Military Spending Across the World

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Humanity Versus Real Priorities


Posted: Apr 24, 2022   6:32:05 PM   |   Last updated: Apr 24, 2022   6:34:23 PM

That the US outspends all countries hardly needs a mention, that it does so by a dizzyingly big amount, however, is always worth repeating: the US' current five-year average reported military expenditure is roughly equal to the combined five-year average spend of these eight countries:   

  • China
  • India
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • France
  • South Korea
  • Italy
  • Australia
  • Brazil

Keep in mind that the US also spends several billions per year on military building and development, support and equipment donations and aid to other countries, etc., all of these done through other budgetary categories or through closed or discretionary means that are not officially reported on per the public and published budget reports.

A surprising fact: The US has the world’s third-largest military. Active-duty service members are currently estimated to total 1.366 million with an additional 1.04 million in the National Guard and reserves.

Some interesting details (at first glance; a more in-depth analysis still to come):

  • Currently, Afghanistan appears to be ramping up its military spending to absurd amounts; I've come across varying amounts for 2021 and 2022, one which puts its current-year military expenditure at 61.5% of it GDP. I've indicated the average of the data I pulled or of what is available publicly, but the high spend appears to be the more correct version—there's something happening there..  I'll attempt to get a definitive fix on those and reconfirm all other digits.
  • NATO spending trend have all been following a general upward trend since 2017; only Turkey's hasn't. This is interesting when one considers its stance on the Ulraine-Russia war. Some major upticks worth looking into, such as Bulgaria in 2019.


  • The totals given in the first table below (as well as the first one for NATO expenditures) are set at 2015 dollar value (constant 2015 value). 
  • The total current 2022 dollar spend surpasses the $2 trillion, being at $2,234,148,986,820 ($1,992,996,420,000 @ constant 2015 value).

(More info, stats, and some maps to come; calculating various ratios to contrast military spending with other categories. Also trying to dig up operational, maintenance, personnel, and equipment (weapons) costs)

Military Spending

Military Spending

Data - All Countries - 2018 -2022 (as2015)

The numbers below were pulled from various sources (see list in tab below) as none offered complete digits for any one of the categories or years. 

In order to present relevant numbers that offer meaningful comparative points, the 2015 value of the USD (constant 2015 prices) was used, per standard practice i.e., the standard refers to a base year, not 2015.


NATO Countries - Military Expenditure

Current Prices and Exchange Rate

Amounts are in USD

NATO Countries - Military Expenditure

Constant 2015 prices and exchange rates

Amounts are in USD


* & **See notes below

Notes & Sources

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Details, Notes, and Sources


Notes: Figures for 2020 and 2021 are estimates. The NATO Europe and Canada and NATO Total aggregates from 2017 onwards include Montenegro, which became an Ally on 5 June 2017, and from 2020 onwards include North Macedonia, which became an Ally on 27 March 2020.

** These Allies have national laws and political agreements which call for 2% of GDP to be spent on defence annually, consequently estimates are expected to change accordingly. For the past years, Allies' defence spending was based on the


Created:  Apr 24, 2022