Which Countries Spent The Most On Military Might In 2016, In One Chart

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Fully armed aircraft from the 18th Wing conduct an elephant walk during a no-notice exercise April 12, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 18th Wing operates combat ready fleets of HH-60 Pave Hawks, F-15 Eagles, E-3 Sentries and KC-135 Stratotankers, making it the largest combat-ready wing in the U.S. Air Force. Kadena AB provides leading-edge counter air, command and control, air refueling and combat search and rescue operations, enabling theater commanders of joint and allied partners to project and enhance lethal, persistent and flexible combat power in response to adversaries.
Photo via DoD

Global military spending rose for the second consecutive year in 2016, reaching $1.686 trillion, according to new data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The increase was primarily centered in Western Europe and North America — the latter saw its first annual increase since 2010 — and the United States unsurprisingly continues to lead the pack:


Photo via Statista/Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

The Department of Defense spent $611 billion in 2016, up from $596 billion in 2015, and totaling 36% of global defense expenditures. But while the U.S. boosted its military budget by 1.7% in the last year, other countries are pushing to catch up: China, the second-largest spender of 2016, upped its military budget by 5.4% in the last year, while Russian moved up the ranks to become the third-largest spender with a 5.9% increase in expenditures, according to SIPRI.

The increase in U.S. military spending “may signal the end of a trend of decreases in spending, which resulted from the economic crisis and the withdrawal of U.S, troops from Afghanistan and Iraq,” SIPRI said — although U.S. spending in Afghanistan remains significantly lower than its peak in 2010 during the troop “surge.”

“Despite continuing legal restraints on the overall US budget, increases in military spending were agreed upon by Congress,” said SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure director Dr. Aude Fleurant. “Future spending patterns remain uncertain due to the changing political situation in the USA.”

Well, not that uncertain: Chances are this is only the beginning of a new surge in U.S. military spending. In February, President Donald Trump announced his intent to push for a 10% increase to the U.S. defense budget, adding $54 billion.

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