Increasing military expenditure exacerbates world security situation

China Military Online
Li Jiayao
2023-05-06 17:30:03

By Jia Pingfan

According to a data statistics report on Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2022, recently published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 2022 global military spending kept increasing for the eighth consecutive year to reach US$2240 billion by actual purchasing power, growing by 3.7% compared to that of 2021.

Acceleration of World military expenditure growth

SIPRI report shows that in 2022, the actual military expenditure of the US reached up to US$877 billion, accounting for 39% of the total global military spending. And the military expenditure of Europe reached US$480 billion with a year-on-year growth of 13%, the highest percentage in global terms and first exceeding the level in 1989 when the Cold War ended.

It can be seen from public data that in the 2023 fiscal year, the US defense budget jumps to US$857.9 billion from US$753 billion in 2022, increasing by nearly 14%. The defense budget of the UK was set at 50 billion pounds (US$63 billion), with an increase of 17%. The defense budget of France was set at US$48.7 billion, with an increase of 7.4% from 2022. And the annual defense budget of Japan was raised to 6.8 trillion yen (US$50 billion), 1.26 times of the preliminary budget of 2022...

The military trade market is warming up amid the consecutive growth of global military expenditure. According to the Top 100 Defense Companies 2022 disclosed by the US website Defense News, the defense incomes of the top 100 companies in the 2022 world military company ranking added up to US$595 billion with an annual growth rate of nearly 8%, increasing by US$44 billion compared with the figure of 2021.

Deputy Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP) and Director of the National Institute for Global Strategy (NIGS) in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CAAS) Zou Zhibo pointed out that the global military expenditure growth has accelerated and more and more countries get involved in the military acquisition fervor. Countries of relatively poorer military strength have dramatically increased their demands for advanced weapons under the support of sufficient military expenditure, while countries of strong military strength ramp up research on advanced weapons and equipment and continuously put them into use or foreign trade.

Omnipresent sense of insecurity

"Continuous increase of world military expenditure reflects some new changes in the global security situation," said Guo Xiaobing, Director of the Center for Arms Control Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. He also added that the world is far from peaceful. First, the bloc acceleration tendency is more noticeable. Stimulated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, NATO has regained vitality and taken a series of resurrecting measures. Meanwhile, the US stepped up efforts to transform the hub-and-spoke Indo-Pacific alliance system into a networking structure, so as to build a "minor NATO in Indo-Pacific". Second, great power confrontation is more evident. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is the rivalry and indirect fighting between Russia and the NATO system fundamentally. Third, Japanese defense policy has changed significantly. Last year, the country issued three security policy documents including the National Security Strategy to lift the military expenditure and develop missiles and other non-nuclear strategic offensive forces. This signifies that Japan will break the limit of the "exclusively defense-oriented" strategy and possibly rewake the "ghost" of Greater East Asia War.

The Munich Security Report 2023 announced in February 2023 before the 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC) was held stressed that the world is entering a crucial decade in the contest for the future international order. According to the Munich Security Index 2023 released in the meantime, the world has also stepped into a new age in global politics marked by an omnipresent sense of insecurity.

Special period of complexity, volatility and turbulence

Zou mentioned that global arms control and race represent two sides of one body, and are indicators for world peace and security posture. Arms control predominates the world at a relatively peaceful time. In recent years, the international security situation has deteriorated, leading to a rapid increase in world expenditure and an accelerated arms race.

"At present, the global military expenditure growth has accelerated, particularly for the great powers, which may cause arms races and even catalyze war risks among them. In addition, continuously increased global military spending will inevitably further aggregate the burdens of all countries and worsen the sluggish global economy," Zou said.

"Global military expenditure has grown for eight years in a row and will keep this uprising tendency in the future. This shows that the global arms race is continuously elevated, great power strategic competition and confrontation is keeping heating up and the global security situation is getting more complicated, tensioned and severe," Zou commented, adding that the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century and the international security situation is entering a special period of complexity, volatility and turbulence.

Editor's Note: Originally published on, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

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