders planned.

Global weapons production: continued to increase in 2007. The Yearbook includes SIPRI's list of the top 100 weapons producing companies (excluding Chinese companies). The combined weapons sales of the SIPRI Top 100 weapons producing companies reached $347 billion, an increase of 11 per cent in nominal terms and 5 per cent in real terms over 2006. Since 2002 the value of the Top 100 weapons sales has increased by 37 per cent in real terms.

The US company Boeing remained the top weapons producer in 2007-the most recent year for which reliable data are available-with arms sales worth $30.5 billion. All the top 20 companies in the SIPRI Top 100 for 2007 are US or European. The aggregate weapons sales of the SIPRI Top 100 reached $347 billion in 2007, an increase of 11 per cent in nominal terms and 5 per cent in real terms over the SIPRI Top 100 for 2006.

Nuclear weapons: SIPRI estimates that in total there were around 8,400 operational nuclear warheads in the world, of which almost 2000 were kept on high alert and capable of being launched in minutes. Counting spare warheads, those in storage and those due for dismantling, there were some 23,300 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of eight states: the USA, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and Israel.

Contents: the 40th edition of the SIPRI Yearbook includes coverage of developments during 2008 in: major armed conflicts, multilateral peace operations, military expenditure, arms production, international arms transfers, world nuclear forces and fissile material stocks, nuclear arms control and non-proliferation, reducing security threats from chemical and biological materials, conventional arms control, controls on security-related international transfers', and multilateral arms embargoes; as well as special studies on mass displacement caused by conflicts and one-sided violence, one-sided violence against civilians, the legitimacy of peace operations, security and politics in Afghanistan, US and Iraqi military spending, arms transfers to Sri Lanka, the adoption of the Cluster Munitions Convention, and defence trade cooperation agreements.

The Yearbook also has extensive annexes on arms control and disarmament agreements and international security cooperation bodies, and a chronology of events during 2008 in the area of security and arms control.

Links to more information: A twenty eight page summary of the Yearbook is available here. More information, chapter summaries, and ordering details are available here.

The 2009 Yearbook is published on behalf of SIPRI by Oxford University Press.

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