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Global military expenditure:
2009 figures now available

9 June 2010

Below are some extracts from the advance publicity material for the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Yearbook 2010 - the annual 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 - which was released last week, with links to more information. A summary of the chapters in the 2010 Yearbook is included at the end, together with information about how to obtain a copy of the Yearbook when it is published in July.

Please note: all $ figures on this page are US dollars.

  • World military expenditure increases despite financial crisis: Launch of the SIPRI
        Yearbook 2010, Stockholm, 2 June 2010
    • Worldwide military expenditure in 2009 totalled an estimated $1,531 billion, according to new figures released today by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). This represents an increase of 5.9% in real terms compared to 2008 and an increase of 49% since 2000. SIPRI today launches the 2010 edition of its Yearbook on Armaments, Disarmament and International Security. In addition to the release of its much anticipated military expenditure figures, Yearbook 2010 offers an authoritative account and analysis of recent developments in a number of security-related fields. The global financial crisis, the conflict in Afghanistan, and nuclear weapons and disarmament are among some of this year’s cross-cutting security themes.

      Strategic military choices in hard economic times

      The far-reaching effects of the global financial crisis and economic recession appear to have had little impact on world military expenditure. The USA, with a real-terms increase of $47 billion, accounted for 54% of the world increase in military expenditure. Although the USA led the rise, it was not alone (see figure 1). Of those countries for which data was available, 65% increased their military spending in real terms in 2009. In an analysis by region, Asia and Oceania showed the fastest real-terms increase with 8.9%.

      ‘Many countries were increasing public spending generally in 2009, as a way of boosting demand to combat the recession. Although military spending wasn’t usually a major part of the economic stimulus packages, it wasn’t cut either’, explains Dr Sam Perlo-Freeman, Head of the Military Expenditure Project at SIPRI. ‘The figures also demonstrate that for major or intermediate powers such as the USA, China, Russia, India and Brazil military spending represents a long-term strategic choice which they are willing to make even in hard economic times.’

      * The 2010 Yearbook chapter on military expenditure is available here.

      Taking stock in Afghanistan

      There were a total of 54 peace operations in 2009, and the known cost of peace operations reached a new high of $9.1 billion. The number of personnel deployed to such operations also reached a record 219 278 (89% military personnel, 11% civilian)­a jump of 16% over 2008. The increase was due to troop reinforcement for existing peace operations, most signi cantly for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

      In 2009 the USA more than doubled its troop levels in Afghanistan and annual US spending in Afghanistan now exceeds that in Iraq­$65 billion was proposed for Afghanistan, compared with $61 billion for Iraq in the nancial year 2010 budget request. Strategic efforts focused on counterterrorism, counternarcotics and the strengthening of the Afghan security forces. Nevertheless, the prospects for a decisive military victory for either the insurgency or the Afghan Government and its international backers were bleak in 2009.

      Efforts to enable a political dialogue with the Taliban continued to gain momentum within the international community and the Afghan Government, but ‘Unless the Taliban judge their position is weakening, they are unlikely to fully commit to any form of political settlement’, states SIPRI Researcher Tim Foxley ‘and the international community is clearly weary of the struggle: two NATO members have already unilaterally decided to pull out. There is a tangible and growing sense of "end game" in and around Afghanistan that is likely to intensify over the next 12 months’.

      Nuclear weapon arsenals in 2009

      SIPRI estimates that there were around 7500 operational nuclear warheads in the arsenals of the eight nuclear-armed states (the USA, Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan and Israel). Of these, almost 2000 were kept on high alert and capable of being launched in minutes. Global efforts to reduce or eliminate these weapons moved forward despite a number of setbacks.

      On the SIPRI Yearbook 2010

      In addition to SIPRI Yearbook 2010’s informative, ongoing coverage of perennial security issues, this year’s highlights include

      • an assessment of the practical steps that states must take if they are serious about nuclear disarmament by former US diplomat and disarmament expert James E. Goodby;

      • an expanded analysis of data released earlier in the year on the top 100 arms producing companies (excluding Chinese companies) and the latest trends in international arms transfers; and

      • extensive appendices and annexes that provide further data and documentation on major armed conflict and multilateral peace operations, arms control and non-proliferation.

  • Weapons production: summary by Susan T. Jackson
    • In 2008 the world’s 100 largest arms-producing companies (outside China) maintained the upward trend in their arms sales, which increased by $39 billion to reach $385 billion. While companies headquartered in the United States again dominated the SIPRI Top 100, for the first time a non-US headquartered company registered the highest level of arms sales­BAE Systems of the United Kingdom.

      Thirteen companies increased their arms sales by more than $1 billion in 2008, and 23 increased their arms sales by more than 30 per cent. In contrast, only six companies in the SIPRI Top 100 had decreased arms sales in 2008. Two of these companies­SAFRAN of France and Boeing of the USA­experienced decreases of more than $1 billion.

      The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq continued to heavily influence sales of military equipment such as armoured vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters. At the same time, sales registered by military services companies continued to grow, as did the arms sales of Russian companies to both domestic and foreign customers.

      Following peak levels earlier in the decade, the number of large transnational mergers and acquisitions fell again in 2009. The acquisition of US companies by British companies slowed. There was, however, more consolidation in the Israeli, Russian and US industries as well as a continued pattern of arms-producing companies diversifying into the security industry.

      Even though more than a year has passed since the onset of the global financial crisis and economic recession, an initial assessment shows that many arms-producing companies continued to increase arms sales in 2009. Sustained high levels of military expenditure (especially in the USA­the largest military spender and arms procurer) and the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq partly explain the continuing increase. However, the monopsonistic structure of the arms industry, the consequent strong relationship between arms producers and governments and the industry’s perceived importance to national security also shield it from the immediate impact of severe economic downturns. This status is reflected in the continued high levels of arms sales, high profits, large backlogs and strong cash flows generated by arms production.

  • About the SIPRI Yearbook 2010
    • With a focus on the conflict in Afghanistan, the impact of the global financial crisis and nuclear disarmament, the 41st edition of the SIPRI Yearbook includes coverage of developments in 2009 in: major armed conflicts; multilateral peace operations; military expenditure; arms production; international arms transfers; world nuclear forces, stocks of fissile materials and nuclear explosions; 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.

      The Yearbook includes special studies on: a world without nuclear weapons; armed conflict, crime and criminal violence; civilian actors in peace operations; and Euro-Atlantic security and institutions; and extensive annexes on arms control and disarmament agreements; international security cooperation bodies; and events during 2009 in the area of security and arms control.

      Links to summaries of each chapter and the special studies are available here.

  • Print and online editions of the SIPRI Yearbook 2010
  • The Yearbook will be published in July 2010 by Oxford University Press on behalf of SIPRI. For the first time, in 2010 the full text of the SIPRI Yearbook will be available online although access is only available with purchase of a printed copy of the Yearbook - ordering details are available here.

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