Military Spending Changes Among World Powers

Russian Air Force fighter jet. Editorial credit: Fasttailwind /
Russian Air Force fighter jet. Editorial credit: Fasttailwind /

The military budget are funds set aside to finance the armed forces of a country, pay employees, maintain and purchase military equipment, and to cater for the training of new personnel. As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the US had the biggest military budget globally standing at $611.2 billion in 2016. The US budget is nearly three times that of China which ranks second with a budget of $215.7 billion. Russia ranks third, Saudi Arabia fourth, and India fifth on the list. South Korea had a 35% increase in its military budget in 2016, Saudi Arabia 20%, Germany 6.8%, France 2.8%, and Japan 2.5%. Saudi Arabia is the only country among the top ten countries with a high military expenditure that dedicates more than 6% of its GDP to the military. The other countries, except for Russia which allocated about 5.3% of the GDP, allocated less than 3.5% of the GDP to military expenditure.

Military Spending Changes Among World Powers


China reads out its annual state budget every year in March, and the budget includes the military budget for the year. China’s military budget has been growing through the years, and it had a positive increase of 118% from 2007 through 2016. The country has been working to modernize its military equipment and artillery. In 2016, the military budget in the country was $146 billion, an increase from $131 billion in 2014. China has the second largest military budget after the US.


Russia has seen an increase of 87.0% in military expenditure from 2007 to 2016. The 2016 military budget in the country totaled $69.2 billion ranking the country third among the countries with a large military expenditure. The Russian military expenditure was at its lowest in 1998 when the country was experiencing a financial crisis. The following years, the expenditure has had a positive growth reaching its highest in 2012 at $291 billion. Russia has also been upgrading its military equipment through the years since the fall of the USSR and the establishment of Russia as an independent country.


India has had an increase of 54.0% in the military budget as from 2007 to 2016. The country ranks fifth among the biggest investors on a military budget. The military budget in 2016 was $55.9 billion.

The Countries with a Decline in Expenditure

The US and the UK have recorded a decrease in their military spending. UK had a 12.0% decrease while the US recorded a 4.8% decrease. The UK military budget used to be around 2.85% of the GDP from the years before to 2000. As from 2002, the budget faced a decrease to about 2.7% of the GDP, and as from 2012, the budget has been on a constant decline. The UK ranks 7th in military expenditure in the world. The military expenditure of the US has been on a decline as from 2007 to 2016. The budget in 2015 was $598 billion and $521.7 billion in 2016. Despite facing a decline in expenditure, the US still maintains the highest expenditure on its military forces which is more than the combined expenditure of the UK, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Japan, and France.

Military Spending Changes Among World Powers

RankCountryMilitary Spending Changes (percentage)
4South Korea35
5Saudi Arabia20
9United States-4.8
10United Kingdom-12

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