The independent resource on global security

Transparency in military expenditure

Transparency in military expenditure
AMISOM Troops Up at Dawn on Mogadishu Frontline. Photo: Flickr/ United Nations Photo

A key aspect of the work of the military expenditure project is to study issues relating to transparency and accountability in military budgeting and expenditure.

At the national level, transparency includes transparency of information and process. Transparency of information on military spending refers to whether information on the military budget is readily available to the public, and the level of reliability, detail and comprehensiveness of this information. Transparency of process refers to whether budgetary decision making is open and visible, with the reasons for spending clearly outlined. Transparency contributes to good governance, adequate management of military expenditure and government accountability.

At the international level, transparency in military expenditure is part of the international exchange of information on how states translate their declared national security requirements into military postures, to create mutual understanding and trust, reduce misperceptions and thus reduce the risk of armed conflict. As such, it is an important confidence-building mechanism.

This page presents SIPRI's work on transparency in military expenditure, including efforts to revitalize reporting to the United Nations Report on Military Expenditures.

From 2021 data onwards, SIPRI provides an archive of national budgetary documents used as sources for the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database.

Research staff

Dr Lucie Béraud-Sudreau is Director of the Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
Dr Nan Tian is a Senior Researcher and Acting Programme Director with the Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme at SIPRI.
Dr Diego Lopes da Silva is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.
Pieter D. Wezeman is a Senior Researcher in the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.
Xiao Liang is a Researcher with the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme.