NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 29, 2004

World military spending surged in 2003, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), with the United States being the largest contributor.

SIPRI reports:

  • Military spending reached $956 billion in 2003 -- an 11 percent increase over the previous year.
  • This is equivalent to 2.7 percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The United States led the world in defense spending, accounting for 47 percent of the total.

SIPRI states that the level of military spending is quickly approaching a record. Apparently, spending levels are "very close to the Cold War peak in 1987."

The rise in defense spending has coincided with other developments. SIPRI reports that:

  • The number of conflicts worldwide fell to 19, the second-lowest number since SIPRI began issuing reports 35 years ago.
  • Additionally, 14 separate peace missions began last year, the most since the end of the cold war.

Source: Matt Moore, "Global military spending soars: peace group,", June 9, 2004; based upon, "SIPRI Year Book 2004," Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, June 2004.


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