Annually the SIPRI (StockHolm International Peace Research Institute) releases international military expenditure, this year's report revealing that there was no rise in spending between 2010 and 2011. This is the first time in 13 years there was not an increase in military spending across the world, which the report puts down to the changes in prices and a falling dollar.
US and European Military Expenditure
It has been widely reported during the tougher economic times the US and European armed forces have received and will continue to receive spending cuts. The US and NATO forces are withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan which will naturally lower military expenditure.
The countries who suffered most with economic problems such as Greece, Spain and Italy obviously took large cuts whilst other Western European countries reduced military spending to a lesser extent. European countries that increased its military spending include Poland as it seeks to be more active within NATO and Norway which has been boosted by oil revenue. Azerbaijan's percentage increase was the highest with an 89% increase due to a looming conflict with Armenia.
Russia and China Increase Military Spending
Despite being effected by the global recession the Russian government have hugely increased spending by 16% in real terms since 2008 which included a 9.3% rise in 2011. This means Russia is the 3rd largest military spender and further increases are planed as the Russians wish to replace old Soviet era military equipment with modern equipment and weaponry.
China's increasing military budget was evident again with an increase of 6.7% in 2011. The Chinese spending since 1995 has dramatically increased by 500%. As a result there has been talk of an Asian arms race and increased tensions arising from border disputes the Chinese have with Japan, Vietnam, India, Bhutan, South Korea and Philippines. However only India and Vietnam as a result have increased their military spending, India by 66% and Vietnam by 88% since 2002 and 2004 respectively.
*Spending is in US dollars ^Annual change is the change in spending from 2009 to 2010 compared with 2010 to 2011