In 2021, global military spending hit an all-time high of $2 trillion, according to a report from a leading defense think-tank in Sweden. This also marks the seventh consecutive year that collective spending on the military has increased from the previous year. 

The United States, China, India, the United Kingdom, and Russia were the top five nations when it came to spending; the five account for 62% of the total amount spent. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released the new data in a report published on Monday. 

“In 2021 military spending rose for the seventh consecutive time to reach $2.1 trillion. That is the highest figure we have ever had.”

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Diego Lopes da Silva is the senior researcher at SIPRI who spoke with the media about the newest figures. According to him, global military spending rose by 0.7% in 2021 when compared to 2020. 

Russia saw its spending increase to $65.9 billion, which is 2.9% higher than last year’s spending, and the third consecutive year Russia has increased its spending on its military. 

“Defense spending accounted for 4.1% of Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP), much higher than the world average, and made Moscow the fifth largest spender in the world,” Lopes da Silva said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, and Ukraine’s military spending has increased by 72% since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. Spending in Ukraine, however, declined by more than 8% in 2021. 

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As tensions have increased within the past two months in Europe, NATO countries have begun spending more. Eight of the member countries reached their targeted 2% for spending, one percent fewer than the year before, according to SIPRI. 

Lopes da Silva said he “expected spending in Europe to continue to grow. The US, which far outspent any other nation with $801 billion, actually went against the global trend and decreased its spending by 1.4% in 2021.”

“The US government has repeatedly stressed the need to preserve the US military’s technological edge over strategic competitors,” Alexandra Marksteiner, another researcher at SIPRI, said in a statement.

According to further reports, “China, the world’s second largest military spender at an estimated $293 billion, boosted its expenditure by 4.7%, marking the 27th straight year of increased spending.”

Australia spent 4% more on their military last year, reaching $31.8 billion in 2021, while India, the world’s third largest spender at $76.6 billion, increased their funding by 0.9% in 2021. The UK saw a 3% increase in military spending reaching a total of $68.4 billion.