Global military spending dropped by nearly two percent in 2013, led by the United States which dropped it's spending by 7.8 percent.
By contrast, the military industrial complexes in Russia and China are bustling; seeing a 4.8 and 7.4 percent increase, respectively.
The U.S. dropped spending from roughly $690 Billion in 2012, to $640 Billion in 2013, shrinking to 3.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. [sharequote align="right"] For the first time since 2003, Russia spent a larger percentage of it's Gross Domestic Product on military expenses than the United States...[/sharequote]
The reduction is noted in real terms, which means the calculations - made by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute - are adjusted for inflation.
Global military expenditure fell by 1.9 percent, to $1747 billion. It was the second consecutive year spending fell, and 2013 saw the higher rate of decrease, by 0.4 percent compared to 2012.
"A part of the fall ($20 billion of the $44 billion nominal fall) can be attributed to the reduction in outlays for Overseas Contingency Operations — that is, overseas military operations, chiefly in Afghanistan and Iraq," the SIPRI report reads.
For the first time since 2003, Russia spent a larger percentage of it's Gross Domestic Product on military expenses than the United States.
"Russia’s spending has risen as it continues to implement the State Armaments Plan for 2011–20, under which it plans to spend 20.7 trillion roubles ($705 billion) on new and upgraded armaments. The goal is to replace 70 per cent of equipment with ‘modern’ weapons by 2020," states the report.
IPS News notes, even Japan, which has traditionally kept its military spending to under one percent of GDP, is getting into the act. Tokyo has promised of a 2.8 percent increase in 2014-15;
"South Asia – specifically the confrontation between India and Pakistan – is responsible for a large chunk of the military spending in the region. Rival territorial claims over tiny islands – and the vast resources that lie beneath and around them — in both Northeast and Southeast Asia are pushing the claimants to boost their maritime capabilities."
In March Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told CBS that he’s not responsible for the massive military cuts, and the President's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 will reduce the Army to its smallest size since 1940.
"It isn’t me cutting the budget," Hagel said. "It’s the Congress’ decision on sequestration. So it isn’t the secretary of defense or the president doing this, and I think we should clear that up a little bit here, too."
U.S. defense hawks have battled in Congress over the cuts, saying cuts to military spending should be balanced by entitlement reforms. The House will begin National Defense Authorization Act hearings in earnest at the end of April.
(H/T: IPS News)