- The Washington Times - Monday, April 26, 2021

The coronavirus shut down many things around the world over the past year, but not, apparently, the urge of nations to spend more on defense.

In 2020, worldwide military expenditure hit an estimated $1.98 trillion — the highest level since 1988 and a 2.6% increase in real terms over 2019, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI.)

The increase was largely due to the fact that most countries in the world experienced several economic downtowns in 2020 because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, analysts said.



According to the think tank, total military spending accounted for 2.4% of global GDP in 2020. The five biggest spenders were the United States, China, India, Russia and the United Kingdom. Together, the five countries accounted for 62% of the world’s military spending.

U.S. military spending grew by 4.4% in 2020, to about $778 billion. Next was the U.K. with 2.9%; Russia with 2.5%, India with 2.1% and China with 1.9%, according to the Stockholm-based think tank.

According to the study, world military expenditure is heavily concentrated in North and South America (43%) along with Asia/Oceania at 27%. Together the two regions accounted for more than two-thirds of the global total in 2020. But military spending also jumped 5.1% last year in Africa while Europe saw a 4% increase.

The outlier was the Middle East. Military expenditures of the 11 countries in that region for which data is available decreased by 6.5%, according to the SIPRI estimates.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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