|The SIPRI military expenditure project started in 1967 to study developments in world military expenditure. Military expenditure is an indicator of the economic resources devoted to military purposes. The project monitors and analyzes trends in military expenditure over time, looking at their economic, political and security drivers and their implications for global peace, security and development.
The SIPRI database on military expenditure
covers 172 countries and contains consistent data for the period since 1988. Data for the most recent 10-year period are published in the SIPRI Yearbook. Data from 1988 is available in the SIPRI military expenditure database on-line. SIPRI provides the only long-term, historically consistent series of military expenditure data with global coverage available. SIPRI military expenditure data are based on a variety of open sources which are processed to achieve consistent time series and are as far as possible in accordance with the SIPRI definition of military expenditure. See also Sources and methods
for SIPRI data on military expenditure.
World military expenditure in 2012 totalled $1753 billion, around 2.5% of world GDP. In real terms, the total was 0.5 per cent lower than in 2011, the first fall in world military spending since 1998. The small overall reduction is the result of falls in the West-including in North America and most of Western and Central Europe that were only partly offset by increases in much of the developing world and in Eastern Europe, especially Russia. This may indicate the beginning of a shift in the balance of world military spending away from the West, although it still accounts for a clear majority of global military spending. Read more about recent trends in military expenditure for 2012 here.
What is military expenditure, and why should we be interested in measuring it? How easy is it to obtain reliable information on military expenditure, and what are the problems involved in producing data that are consistent over time and comparable across countries?The SIPRI military expenditure project was initiated in 1967 to study developments in world military expenditure. The current SIPRI database on military expenditure covers 172 countries and contains consistent data for the period since 1988. Data for the most recent 10-year period are published annually in the SIPRI Yearbook. Data from 1988 is available in the SIPRI military expenditure database on-line. SIPRI provides the only long-term, historically consistent series of military expenditure data with global coverage available today. Read more...
Questions of 'national security' are a sensitive issue for all countries, and are often the subject of considerable secrecy. Most countries provide at least some information about their military expenditure, but this may often lack detail or omit significant items of extra-budgetary or off-budget expenditure. A broader issue is that of military budget processes: who has an input into setting the military budget, and what is the policy basis for it? What role, if any, is there for parliament and civil society? And is the actual spending subject to independent monitoring and auditing? Where transparency and accountability are lacking in military spending and budgeting, this can lead to uncertainty amongst neighbouring countries, prevent citizens from getting a proper picture of how public funds are being spent, and can open the door to corruption. Read more...