Military budget

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Military spending in 2005

A military budget (or military expenditure), also known as a defense budget, is the amount of financial resources dedicated by a nation to raising and maintaining an armed forces or other methods essential for defense purposes.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2011, total world military expenditure amounted to 1.735 trillion US$.[1]

Political science and economics[edit]

Military budgets often reflect how strongly an entity perceives the likelihood of threats against it, or the amount of aggression it wishes to employ. It also gives an idea of how much financing should be provided for the upcoming year. The size of a budget also reflects the entity's ability to fund military activities.[2] Factors include the size of that entity's economy, other financial demands on that entity, and the willingness of that entity's government or people to fund such military activity. Generally excluded from military expenditures is spending on internal law enforcement and disabled veteran rehabilitation. The effects of military expenditure on a nation's economy and society, and what determines military expenditure, are notable issues in political science and economics. There are controversial findings and theories regarding these topics. Generally, some suggest military expenditure is a boost to local economies.[3] Still, others maintain military expenditure is a drag on development.[4]

Every year in April is the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS), which aims to gather people and create a global movement that persuades governments to reallocate their military spending to essential human needs such as food, education, health care, social services and environmental concerns.[5]

Among the countries maintaining some of the world's largest military budgets, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are frequently recognized to be great powers.[6]

Past expenditure[edit]


In the Saturday Review magazine in February 1898, indicates that the percentage of tax revenue spent on military budgets as follows:[citation needed]


In 2004, the yearly report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute showed that the purchase of military products by NATO member nations during the year 2003 rose by 11 percent, compared to 2002 (6.5 percent in volume). In some countries, this budget had been increased to the level maintained during the Cold War. The military budget of the United States lead this increase. U.S. purchases accounted for 47% of world military expenditure in 2003. A total of about US$415 billion.[7] Additional funding for the War in Iraq and the supplementary expense of US$83 billion accounted for much of the increase. Other spending accounted for only 3.5 percent of it.

The military budgets of the United Kingdom, France and Italy represented about 15% of world military spending. France and the United Kingdom increased their equipment expenses, so as not only to act in US military operations with the same technological level of their ally, but also to be able to act independently in smaller military campaigns. (Such as was seen in the Libya).

Among non-NATO nations, Japan spent US$46.9 billion in 2003, The People's Republic of China, US$32.8 billion, and Russia, US$13 billion. As a percentage share of world military spending this represented 5%, 4%, and 1%, respectively.[8][9]

Projected expenditure[edit]

An academic report from the United Kingdoms Ministry of Defence outlines projected defense expenditure of major powers for the year 2045.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2011
  2. ^ Statistics on Defense Expenditures in the U.S. per Capita, 1990-2011, NATO, April 2012.
  3. ^ Hicks, Louis; Curt Raney (2003). "The Social Impact of Military Growth in St. Mary's County, Maryland, 1940-1995". Armed Forces & Society 29 (3): 353–371. doi:10.1177/0095327x0302900303. 
  4. ^ Nef, J.U. (1950). War and Human Progress. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 
  5. ^ GDAMS
  6. ^ Baron, Joshua (22 January 2014). Great Power Peace and American Primacy: The Origins and Future of a New International Order. United States: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1137299487. 
  7. ^ SIPRI database, USA 2003
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Global Strategic Trends out to 2045,, 15 July 2014

Further Reading[edit]

External links[edit]