Global spend on weapons and military increased to $1.7 trillion in 2017, arms watchdog says

  • U.S. spent more than any other country in the world on its military in 2017
  • Russia's military expenditure fell for the first time since 1998
  • Military spending in 2017 amounted to 2.2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), or equivalent to $230 per person

Alexander Shcherbak \ TASS via Getty Images

Global military spending rose to $1.7 trillion last year, an increase of 1.1 per cent on 2016, according to an arms watchdog.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Wednesday that China increased its military spending in an upward trend that has continued for over two decades.

China spent $228 billion in 2017, while Russia's military expenditure fell for the first time since 1998.

The U.S. spent more than any other country in the world on its military in 2017, but at $610 billion it paid the same amount for arms as it did the previous year.

SIPRI said it expects the U.S. to spend "significantly" more on its military next year, including the "modernizations of conventional and nuclear weapons."

Countries in Asia and the Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, contributed to the rise in global military expenditure. Saudi Arabia had the third highest military expenditure in 2017, spending $69.4 billion.

"At the global level, the weight of military spending is clearly shifting away from the Euro–Atlantic region," said Nan Tian, researcher at the SIPRA arms and military expenditure program that commissioned the report.

By region, the watchdog said that military expenditure in Asia and Oceania rose for the 29th successive year.

European nations increased their military spend, driven in part by the perception of increased hostility from Russia.

The 29 member nations of NATO spent a total of $900 billion on arms in 2017, over half of total global spending.

SIPRI said that it is concerned both superpowers and developing nations will continue to spend more on arms next year.

"Continuing high world military expenditure is a cause for serious concern," said Jan Eliasson, chair of the SIPRI Governing Board. "It undermines the search for peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world."

The arms watchdog said that military spending in 2017 amounted to 2.2 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), or equivalent to $230 per person.