The United States agrees to sell 20 HIMARS artillery systems to the Netherlands for $670 million.

This number increased by 6.8% compared to 2022, the highest increase rate since 2009, according to a report published on April 22 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The $2,440 billion is the largest global military spending in a single year recorded since SIPRI was founded nearly 60 years ago.

2023 is also the first year that military spending increases in all 5 geographical regions, of which spending on weapons and military in the Middle East increases by 9%, to 200 billion USD. This is the region with the highest military spending to GDP ratio at 4.2%, followed by Europe, Africa, Asia – Oceania and the Americas.

The two countries that spend the most on defense are the US and China, accounting for 37% and 12% of total global military spending last year, respectively. The military spending of these two countries increased by 2.3% and 6% compared to the previous year.

According to SIPRI, the US government spent 9.4% more on “research, development, testing and evaluation” activities to maintain its leading position in defense technology development.

After the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out in late February 2022, the US shifted its focus from counter-insurgency campaigns and asymmetric warfare to “developing new weapon systems that can be used in conflict with an opponent with advanced military power”.

Russian self-propelled artillery Akatsia declared on April 3. Photo: RIA Novosti

Russian self-propelled artillery Akatsia declared on April 3. Photo: RIA Novosti

The second country in the ranking, China, allocates about 232 billion USD for defense in 2023. Beijing has continuously increased military spending over the past 29 years, but the period of greatest growth has been in 1990 and 2003-2014.

According to SIPRI, China’s defense spending increased by only a single digit last year, reflecting the impact of the country’s recent poor economic situation.

Behind the US and China are Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, and the UK. Moscow’s military spending in 2023 is 24% higher than in 2022 and up 57% compared to 2014. This spending is equivalent to 5.9% of GDP and 16% of total Russian government spending, according to figures that have been highest recorded since 1991.

Ukraine is the country with the 8th largest defense spending in the world in 2023, increasing by 51% to 64.8 billion USD, equal to about 59% of Russia. Compared to 2014, Kiev’s military spending increased by 1,270%. Aid it receives from more than 30 countries is also included in SIPRI’s figures.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the country with the largest increase in military spending in 2023, at 105%. The country is mired in a long-running conflict between rebel groups, mainly in the eastern regions. Haiti, which is also facing gang violence, ranked second with a 78% increase.

Nan Tian, ​​a senior researcher at SIPRI, warned that the arms race between countries will increase the risk of unintended conflicts.

“The unprecedented increase in military spending is a direct response to the global deterioration in security and peace,” Tian said. “Countries are prioritizing strengthening their defense strength, but this risks creating a spiral of retaliation in the context of increasingly volatile geopolitical and security situations.”