December 9, 2011

World's Top Military Spenders: U.S. Spends More than Next Top 14 Countries Combined

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This week, Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy highlights the relative size and scope of U.S. military spending by comparing it to the rest of the world’s military expenditures in 2010. Data used is from Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s military expenditure database.

The failure of the supercommittee to come up with a deficit reduction agreement at the end of November has triggered the threat of sequester cuts which would target the military budget—with cuts of $454 billion over the 2013-2021 period.

The United States spent $728 billion on its military in 2010, about 45% of the world’s $1.6 trillion total (blue portion). U.S. spending amounts to more than the next fourteen largest military spending countries combined (bar chart). In fact, the U.S. spends nearly 6 times more than the next largest military spender, China. In addition, most of the top-spending countries are American allies.

With or without the automatic cuts to defense from the Budget Control Act of 2011, the United States will remain the biggest player on the defense field.

Veronique de Rugy is cited in The Economist's Democracy in America blog for her research on U.S. defense spending after sequestration.