Defense

How global military spending hit a record high

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Why global military spending is on the rise

Global military spending increased to a record $1.8 trillion in 2018 — the largest amount since the Cold War.

It's also about 75% higher than post-Cold War low in 1998.

These spending numbers come from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Swedish-based think tank that has published widely sited global spending numbers since the 1960s.

Increases from the world's two biggest military spenders — the United States (41%) and China (14%) — played a major role in pushing 2018's spending to new heights. For more than two decades, China's investment in its military has helped push up global spending. Countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region have taken notice and upped their spending as China has become more assertive with upgraded military capabilities.

The U.S. "war on terror" helped push up global spending levels after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. However, that spending began to taper off around 2011 as the U.S. faced internal budget pressures and war fatigue. But in 2018, the U.S. began increasing spending once again as the national security focus shifted from terrorism to the rise of China and resurgence of Russia.

While Russia did not increase spending in 2018, the country did complete an expensive military modernization in 2016. President Vladimir Putin's snatching of Crimea, the destabilization of Ukraine, and election meddling have also helped push spending up in former Soviet states like Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.

Watch the video above for more on how global military spending hit a record high in 2018.