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.

“We never win a war. We never win. And we don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win,” Trump said during a speech to a joint session of Congress. “So we either got to win or don’t fight it at all.”

(New Line Cinema)

The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.

Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15 announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.

This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."

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The Marine Corps' dune buggy drone jammer may have downed two Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. military have officials announced.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on July 18 when two Iranian drones came dangerously close, according to U.S. Central Command.

"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."

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On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.

A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.

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The Pentagon is no longer topless. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Mark Esper as the United States' first permanent defense secretary in more than seven months.

Esper is expected to be sworn in as defense secretary later on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

"We are grateful for the Senate leadership and the Senate Armed Services Committee's willingness to quickly move through this process," Hoffman said.

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(Paramount Pictures via YouTube)

The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.

But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?

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